‘American Idol’: Carrie Underwood Was Considered a Dud at First by Backstage Crew

When Carrie Underwood in 2005 took home the title of American Idol in the show’s fourth season, she won big, with 500 million votes cast in her favor.

What’s little known is the singing competition’s staff’s initial assessment of the Oklahoma native. They were not impressed, at first.

Carrie Underwood (right) in 2005 with Ryan Seacrest on 'American Idol'
Carrie Underwood (right) in 2005 with Ryan Seacrest on ‘American Idol’ | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Carrie Underwood’s ‘American Idol’ audition predicted her success

At her 2005 audition on the popular Fox reality competition series, the “Before He Cheats” singer belted out “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” originally recorded by Bonnie Raitt in 1991.

After discussing her third nipple, as well as her role as quarterback and captain on her high school flag football team, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson finally allowed her to sing.

Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of 'American Idol'
Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of ‘American Idol’ | Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

Following her audition, both judges were visibly impressed and surprised at how well she did.

“I think you’re very good,” Cowell told her. “And, do you know, I was saying to someone the other day that I’m surprised we haven’t found a good country singer in this competition yet. I think you’re very good. I think you should stay good at what you’re doing.”

With that, Underwood received her ticket to Hollywood and fame.

The crew on ‘American Idol’ at first thought Carrie Underwood was a bore

Surprisingly, the crew on the show wasn’t as enthralled with the Jesus Take the Wheel singer as Jackson and Cowell were.

In his 2011 book, American Idol: The Untold Story by Richard Rushfield, the show’s staff at first didn’t see what all the hub-bub was surrounding Underwood.

Carrie Underwood, center, with her fellow 'American Idol' contestants in 2005
Carrie Underwood, center, with her fellow ‘American Idol’ contestants in 2005 | Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

“Simon Cowell may recall seeing her step forward in Technicolor, lights blazing, and indeed on her first appearance, he seems for once utterly dumbfounded, mouth agape, and at a loss for words,” Rushfield wrote.

“But the impression she made around the set was less glowing. The crew remembers Carrie as a shy, standoffish presence, reluctant to engage with them or her fellow contestants,” the author continued. “Says one, ‘I didn’t notice her. I felt she was flat, although when she sang she had a great voice, but I was like, there’s nothing else there.'”

Carrie Underwood eventually grew on the ‘American Idol’ crew

Carrie Underwood is named 'American Idol' in 2005
Carrie Underwood is named ‘American Idol’ in 2005 | Ray Mickshaw/WireImage

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What the show’s staff may have seen as aloofness may simply have been nervousness on Underwood’s part, because slowly, she won the crew over.

Rushfield quoted a member of the stage crew on the show as saying, “I remember one week, she did this number where a song was going to change tempo. She wanted to use a mic stand. So we had to figure out a way to get rid of it. Someone suggested, ‘Why don’t you kick it? Do like a karate kick.’ She said, ‘Really?'”

To their surprise, the Find Your Path author was up for the challenge, shocking not only them but the audience as well.

“Everybody commented about it the next day because it was, like, so uncharacteristic that she did something like that,” he wrote.