Carrie Underwood: American Idol To TIME 100 List

Sarah Field

Carrie Underwood has come a long way since her American Idol days. In less than a decade since winning the show's fourth season, she's become a country music superstar. This week, TIME magazine named her one of its 100 most influential people.

This is no mere celebrity list. Underwood is in excellent company, among notables from the world of politics, entertainment, activism, and the arts. She appears in the "Icons" category alongside Robert Redford, Pope Francis, and Malala Yousafzai.

TIME chooses its list-makers based, in part, on whether their influence is likely to grow. This is a flattering stamp of approval from TIME to Carrie, as the highly-respected publication sees only increased success in her future.

Carrie's friend Brad Paisley praised Underwood in his write-up for TIME, saying "[I]t's her decency as a person that is so impressive... If I had a daughter, nothing would make me happier than to hear her say she wanted to grow up to be like Carrie Underwood."

It was in 2005 that Carrie became known in households across the country as the college senior from Oklahoma who decided to give American Idol a shot. Once interested in a career in broadcast journalism, her talent and personable nature impressed judges and voters enough to give her the title. In the nine years since, her music career has skyrocketed.

This week, two of this year's Idol contestants, Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson, performed covers of her songs. The full circle moment was not lost on viewers, and Carrie let this year's crop of contenders know she was among those watching. Tweeting in response to the performance show, Underwood gushed:

— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) April 24, 2014

Carrie Underwood will have some duties to fulfill as part of her TIME 100 acknowledgement. She will perform next week at the TIME 100 gala in New York City. The event is on Tuesday, so Carrie may be able to watch American Idol the following night to see if any of the new batch of singers is the next vocal powerhouse.