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Happy birthday, Carrie! A look at Underwood's evolution

A native of the storied coastal city of Charleston, South Carolina, Julie Sprankles has been a lover of words her entire life. As a Southerner, she certainly has what her mama calls “the gift of gab.” When she’s not writing, Julie can be...

30 and fabulous

Carrie Underwood turns the big 3-0 today! To celebrate this milestone in the country music star’s life, we take a look at her metamorphosis over the years from American Idol newbie to country’s reigning queen.

An Idol is born

Carrie Underwood in 2005 on American Idol

Fans first met Carrie Underwood on Season 4 of American Idol and quickly fell in love with the unassuming farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma with killer pipes. On March 4, 2005, Simon Cowell’s early prediction for the competition came true when Carrie took home the season’s top honors.

The girl next door

Carrie Underwood in 2005 on the Today Show

After her American Idol win, Carrie embarked on a whirlwind tour of concerts and press appearances. Judging by her baggy dress and leather fringe belt, it seems likely she’d yet to hire a stylist during her June 2005 performance on The TODAY Show.

Still her own stylist

Carrie Underwood in 2006 on David Letterman

One of her first appearances on the late-night talk-show circuit, Carrie arrived at the Ed Sullivan Theater for the Late Show with David Letterman wearing a laid-back ensemble of cargo pants, a hoodie and a Country Western-style studded handbag.

Spreading her wings

Carrie Underwood in 2007 at the AMAs

In 2007, Carrie really started to come out of her shell. She showed up at the American Music Awards that year looking super-chic and markedly more svelte in a Georges Chakra white minidress — perhaps the official start of her glamorous evolution.

A new fashion darling

Carrie Underwood in 2008 at the Grammys

Miss Underwood made major waves at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in a floor-sweeping, floral-print Zuhair Murad gown, which landed her on many “best dressed” lists. The stylish star picked up the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award.

Carrie, 2.0

Carrie Underwood in 2009 on the David Letterman Show

When the country cutie returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater in 2009 for the Late Show with David Letterman, she more than redeemed herself for her fashion indiscretion during her prior appearance. This go-round, she nailed casual chic.

The look of love

Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood in 2010 at the Grammys

Carrie’s sophisticated dress at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards did its part to make the star radiate, but her true glow came from being in love. She walked the event’s red carpet in 2010 with fiancé Mike Fisher, mere months shy of their wedding day.

The makings of a movie star

Carrie Underwood in 2011 at the Golden Globes

A sure sign of her superstar status, Carrie dazzled in 2011 at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards courtesy of shimmering Badgley Mischka. That year marked her foray into films with Soul Surfer, the on-screen story of shark-attack victim Bethany Hamilton.

Rockin' fierce styles onstage

Carrie Underwood on her Blown Away Tour

Carrie was the definition of a country crossover icon while performing on her “Blown Away” tour at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Her stage style has become epic over the years, replete with sky-high heels and designer duds.

A true show-stopper

Carrie Underwood in 2013 at the Grammys

During her performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards earlier this year, Carrie stole the night. The now-mainstream star’s silver Theia ballgown transformed on stage from simple to stunning by illumination with flickering images and bright colors.

Images, from top to bottom, courtesy of Nikki Nelson/WENN.com, WENN.com, David Meszler/WENN.com, Apega/WENN.com, Apega/WENN.com, WENN.com, Adriana M Barraza/WENN.com, STSWENN.com, Judy Eddy/WENN.com, WENN.com
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