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‘Idol’ winner from a small town comes to the Biggest Little City
by Sarah Cooper
May 14, 2008 | 1882 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy photo - Country star Carrie Underwood performs Monday at the Reno Events Center.
Courtesy photo - Country star Carrie Underwood performs Monday at the Reno Events Center.
In 2005 Carrie Underwood took the “American Idol” stage for the first time with flowing crimped hair, blue jeans and a bright pink T-shirt. The innocent southern girl declared in an interview before her first audition, “I want to go to Hollywood real bad.”

Three years later the girl-next-door who won our hearts on “Idol” is a multi-platinum star, female vocalist of the year at the Country Music Association Awards and was recently inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Through it all, Underwood is still the same unassuming farm girl from Checotah, Oak., and she will showcase her incredible vocal ability at the Reno Events Center Monday night.

Underwood’s “Idol” win rewarded her an illustrious recording contract with Arista Records. Her first single, “Inside Your Heaven,” was released on June 14, 2005. The single blazed to the top of the charts and debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 170,000 copies.

After walking off “Idol’s” stage, Underwood released “Some Hearts,” which immediately went multi-platinum. On the album, her sweet southern charm ventured into bitter territory with the catchy, scorned woman anthem and No.1 single, “Before He Cheats.” The song won Single of the Year at this year’s American Country Music Awards and is the only instance on the CD when Underwood lets her rage fly.

The remainder of the album drips with country nostalgia and old-fashioned values. The album’s first hit, “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” set a record for the Billboard Country Charts, debuting at No. 39 in its first week. Other chart-climbers such as “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and “Wasted” found places at No.2 and No. 1 respectively on the Billboard Country Charts.

Her little-known autobiographical ballad “I Ain’t In Checotah Anymore” tells of her adventures in a small town.

“We’d drive a hundred miles/Between the Sonic and the Grocery Store/

Laughing all the while/With as many friends as I could pack/In my daddy’s Ford/But I ain’t in Checotah anymore.”

Underwood’s adventures since “Idol” have taken her to perform on stages across America’s heartland and beyond. Underwood will be coming to Reno from a performance in Bozeman, Montana.

Underwood will take the stage Monday at the Reno Events Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, $45 and $55 and are available for purchase online at or

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