It all began with a tense moment on May 25, 2005, as Ryan Seacrest uttered the words that over 30 million Americans were eagerly waiting to hear. "The winner of 'American Idol' 2005 is…"
Seacrest paused until the anticipation was almost too much to bear.
And thus began the whirlwind career of one of America's favorite female country singers.
She has since become the best-selling "American Idol" winner in TV history, with U.S. album sales topping 10 million. Her trophy cabinet is chock full of nearly 60 major awards -- four Grammys, five Country Music Association Awards, 14 Billboard Music Awards, and five American Music Awards, just to name a few.
Underwood took Robin Roberts back to where it all began, to her hometown of Checotah, Okla., a small town with 3,500 people, two stop lights and a local diner.
Underwood said she almost didn't audition for "American Idol." She was in her senior year at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and was hoping to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.
But after a few tryouts Underwood finally heard those four magic words from "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson: "Welcome to Hollywood, girl!"
Underwood said she was thrilled -- and terrified -- by the opportunity.
"I'd never been in an airport before. And it's amazing that I made it there," Underwood said about her first trip to Los Angeles.
"My dad, on the way to the airport, I was about to cry, and he said, 'You know, if you want to go home, we can go home and you don't ever have to think about this ever again,'" Underwood told Roberts.
Underwood now says "thank goodness" she did not turn around.
Underwood, the youngest of three girls, credits the support of her family and specifically her mother, Carole, for her success.
Carole, who said she cried through her daughter's performance at the Country Music Awards last year, said her daughter's fame can be overwhelming at times.
"It's amazing to me that we'd go places and people know who she is because, you know, I think, 'Yeah, nobody's going to know she was here' but they...they all do," Carole told Roberts.
Superstar or not, to Carole Underwood, Carrie is still her youngest daughter and she worries about her.
"If she's driving herself … I want her to call me ... or at least text me and say, 'I'm home,'" Carole said.
Matters of the Heart
Underwood's love life has played out in the headlines of the tabloids for years. But although the blond singer may seem like she would have no problem finding a date, she says it wasn't always like that.
During her senior year of high school, hours before a date, Underwood was playing softball when a ball hit her in the face, giving her a black eye and a swollen nose.
"I went (on the date), and the next day -- he was a junior, by the way, so I was totally throwing him a bone by going out on a date with him, but he told everybody he was embarrassed to be seen with me," Underwood said. "So that was the end of that."
But Underwood got the last laugh.
"I came back during 'Idol'...his relatives came up to me...and I was signing autographs. They came up and they were like, 'Remember him, remember him, here's his number,'" Underwood said. "And I'm like, 'Ha, I don't think so.'"
Underwood has been dating Ottawa Senators hockey player Mike Fisher for nearly a year and the couple, who met through mutual acquaintances, try to stay under the radar.
"We stay in, you know, we ... we're not like big party-goers so we don't show up to events together and things like that," Underwood said. "And other than that, you know, if anybody ever asks about personal, private, you know, things, it's always just ... I'm just really happy and that's kind of where I leave it. Like I'm a happy person in every aspect of my life including that one."
Underwood's New Album 'Play On'
Underwood has plenty of reasons to be happy. Her debut album, "Some Hearts," went platinum seven times over, making it the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of records kept by Nielsen SoundScan. "Some Hearts" was also the best-selling solo female country debut album in music history.
Underwood is gearing up to release her third album, "Play On," Nov. 3, 2009. Her first single on the album, "Cowboy Casanova," was already released to radio and shot to the coveted top 10 spot on the Billboard country music chart. Underwood has the most top 10 singles on the country music chart among solo women this decade.
What's next for Underwood?
"It really just depends on what God has planned," Underwood said. "I can try to make my own plans. I've been doing that my whole life and it's never worked out, so I don't know why I'd start now."