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Carrie Underwood

Spotlight

In two years, this tiny blonde with a sparkling smile and powerhouse voice went from small-town Oklahoma girl who’d never been on a plane to a sequin-wearing, globe-trotting, Grammy-winning country superstar thanks to her successful run on season 4 of American Idol. (She also made good on her promise to graduate magna cum laude from Northeastern State University during this time.) PETA’s 2005 World’s Sexiest Vegetarian honed her craft on the local talent show, play and pageant circuit before auditioning for the Fox reality show, where she started to amass her army of Care Bears. Within a year of her win, she said goodbye to her bad perm and anonymity and hello to the top spot on the Billboard charts with songs “Inside Your Heaven,” “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take The Wheel” and her debut album Some Hearts, which is the best-selling Idol contestant debut to date. She started filling her trophy case thanks to this debut as well, beating Faith Hill for Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs and earning three Grammys including Best New Artist. She followed up the debut with three more chart-topping CDs, Carnival Ride, Play On and Blown Away, and many more wins at future installments of CMAs, Academy of Country Music Awards, CMT Music Awards, Grammys and American Music Awards. She’s the first woman to be named ACM Entertainer of the Year two years in a row. After high-profile relationships with Tony Romo, Chace Crawford and Dr. Travis Stork, she got hitched to hockey player Mike Fisher in 2010.

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