Even Carrie Underwood's own mother had no idea how much of a superstar she would become when her daughter first auditioned for American Idol in the summer of 2004. In a new episode of "Through Mom's Eyes," Tuesday, Carole Underwood spoke to TODAY's Sheinelle Jones following her daughter from local talent shows to Idol and beyond.
Underwood remembers Carrie being bashful about singing in public at a young age, even crying before she would go on stage, but once she had that microphone in her hand, there was no denying she "truly had a gift from God." When Carrie decided to audition for American Idol, she had decided to pursue a degree in mass communication, and Underwood admitted she only thought the TV exposure might help Carrie secure a TV anchor or hosting job in their local Tulsa area.
Looking back on the moment where Carrie left her parents for American Idol, Underwood recalled just how nervous her daughter was. "She told [her father] 'I'm just so nervous.' And he said 'Well, you know what, if you don't want to go, we can just turn around and go back home.' And she said, 'No, no, I want to go. I'll never know if I don't go ahead and go,'" Underwood remembered. "So we went. ... We waited at the airport until we saw that plane take off, and then it was like 'My gosh, you know, she's gone from us right now.' So that's how it began."
While Carrie would go on to win Season 4 of American Idol, Underwood said she "always dreaded" watching her daughter on the show: "It was just too harrowing for me. And I'm sure it was for her, too." When she did win, Underwood said her family still didn't understand how much further things would go for the artist, who would go on to win seven Grammy Awards and sell millions of records.
"It didn't really dawn on me at that particular moment what was possibly going to happen," Underwood said. "Up to this time, it was just a competition. She won, and then my next thought [was] 'Well, where do we go from here?' You know? 'I don't know how to do anything about any of this.'" Despite all the glitz and glam that would follow, Underwood said she sees Carrie still simply as her daughter. "You don't realize that celebrities truly are just people," said Underwood. "They wash their clothes. They fold their clothes. You know? I just don't want her to change how she is, and I think she doesn't."