Oct. 29, 2009— -- 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.