Wednesday, February 28, 2007
7 News Features: Carrie On
We know that American Idol has turned people into overnight stars. But the young singers aren't the only ones making it big off the show. The Idol phenomenon is literally putting small towns on the map. Nowhere is that more evident than in Checotah, Oklahoma, where Carrie Underwood is the hometown girl.
WSVN -- She had the looks -- more importantly, she had the pipes.
Simon: "I think you're very good. I think you should stay good at what you do."
And she did -- for 11 weeks "Farm Girl" sang her way into America's hearts.
The end of Idol was just the beginning for Carrie.
She is now a country music star who hasn't forgotten her roots.
One of her many hits is an ode to her hometown, where her face is everywhere.
Robyn Brown: "You see billboards, you see signs. It's almost like you have a president from your state."
Since leaving that small town in Oklahoma and Idol, Carrie has been busy graduating from college, posing for the cover of Cosmo Girl and, most importantly, making music.
Carrie hit the studio with a vengeance.
Carrie Underwood: "I do feel like I have something to prove. Just because I don't want -- I kind of think I took a shortcut in a way."
And proving herself wouldn't take long.
Her first CD sold five million copies, making her America's reigning country queen.
Farm Girl also harvested awards, including four Grammy nominations, two Country Music Awards and possibly some professional jealousy.
Remember this? Faith Hill looks livid losing to Carrie. She later said it was all a joke.
And nearly two years after taking the Idol title, Farm Girl is still attracting admirers, and businesses in her hometown are profiting, from the local florist ...
Patt Jeffries: "One guy even wanted to have a date with her, so he sent her flowers and asked her out for a date, but that was as far as it went."
... to the small town T-shirt printer.
Margie Massman: "The merchants began complaining that I was the only one getting all the business, I says, 'Well, 'I'll tell you what, I'm really tired of being open on Saturdays,' so, I says, 'I'll make shirts and put them all in your store on consignment and you make a percentage off of everything you sell.'"