Carrie Underwood debuts ‘Cry Pretty’ on ‘American Idol’ 13 years after winning: ‘This is life-changing’

Sunday night on “American Idol’s” Top 5 performance episode, host Ryan Seacrest introduced Carrie Underwood as the “most successful” winner in the show’s history — sorry, Kelly Clarkson! Country superstar Underwood won “American Idol” Season 4 against rocker Bo Bice in 2005, and she’s kept busy over the past 13 years with her family life and winning seven Grammy Awards. Underwood served as a mentor this week to the Top 5 — Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie PoppeCade Foehner and Michael J. Woodard — and also performed her new single “Cry Pretty” live, complete with glittery pink eye makeup in the shape of tears. Watch the official music video above.

Underwood co-produced the “Cry Pretty” album and co-wrote most of the songs, too. After her emotional performance, Seacrest asked her what she thought of the five finalists and she responded, “They’re bringing it tonight!”

“They mean business,” Underwood added. “I’m just so proud that I got to be a part of that journey for them. Because this is life-changing. This is real. This is their dreams coming true. They’re the nicest group of people. I’m just in awe.”

As for working behind the scenes on her album, Underwood admitted, “[It’s] a new step for me. But it’s been so much fun kind of being on the other side of things and musically making those decisions. It’s been really good.”

In his “American Idol” live blog, our recapper Denton Davidson critiqued all of the Top 5 performances, including Gabby’s “Last Name,” Caleb’s “So Small,” Maddie’s “I Told You So,” Cade’s “Undo It” and Michael’s “Flat on the Floor.” America voted live coast-to-coast to send home Cade and Michael, meaning the Season 16 finale will be an epic battle between Gabby, Caleb and Maddie.

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