Carrie Underwood returned to the platform that catapulted her into country music stardom this weekend: American Idol. The singer won the fourth season of the reality competition in 2005, joining inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson as the most successful stars ever produced by the show.
On Sunday night, Underwood appeared as a guest mentor to the contestants, offering insight into their budding careers. But the centerpiece was Underwood taking the stage to provide a fiery take on her new single “Cry Pretty.” The singer gave the live debut of the song during April’s ACM Awards, and released its video earlier this month.
In a special Underwood-themed episode of Idol, which after being canceled by Fox in 2016 was rebooted by ABC with Luke Bryan as one of the judges in March, the five remaining contestants performed Underwood songs. Maddie Poppe tackled “I Told You So,” Michael J. Woodard sang deep cut “Flat on the Floor,” Caleb Lee Hutchison delivered “So Small,” and Cade Foehner offered “Undo It.” But it was Gabby Barrett’s “Last Name” that wowed Bryan, who said, “It’s like Carrie Underwood reincarnated.” In the end, Woodard and Foehner were eliminated, leaving Barrett, Hutchinson and Poppe as the final three.