'American Idol 4' winner Carrie Underwood wins big at the Grammys
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/12/2007
After winning her second Grammy Award of the evening on Sunday night, American Idol 4 winner Carrie Underwood made sure she thanked the Fox mega-hit that made her a household name.
"This is absolutely unbelievable," said Underwood after accepting the Grammy for best new artist. "I owe everything to [Idol creator] Simon Fuller and [her record company and Idol producer] 19 [Entertainment]."
The former Idol 4 winner beat James Blunt, Chris Brown, Imogen Heap and Corinne Bailey Rae to take home the best new artist Grammy. Underwood also received the Grammy for best female country vocal performance for "Jesus Take the Wheel," besting "Kerosene" by Miranda Lambert, "I Still Miss Someone" by Martina McBride, "Something's Gotta Give" by LeAnn Rimes, and "I Don't Feel Like Loving You Today" by Gretchen Wilson.
"Jesus Take the Wheel" also won a Grammy for best country song -- a songwriter's award that in this case went to Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson.
After performing "Desperado" and "San Antonio Rose" as a tribute to the Eagles during Sunday night's broadcast of the 49th annual Grammy Awards on CBS, Underwood could be seen being ushered quickly back to her seat as Natalie Cole and Ornette Coleman announced nominations for best new artist. During her acceptance speech, Underwood described the past year as "blessed."
At last year's Grammys, original Idol winner Kelly Clarksontook home two awards for best female pop vocal performance and best pop vocal album -- however she created some controversy for failing to acknowledge Idol. "I think tonight proved that American Idol can transcend the talent show stereotype that it has," Underwood told Reuters backstage after her wins.
Idol judge Randy Jackson agreed with Underwood and said the 23-year-old is the prefect example of what makes Idol so different from other reality competition series.
"The truth of the matter is that at the end of the season, someone great who wouldn't have had a chance otherwise wins [Idol] and gets a shot at a career." Jackson told Reuters backstage.
Joining Clarkson, Underwood is the second Idol contestant to ever win a Grammy Award. Idol 3 winner Fantasia Barrino had received four nominations during last year's Grammys, but failed to win any. Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard received a nomination in 2004, but also failed to win.
Underwood's Grammy wins continue an impressive awards streak that began last April when her "Jesus Take the Wheel" video captured two Country Television Music Awards -- one for breakthrough video and another for female video. The following month, Underwood won two Academy of Country Music Awards -- top new female vocalist and single of the year for "Jesus Take the Wheel."
In November, Underwood won both the Horizon Award for new country artists and the top female vocalist award at the Country Music Association Awards. Later that month, she also received the American Music Awards' breakthrough artist of the year award. In December, she took home five 2006 Billboard Music Awards for album of the year, Top 200 female artist of the year, female country artist, new country artist, and country album of the year. She was then named favorite female singer at January's People Choice Awards.
Unlike the Country Television Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards -- which base their awards on popularity, sales, and chart achievements -- the Grammy Awards winners are determined by the voting members of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, an industry organization comprised of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals.