Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Underwood a hit on 'Idol' - 15 Feb. 2005

Covering a fellow NSU student's trip through "American Idol" was the first big project my editors assigned me. I remember in my box every Wednesday, the assignment day, a slip of paper that read, "underwood recap. you know what to do." This was also my first Page One story.


Carrie Underwood’s success on American Idol has caused a buzz around Oklahoma, Tahlequah and the NSU campus.

"We're very excited around here," said Dr. Mike Chanslor, assistant professor of mass communication. "We've got a star."

Chanslor is Underwood's academic advisor, and is well aware of her singing talent.

"I'm really not surprised by the success. She has got talent and good work ethic,” said Chanslor.

The Checotah native and NSU senior has no doubt received many compliments over the past few weeks, but the most important probably came from an English record producer best known as a judge on the hit show.

"That was very good. Very good Carrie, great," was the post-audition response from Simon Cowell, who is infamous for his brutal honesty towards performers.

That was during the first round of auditions to determine who would go on to Hollywood for the second round. A week later, Underwood received a unanimous "yes" from the show's three judges to continue in the competition.

Ashlee Smith is a sophomore from Nowata and is a friend of Underwood's.

“I think she's going to go an the way," said Smith. "She's gonna be famous."

If the Internet is a good indicator of fame, Underwood could have it in the making. A search on Yahoo! returns several Web sites mentioning her as an American Idol contestant, and there are already two Carrie Underwood fan sites. "Carrie Fans" is a message board Web site with nearly 400 members, and "Carrie Underwood Online" is an unofficial site which includes photos, news and a biography.

According to site, Underwood has performed in many states and has even opened for the country/western powerhouse Diamond Rio. Singing is not Underwood's only talent. She has worked for The Northeastern and was a producer of NSU's student television program, "The Quah." She is majoring in mass communication and has been a student of Chanslor's in the past.

"She has always been a real good student, and responsible," said Chanslor. “Whatever level of success she achieves, she will be able to handle it well."

It did not take long for Smith to recognize Underwood's talent.

"I knew the day I met her," said Smith. "She sang in her room all the time."

Smith and Underwood belong to the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and Smith often watches the show with her sorority sisters.

"We have a big group of girls [who watch the show]. We are all proud of her," said Smith.

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