For the first time in American Idol’s four year run, a country singer was crowned as the winner. Carrie Underwood, the 22-year-old Oklahoma farm girl, beat Bo Bice, 29, the southern rocker.
Idol officials said a whopping 500 million votes were cast this season, though after the two finalists performed for the last time, nobody from Fox or Idol were saying how close the vote was Tuesday.
With the win, Underwood will receive a $1 million recording contract from Sony-BMG and a brand new car, the latter of which Bice also wins.
Underwood and Bice, who she calls her “big brother,” will reunite very soon, as the American Idol tour kicks off July 12 in Florida.
Underwood will be very busy over the next few weeks, making appearances everywhere imaginable, starting with Tonight Show Thursday night.
Underwood outlasted 100,000 other people who tried out for the show. A new season, the show’s fifth, will begin in the fall, meaning the search for the next American Idol will begin this summer as Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and of course, Paula Abdul, will visit numerous cities to find the next Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barino, or Carrie Underwood.
“Thank you, America,” was all Underwood had to say last night when Ryan Seacrest announced her name as the winner. She then performed “Inside Your Heaven,” which will be her first single (available on AOL this week).
The 10 other finalists (Solomon, Anthony Fedorov, Scott Savol, Constantine Maroulis, Anwar Robinson, Nadia Turner, Jessica Sierra, Nikko Smith, Mikalah Gordon and Lindsey Cardinale) all returned to the stage and performed with the likes of George Benson, Rascal Flatts and Babyface. Mario Vasquez, the finalist who was favoured to win but dropped out before the final 12 began, was nowhere to be seen. Rumour has it that he signed a recording deal, perhaps with Sean Combs’ Bad Boy, though Diddy is not talking.
Cowell predicted Underwood would win a few weeks ago, and just before her name was announced, Seacrest asked him who would win. “America did listen to me this year and like I?ve always known from the start, Carrie will win the competition.”
Canadian Idol begins next week.