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ABCIn an essay penned for Guideposts magazine, Carrie Underwood opens up about the fear she had to overcome on her American Idol journey.

Carrie admits that auditioning for the show in 2005 was initially “out of the question” after learning that the closest audition site was in St. Louis, a far drive from her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma — until her mother offered to take her.  

“It would be easy to say the rest is history, that it was meant to be. But it didn’t feel like that at the time,” Carrie writes. “Going through a slew of auditions in St. Louis, getting the ‘golden ticket’ to Hollywood, every contestant’s dream, I was terrified. Every time I had to sing in front of the judges, I’d get nervous the way I did in church that first time.”

The country superstar recalls time when she almost let the nerves get the best of her while driving to the airport to fly to L.A. for the Hollywood week round. On the way, they stopped at the store to buy lip liner and broke down in tears in the car, faced with a crossroads. 

“All at once, it was just too much. Going out to Los Angeles by myself, competing with all those other people who were so talented. I burst into tears,” Carrie explains. “My dad turned to me in the backseat. ‘Carrie,’ he said, ‘we can go home right now, and we don’t ever have to talk about it again.’ I took a deep breath. ‘No,’ I said at last. ‘I’ll go."” 

Carrie’s decision certainly paid off: she was crowned champion of season four and has released seven chart-topping studio albums since. Her Christmas special on HBO Max begins streaming on December 3.

By Cillea Houghton 
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