The most recent radio single to feature Carrie Underwood’s voice was “The Fighter,” a 2017 collaboration with Keith Urban that grafted a message of loving encouragement and support onto sleek electronic production. Underwood adopts a more victorious stance in “The Champion,” a new song recorded for Super Bowl LII and featuring a guest verse from rapper Ludacris.
Written by Underwood and Ludacris with Brett James and Chris DeStefano, “The Champion” doesn’t hold back on the kind of inspirational bromides – “I am invincible, unbreakable, unstoppable, unshakeable” goes the chorus – that pair well with America’s most-watched sporting event. Driven by a hydraulic beat with air-raid effects and slashing guitars, Jim Jonsin’s aggressive production alternates between in-your-face and weightless sections where the beat falls out entirely. Ludacris turns up after the second chorus, adding his inimitable style to lines that touch on courage, honor, attitude and motivation.
“The Champion” will open NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LII, set for February 4th in Minneapolis. Additionally, the song will feature in NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, beginning February 9th. Underwood has also served as the voice of NBC’s flagship Sunday Night Football for the past five seasons.
Aside from her guest appearance on Urban’s single, Underwood had a relatively quiet 2017 in terms of musical output. She returned as co-host of the CMA Awards in November, providing the show with some much-needed catharsis during her standout version of “Softly and Tenderly.” Late in the year, she was hospitalized after breaking her wrist and cutting her face in a fall outside her home.