Originally published in the April 6, 2015 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
When we came up with the idea to let YOU—the readers—decide which one of the 16 hottest stars in country music had the best “season” in a winner-takes-all tournament, we took our staff’s opinions out of the equation. After coming up with a list of factors that governed the seeding, our job was done. It was time to sit back and let you vote. And vote you did. For the last month, thousands of votes poured in each round until we were left with one woman standing: Carrie Underwood.
And what a spectacular season it’s been for Carrie. Not only did she drop her fifth consecutive Billboard No. 1 album, win a Grammy and earn an ACM Special Achievement Award, but she also developed her own clothing line and welcomed her first child into the world, a baby boy named Isaiah.
While other artists like Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton certainly had unbelievable seasons, it’s hard to argue against Carrie’s remarkable run.
In fact, when it came down to head-to-head matchups, Carrie left little doubt who the victor would be. Carrie conquered Keith Urban in the opening round, blasted Blake Shelton in the quarterfinals, routed Miranda Lambert in the semifinals and crushed Kenny Chesney in the finals. That’s a who’s who of country powerhouses who all served as mere cannon fodder for Carrie on her Sherman-like march through the tourney. And the best part is that the tournament was all done in good fun with your help.
We’re already looking forward to another great tourney next year. Can Carrie repeat her championship run and start her own dynasty or will a new titleholder emerge? The new season begins now, and we’ll be watching.