Let me begin by flat-out admitting that Carrie Underwood is my hero. I watched as she broke down sobbing when Ryan Seacrest declared her the American Idol of 2005; I cried when she took home her very first Female Vocalist of the Year trophy at the Country Music Association Awards in 2006. My sweet friend, Emily, and I fell even more deeply in love with her as we rocked out to every one of her songs when her Carnival Ride Tour rolled into town. And every time she is nominated for a fan-voted award, I nearly crash my server to solidify her win. I idolize (no pun intended) everything about Carrie: her voice, her personality, her style, her legs (come on, admit it, so do you), her husband (Nashville Predators hockey star, Mike Fisher), and her friendship with my other musical hero, Brad Paisley.
But the thing I love most about Carrie Underwood is her faith in God. I am neither Christian nor Catholic; I do not go to church or a synagogue. I am not self-righteous or set in my ways. But I do believe in God and in the idea that a higher power exists. And so does Carrie. Her faith is undeniably a large part of her existence. She thanks God at the start of every (and there have been millions) acceptance speech and has stated that her deep-seated Christian faith is integral to her marriage and her evolution as an individual. She is never one to shy away from her love for God, a quality that is admirable in a time period when expression of any semblance of spirituality is perceivably odd or preachy.
The moment that I truly felt Carrie’s faith was during the Academy of Country Music’s Girls’ Night Out: Superstar Women of Country special that aired in 2011. Carrie was honored for being the only female to win Entertainer of the Year twice (a title that she is now tied with Taylor Swift for). After being honored by Vince Gill, who graced the stage with a solid and moving performance of Carrie’s, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, Carrie took the stage and astounded the world with a phenomenal performance of, “How Great Thou Art”. There was not a dry eye in the house, nor, I can guarantee, was there a dry eye in any living room or live stream that was tuned in to CBS that evening.
The video hit YouTube the very next day and has received more than eighteen million hits. Comments have been almost unanimously positive- believers exclaim that their faith in God has grown ever deeper since hearing Carrie sing; atheist and agnostic individuals have proclaimed sudden revelation, describing a newly-minted discovery of spirituality. But one comment has been ubiquitous: Whether you’re a fan of her music or not, Carrie Underwood can SING, and her voice is a gift straight from the heavens and God himself.