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Carrie Underwood Tops Bo Bice as "Idol"

Country singer is crowned champ of show's fourth season

May 26, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Twenty-two-year-old Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood won the fourth installment of the American Idol competition at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre Wednesday night. She joins Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino as Idol champs, and is the first country singer to win.

At the Fox show's two-hour, star-studded finale, Underwood beat out twenty-nine-year-old Alabama rocker Bo Bice, making good on typically critical judge Simon Cowell's early prediction that she would take the competition. Underwood performed "Northern Star" with country stars Rascal Flatts, Bice was backed by Lynryd Skynyrd on his adopted theme song "Sweet Home Alabama," and the other top ten Idols were paired with the likes of George Benson, Billy Preston, Babyface, Kenny G and Kenny Wayne Shepard.

Underwood closed out the show with an emotional rendition of "Inside Your Heaven," ending the song with a loud, "Thank you, America." The song will serve as the newly crowned Idol's first single, to be released June 14th.

She, Bice and other top contestants will hit the road as part of the American Idols Live Tour, beginning July 12th in Sunrise, Florida.

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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