Since winning American Idol (season four) more than a decade ago, Carrie Underwood has built an enduring, enormous career, singing her way to seven Grammy Awards, selling more than 64 million records, recording 26 number one country singles, becoming the voice of Sunday Night Football, starring in an Emmy-winning musical, The Sound of Music Live!, and clocking a mother lode of other accomplishments entirely too long to list.
In support of a new single, "Cry Pretty," the singer recently brought down the house at the 2018 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards — and nabbed a trophy for Vocal Event of the Year in the process. Now, she’s up for four CMT Music Awards and is rolling out a new activewear line. In short, the woman is a powerhouse. So, after bringing her A-game to showcase all her new work, why are so many people still fixating on the way she looks after falling in her house last November?
In her first TV interview since the ACMs performance, meant to promote her new activewear line, Calia by Carrie Underwood, Today’s Hoda Kotb first asks Underwood to recount her accident, which sounds pretty scary: She fell on stairs and was badly injured with no other adults in the house while her three-year-old son (Isaiah, whom she shares with husband, NHL star Mike Fisher) was sleeping. But instead of asking the singer how she feels now (or better, about her latest work), Kotb then detours into irrelevant territory, complimenting her on looking “the same.” Online, fans were quick to chime in, applauding Kotb for the apparent praise.
Over on Underwood’s Instagram, the conversation continues, with fans and foes picking apart her face and even questioning her authenticity. “Where are your scars from your fall???” “Shame on you for leading your fans on about your face.” “She needs to get over herself… This woman won’t show her face over a tiny scar. She’s a superficial no talent.” The rants go on...
But here’s the thing: Whether we perceive Underwood as looking different is totally beside the point. What’s the use of qualifying someone’s personal experience — be it a superstar’s accident or an acquaintance's desire to change her appearance — based on how we feel they look? (Who hasn’t heard something along the lines of “you don’t need it” after sharing a decision to get Botox, breast augmentation, or even a hair colour change?) If the change was significant to Underwood, then it’s significant, period. And, given she's made the choice to wear makeup over her scars, we also don’t know exactly what Underwood sees when she looks in the mirror every morning. "I have a dedicated team of professionals who can spackle and paint and paste. Every day I’m feeling a little more back to normal,” she told Kotb.
What’s more, provided Underwood didn’t come into the public eye as someone who trades on her looks alone, how is aesthetic continuity a win we’re celebrating here? If you ask us, the real upshot is that Underwood’s voice wasn’t damaged in her fall — and that she’s back, stronger than ever, co-writing, performing, and recording music that millions of fans love.