'American Idol': Carrie Underwood Grateful to Return Home to Perform for Finale

Carrie Underwood returned to the stage that made her famous on Sunday night, May 19, when she performed for the American Idol finale.

"I had so much fun back on [American Idol] tonight!" Underwood later tweeted. "Good luck to [Alejandro Aranda] and [Laine Hardy] and all the contestants on whatever greatness lies ahead! Thanks, Idol, for always welcoming me home! [heart emoji] #AmericanIdolFinale"

Underwood sang her current single, "Southbound," earning rave reviews from fans all over the world.

"The only country star Idol has produced that I love," one fan gushed. "So proud of her."

"It was good to see you back on your home stage!!!" wrote one fan. "Awesome. I miss the good ole days of watching you and voting for you!!! You're amazing and looked amazing and as always, humble!!!"

"You were fabulous, as always!" said another. "Beautiful and humble."

"I remember seeing you in Atlanta on tour with Idol!" one longtime fan recalled. "You have come so far and have blessed us so with your music! Thanks for coming back and supporting the show that gave you to us all!"

Underwood was crowned the Season 4 American Idol winner in 2005, so she fully understood what the three finalists were feeling, before Laine Hardy was crowned the champion.

"[I remember being] horrified, excited, scared, nervous all of the above," Underwood told longtime American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest. "I can only imagine what the contestants are feeling right now. Well, I can imagine, because I was there."

Underwood also took time to reflect on her Cry Pretty Tour 360, which kicked off on May 1, with Runaway June and Maddie & Tae serving as her opening acts.

"We're having so much fun," gushed Underwood. "This is my favorite show by far, and I love that people are coming out to see us. It's been great."

Much has changed on American Idol since Underwood won 14 years ago, including the prizes the winner takes home. When Underwood won, she was given, among other things, a recording contract, a Ford Mustang convertible, and the use of a private jet for a year – the latter which she had to politely decline.

"At the time, because even when you're on a show like that it's not like I had money all of a sudden, and a lot of times when someone gives you a gift of that magnitude you have to pay taxes on it," Underwood previously told The Guardian. "I didn't have the money to pay taxes on a jet, so I was like, 'I'm good thanks.'"


Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Rich Fury