Long before Carrie Underwood won Season 4 of American Idol in 2005 and became an international superstar, the singer's mother, Carole Underwood, knew her daughter had something special. But after years of auditions and try-outs, the elder Underwood suggested her daughter go to college, in case singing didn't work out.
It was while Carrie was at college, studying Mass Communications at Northeastern State University, that the student learned about the American Idol auditions.
"I think she had one more semester to go and she said, 'Mama they are having American Idol tryouts in St. Louis, and that's the closest place, and it's this weekend,'" Carole Underwood recalls to KTUL.
The two women drove through the night and changed clothes in a gas station, before Carrie auditioned, deciding at the last minute to sing Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."
Carrie impressed the three judges – Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson – and made it through to Hollywood, where the pressure really amped up. "They had Simon Cowel who you know was meant to be an abrasive person to tell you just how it is," Underwood recalls, "and that was good and that was a good thing, but you always wonder, 'Ohhh what's he gonna say about my kid tonight?'"
For the proud mother, her least favorite days suddenly fell in the middle of the week, when her child's time on the show came into question week after week.
"I learned to dread Tuesdays and hate Wednesdays because Tuesdays were the performance nights and Wednesdays were the vote off nights," says Underwood.
Of course, her daughter never got sent home, and was crowned the champion on May 25, 2005.
"It was amazing the night that [Carrie] won, absolutely amazing, and then it was kind of like 'Now what?'" Carole said. "Now what do we do? But it was a well-oiled machine by that time. They had everything laid in place to say this is what you gotta do next and this is what you gotta do next."
Carrie went on to have the most successful career of any Idol contestants, selling more than 65 million albums, and with an estimated net worth of more than $85 million.
Photo Credit: YouTube