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Carrie Underwood has come a long way since 'American Idol'

Cinderella hates Carrie Underwood. Snow White wants to key her car. After all, when it comes to shiny, happy people, a Disney Princess has nada on the chipper cutie from Checotah, Okla. Yep, life is good for the blindingly blond American Idol champ. She has killer pipes, a ton of awards and a new marriage to NHL star Mike Fisher. But it's not all perfect for the All-American Girl, who plays the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday. Let's fire up the Career-o-Meter! — Sean Daly, Times pop music critic

1. BIRTHED FROM SIMON'S BOSOM: Carrie's Care Bears — perhaps the most unsettling American Idol fan base next to Taylor Hicks' Soul Patrol — nevertheless help Underwood win Season Four of the Fox phenomenon. Not only does she launch her career into the stratosphere, she also makes sure dopey runnerup Bo Bice will only be able to inflict minimal damage in the future before he and his Sasquatchian hair wither into the ether. (No offense, Bo!)

2. THANK GOD FOR DUMB MEN: Winning Idol was huge, but don't underestimate the socko clout of her first enduring hit, the wickedly fun Before He Cheats, which helped debut album Some Hearts sell more than 7 million copies and become the biggest-selling record of 2005. It would also make her the top-selling Idol star of 'em all, with Kelly Clarkson a few million sold behind her.

3. GOLDEN GIRL: In 2007, Underwood won her first three Grammys, including best new artist. She has since scored five Grammys total. Among other hardware, she has won five Country Music Awards (including three female vocalist of the year nods), eight People's Choice Awards and 15 Billboard Music Awards. She is also the first female artist to win back-to-back Academy of Country Music Awards for entertainer of the year in 2009 and 2010.

4. BAD 'PLAY': Underwood is a fine jukebox artist, and she already has the tracks for a swell hits compilation. But the brutal truth is that her three albums have grown increasingly less catchy and less mighty at the cash register. 2009's Play On is by far her worst record, with only two decent songs — Cowboy Casanova and Someday When I Stop Loving You — to cull from 13 pretty dull tracks.

5. HOMO ERECTUS, INDEED': One of the best episodes of CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother featured Underwood as a pharmaceutical sales rep (a Pharma Girl!) toying with the affections of Ted and, in a hilariously bawdy fantasy sequence, sleazy Barney. Underwood displays sly comic flair and cunning sex appeal as she dresses up as a nurse, a flight attendant and, be still my heart, a cave girl.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life column runs every Sunday in Floridian.

Carrie Underwood has come a long way since 'American Idol' 10/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:53pm]

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