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WouldAmerican Idolwinner Carrie Underwood have landed a major-label recording contract without winning the hugely popular television contest? Probably. The big-voiced Oklahoman has the pipes, the look, the pedigree, and, most important, the emotional resonance to sustain a professional career. As an investment in her future, her label eschewed the easy path in putting out an album to take advantage of her publicity, going for a name producer, Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Lonestar), to handle half the tracks. It also solicited material from the same top songwriters (Diane Warren, Brett James, Troy Verges, Rivers Rutherford) who stock albums by Hill, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, and Wynonna. "Jesus, Take the Wheel," the hit first single, shows off the best of Underwood's power vocals, while the sexy rocker "We're Young and Beautiful" pulls her out of her ballad-heavy comfort zone, and her autobiographical "I Ain't in Checotah Anymore" bolsters her authenticity. If the young performer oversings on occasion (the overwrought bonus track, "Inside Your Heaven"), and settles for too many generic themes, she still surprises in her ability to go head-to-head with country’s reigning females. Will Underwood really survive to be a contender for the Martina throne? Let's just say thatAmerican Idoljudges and voters picked the right contestant. If the posturing Bo Bice had won, rock stars would hardly be quaking in their boots.--Alanna NashMore American Idol Winners

, Kelly Clarkson

I Need an Angel
, Ruben Studdard

Free Yourself
, Fantasia Barrino
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Label:  Arista
ArtistCarrie Underwood
Genre:  Pop, Country
Release Date:  November 15, 2005
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review by . August 23, 2007
This is a great CD, I cannot stop listening to it. The lyrics are catchy and fun to sing. And of course, "Before he cheats" is an amazing song. Although I am not an American Idol fan, I think that Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson are the best that have come out of the show.
review by . October 22, 2006
Pros: Ms. Underwood has an amazing voice.     Cons: Over produced; produced for simple tastes.     American Idol—though I loath to watch the program—has been very successful in bringing the world real talent. There I said it. Okalahoma born and bred Carrie Underwood won the crown in 2005 and promptly released the C&W Some Hearts in November of the same year. Despite her pipes I was resistant to the CD because I was afraid it would be, well, formulaic.   …
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