New video for Carrie Underwood, Ludacris song ‘The Champion’ unveiled

Carrie Underwood’s music video for the song "The Champion" (featuring Ludacris) premiered on NBC's "Today Show" on Friday morning before launching globally across digital platforms.Directed by Jimmy Lynch, the poignant and powerful montage video features a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood and Ludacris recording the song as well as historic moments and footage highlighting professional athletes and everyday champions.Fans have already started joining in by sharing their own champion-inspired photos and videos across social media using #TheChampion. The song was written by Underwood, Brett James, Chris DeStefano and Christopher Bridges PKA Ludacris, and was produced by Jim Jonsin.“The Champion,” originally written to open NBC’s Super Bowl LII with a different video seen by over 131 million viewers worldwide, was incorporated into NBC’s current coverage of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.The song has reached No. 1 on the iTunes Top Songs chart in 10 countries, including the U.S., where it held the top spot throughout its release week then rose back to the top of the chart for four consecutive days after the Super Bowl LII opening.Underwood, a former "American Idol" winner from Checotah, is currently in the studio working on an album to be released on Capitol Records Nashville. She recently garnered her 13th ACM nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year and was also nominated for Vocal Event of the Year for “The Fighter” with Keith Urban.View the video below: Continue Reading

Pop culture: Carrie Underwood, Ludacris song goes to No. 1 after Super Bowl video

Checotah country music star Carrie Underwood christened NBC’s Super Bowl broadcast with her new song that features Ludacris. A video for the song opened the Super Bowl LII broadcast. The Super Bowl launching pad helped the song — “The Champion” — zoom to No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart. “The Champion” was released Jan. 12. Underwood co-wrote “The Champion” with Brett James, Chris DeStefano and Christopher Bridges PKA Ludacris, who Underwood asked to collaborate on the Jim Jonsin-produced song. Underwood has been the face and voice of the show open for NBC’s Sunday Night Football for the past five seasons and is currently in the studio working on an album which will be released on Capitol Records Nashville. Underwood opened the year by sharing, in a blog post to fans, that she sustained a facial injury in fall. The injury required 40-50 stitches. She cautioned fans she might not look the same when she’s ready to be seen on camera again. “I’m hoping that, by then, the differences are minimal, but, again, I just don’t know how it’s all going to end up," she wrote. The video for "The Champion" was filmed last year. Continue Reading

CMT Music Awards: Carrie Underwood takes third video of the year win; Luke Bryan nabs surprise of night

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena is turning into quite a memorable place for Carrie Underwood and her hunky husband, NHL star Mike Fisher. Underwood won her third video of the year award at the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday night, carving yet another great memory out for the couple in the home of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. PHOTOS: CMT MUSIC AWARDS 2012 RED CARPET LOOKS Underwood’s two wins — she also won for collaboration of the year for “Remind Me,” with Brad Paisley — mean she’s now won nine CMT belt buckles since 2006, including video of the year awards. That matches Taylor Swift’s run in that fan-voted category over the same period. The former “American Idol” winner was the night’s only multiple winner. Luke Bryan pulled off the surprise of the night, taking male video of the year for “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” After beating out country’s top male stars, Bryan rewarded his fans by tossing a pair of boxers into the crowd. It was far from the raciest moment of the night. Kellie Pickler pretended to motorboat an imaginary pair of breasts to introduce Little Big Town’s performance of “Pontoon,” complete with a full-sized pontoon boat and bikini-clad “swimmers” floating around the stage. And co-host Kristen Bell made sure to spend a little quality time in the stands, sandwiching herself between Bryan and Jake Owen. “I didn’t know I’d be sitting right in the middle of Hunksville, Tenn., population — two,” the actress joked. As for the official business of the night, the rest pretty much held true to current award show trends. Upon hearing their names in the collaboration category, Paisley leaped to his feet and wrapped his arms around Underwood’s husband in a long embrace that got the laughs started. Miranda Lambert won her third straight Continue Reading

Brad Paisley is prepared for surprises – and meat dresses – as co-host of CMAs with Carrie Underwood

In every live awards show, says Brad Paisley, someone is going to fall off the horse. Paisley and Carrie Underwood return as co-hosts of the Country Music Awards Wednesday (ABC, 8 o'clock), and he says one thing they learned from their two previous years is that at some point they must become quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage who have to change the play. "There's always someone who gives the acceptance speech you didn't expect or who shows up in a meat dress," says Paisley. "So even though you start with an idea where you're going, there are surprises." He and Underwood have developed a comfortable enough chemistry, he says, that they don't go by a strict script anyway. "We don't rehearse as much as we write and rewrite," he says. "You know, does this joke work here, does that work there? We have a lot of fun just goofing around. You have some things in your back pocket and you can sense when it's time to go off-prompt." Personally, he says, "I like a host who gives you the sense he's bringing you inside the event. That's what I've always liked about Steve Martin. He always looks like he loves being there." There's just one guideline, says Paisley, to which he religiously sticks. "I don't do jokes where afterward I couldn't face the people I'm joking about," he says. "It's not that kind of show. So it's a balancing act. You still need the jokes, because they're entertaining, and in the end, it is a bit of a roast." Paisley, himself a multiple CMA "male vocalist of the year," has made hits for a decade with wry, sometimes rock-flavored country songs like "Mud on the Tires," "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishing Song)" and "Alcohol." He's collected the songs into an unusual greatest-hits package, with one CD of studio recordings and another of live recordings. In a couple of cases, the same song appears on each disk. "When the live recording was different, like with 'Alcohol,' I thought it would be interesting to have both," he says. "That Continue Reading

CMT Music Awards 2010: Former ‘American Idol’ champion Carrie Underwood wins for ‘Cowboy Casanova’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The fans love Carrie Underwood and they proved it again during the CMT Music Awards. The former "American Idol" champ won Wednesday night's top honor, video of the year for "Cowboy Casanova," and CMT performance of the year for "Temporary Home" two months after making history by winning her second Academy of Country Music Awards entertainer of the year. Both awards are chosen by fans tuned into the live shows. She was the night's only multiple winner. "They were there before I had anything, an album, a record deal, a tour or anything like that," Underwood said after the show. "They built me from the ground up." The CMT Awards, which are chosen exclusively by fan voting, were another salute to some of country music's top young stars. Lady Antebellum continued its scorching run by winning group video of the year for the trio's crossover hit "Need You Now" and Miranda Lambert taking female video of the year for "White Liar," her first No.1 song. "Tonight's all about the fans," trio member Dave Haywood said after receiving the belt buckle trophy given to winners. "Thank you fans!" Lambert followed up three wins at the ACM Awards with yet another win. She jumped up and pumped her fists as she made her way through the crowd and shouted, "My first buckle! This rocks!" when she reached the stage. Lambert's "White Liar" video features the red-hot singer ditching her dishonest husband-to-be at the alter for his cheating ways. It was the first time she put on a wedding dress. The second time will come when she weds fiance Blake Shelton. "Let's just hope that my next wedding doesn't end up like that video," she told the crowd. Keith Urban won male video of the year for "'Til Summer Comes Around." After sending a shoutout to his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, who attended the awards, he turned serious and talked of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "I want to send my deepest love to all the families around the gulf, who are going through Continue Reading

InnerTube: Carrie Underwood’s top tip for ‘American Idol’ hopefuls

Carrie Underwood, one of the most successful singers to come out of "American Idol," has some advice for future "Idol" competitors. "Any contestant who does well on 'Idol' has to stay true to what people voted for," Underwood recently told reporters in a conference call. "I've seen it happen a few times where people are one thing on the show and then they get off the show and try to do something else. That's really strange because 'Idol' is one of those things where [audiences] are telling you what they want. It's the best testing form that you can possibly have." Underwood is set to host the "Carrie Underwood: All-Star Holiday Special," airing tonight at 8 on Fox. The two-hour variety show will feature music from her new album as well as previous hits, holiday classics, collaborations with guest stars Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley and David Cook and short sketches, including one with Kristin Chenoweth and Christina Applegate. "We ended up doing a medley of throwback songs from the '50s and '60s, with matching pink dresses and beehives," said Underwood. "They showed up and they were willing to do whatever we needed them to do. Three blonds. We had fun together." A big 'Apple' welcome for Sliwa Curtis Sliwa won't be on the sidelines for long after leaving WABC (770 AM). He says he will start Jan. 11 as the morning host on WNYM (970 AM), known as "The Apple." Sliwa did several morning stints at WABC in his 18 years there and said he was eager to get back to mornings. WNYM has a syndicated talk lineup that includes another former WABC morning man, Mike Gallagher, but it has so far made little dent in the local ratings. Sliwa gives the station a local morning host and a higher profile - though its signal has less coverage than those of WABC or WOR (710 AM). Sliwa also shut down any reports or wishes that his new show could reunite him with his former WABC partner, Ron Kuby. Since Kuby testified in court for Sliwa's archenemy, John (Junior) Gotti, said Sliwa, "I can barely Continue Reading

Life after ‘American Idol’: Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood found success after reality show

Fantasia Barrino has had her highs and lows since winning "American Idol" six years ago. Tonight at 10, she returns to TV with her own reality show that follows her balancing career and single motherhood. With VH1's "Fantasia for Real" the R&B/soul singer proves her ability to stay in the spotlight — unlike some other "Idol" winners. While some are breaking records and branching into new territories, others haven't enjoyed the same success. As the singing competition's ninth season kicks off tomorrow, here's how these "Idol" alumni stack up. KELLY CLARKSON, Season 1 On the show: A former cocktail waitress from Texas, Clarkson won hearts with her wholesome image and powerful pipes. In the show's very first finale, she took on curly-haired cutie Justin Guarini. While Las Vegas bookmakers made Guarini a 5-to-6 favorite, the "Idol" judges pulled for Clarkson. They were right. She scored 58 percent of votes from the American public over Guarini's 42 percent. Post-"Idol": The 27-year-old has gone on to be one of the most successful stars to come out of the show. "Breakaway," her second album, won two Grammy Awards. Her single "My Life Would Suck Without You," from her fourth album, "All I Ever Wanted," shot from No. 97 to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in its first week of release, breaking the record for the largest jump to the top. Clarkson is the highest-selling "Idol" alum, with more than 23 million albums sold worldwide. She's now working on her fifth album. RUBEN STUDDARD, Season 2 On the show: The likable pop/soul singer from Alabama earned the nickname Velvet Teddy Bear for his soft-spoken personality. On "Idol," his voice was praised by legends like Lionel Richie, Neil Sedaka, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight. Studdard was up against Clay Aiken in the end, and ultimately won the competition by only 134,000 votes out of 24 million cast. Post-"Idol": Studdard's first album, "Soulful" (2003), debuted at No. 1 and went platinum. He Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood takes us on ‘Carnival Ride’

"American Idol" fans like their stars to sing big and busy. That encourages some of them to throw their voices around with such wacky abandon it's as if they were being paid by the note.Somehow that never happened to Carrie Underwood, the most country-savvy of the kids shot to stardom by the "Idol" juggernaut. She's a first-class power hitter to be sure - more so than ever on her just-released second CD, "Carnival Ride." But Underwood prefers to focus her belts, offering few embellishments or melismas along the way.That honed quality has made Underwood one of the more impressive of the show's alums, and apparently the second-most successful (after Kelly Clarkson).Her 2005 debut, "Some Hearts," sold nearly 6 million copies and bagged her a Grammy as Best New Artist. She has since complained about how quickly that album had to be thrown together, but it didn't show. "Hearts" had the bright tunemanship and clever/corny lyrics that can forgive even the slickest of Nashville products.The same goes for "Carnival Ride." No wonder one of its catchiest songs is the one that most cravenly milks Underwood's Cinderella shtick. "Crazy Dreams" offers a brisk ode to "hairbrush singers, dashboard drummers and air guitarists" everywhere.Underwood had a hand in writing that cut herself (or at least a finger in it, given the two other names that crowd the credit). Either way, at least Underwood tried to get more of her own perspective into this album, contributing to five of the songs, up from just one on her debut.She indulges few somber reflections along the way. There's "Just a Dream," about a newlywed whose husband gets killed in the war. But mainly Underwood prefers to play either a feisty character (sniping back at men who only make her prefer her dog) or a philosophical one (rehashing the slick faith that served her so commercially well in her guilty-pleasure breakthrough single "Jesus, Take the Wheel").Still, it's the muscularity of Underwood's voice, more than the material, Continue Reading

Two guys from Wisconsin are behind hits from the likes of Demi Lovato and Carrie Underwood

Lucas Keller describes his younger self as myopic. He wanted desperately to be in the music business and manage bands — not an easy dream for a guy from Greenfield. After four years at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Keller was a handful of credits away from a degree and was already managing a few bands. But he started another semester and realized his heart just wasn't in it.Keller needed to make a move — out of college, and out of Wisconsin."I just knew I wouldn't be able to stay," Keller said. He dropped out, moved to Chicago in 2006 and joined a talent management company. A few years later, in 2009, he headed to Los Angeles.Today, at age 33, Keller heads his own talent management agency, Milk & Honey, which is responsible for some of music's biggest hits, including a song topping the Billboard charts right now, "Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato. And the No. 2 guy in his company is a fellow Wisconsinite.The journey to this point took a few unexpected turns.Keller always thought he would manage musicians. But after he sat in a courtroom with his childhood-favorite band, Stone Temple Pilots, negotiating the group's split in 2013, Keller wanted to take a break from bands.Frankly, they were a pain.He worked for a large management company, The Collective, that had clients in television, film, music and comedy. Keller had been representing mostly rock acts.He began to work more with songwriters and producers. "I saw rock waning," he said. "And pop was bigger than ever. I thought everything was going to become pop. I decided to leave and start Milk & Honey."Rebuilding processMilk & Honey started out as just Keller working from his house. The idea was to run a small, focused music company. He pulled away from rock music and began rebuilding his client list. Grammy Award-winning musician David Hodges was an early client — one of a handful that Continue Reading

Carrie Underwood rocks the CMA Music Festival stage during sold-out show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Carrie Underwood remembers when she first performed to thousands of country fans at the coveted Country Music Association's Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. It was June 2005, which is exactly 10 years ago this month. Fresh off an "American Idol" win, Underwood said her first big Nashville stage show was a madhouse. "It was a chaotic, with cameras flashing and a gazillion fans," Underwood said. But her main worry was remembering the words to the song she was performing onstage. "I was singing with Phil Vassar, a song I did not know," Underwood said. "I was like, `Oh Lord, don't let me screw up the words.' We somehow pulled it off OK." Now a decade later, Underwood has seven Grammy Awards and a handful of No. 1 singles on the country charts under her belt. She's a wife, a new mom, and a bona fide super star. Underwood said her pregnancy allowed her to slow down and focus on new music instead of touring. "I spent a lot of time writing and listening to new songs," Underwood said. "I feel like now we're on the right track and in a really good place." Before her sold-out performance at the 2015 CMA Music Festival Saturday night, Underwood admitted she was a bit nervous. It was her first big stadium show since giving birth to her son, Isaiah, back in February. But when she hit the stage with her hit "Blown Away," there was no sign of nerves. Strutting in her bejeweled hot-pants and matching vest, Underwood brought her fans at LP Field to their feet, even asking them to get sassy before jumping into the song, "Undo It." Underwood slowed things down but still held the crowd's attention with the emotional "Something in the Water," off last year's "Greatest Hits: Decade (hash)1" release. She ended her seven-song set by bringing down the house with a resounding, "Before He Cheats." In the crowd, and on their Continue Reading