Carrie Underwood is one of the most successful country music stars of the past decade. Since winning American Idol in 2005, she has gone on to release multiple chart-topping albums, sell over 65 million records worldwide, and win 7 Grammy Awards.
However, despite her massive success, Underwood has faced criticism and backlash from some music fans over the years. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common reasons why certain people dislike or “hate” Carrie Underwood.
She’s Too Successful
One of the main criticisms against Underwood is that she’s become too successful and popular as a country artist. After her American Idol win, Underwood was immediately crowned a country sweetheart and heavily promoted by the music industry. Her debut album Some Hearts went on to become the fastest-selling debut country album of all time.
This meteoric rise to fame led some critics to accuse Underwood of being an “industry plant” who didn’t deserve her success. The incredible sales stats also alienated some hardcore country fans who felt Underwood was too “pop” and not authentic enough for the genre.
Breakdown of Underwood’s Awards and Achievements
- 7 Grammy Awards
- 15 Billboard Music Awards
- 17 American Music Awards
- 15 Academy of Country Music Awards
- 9 Country Music Association Awards
- 7 People’s Choice Awards
- 7 CMT Music Awards
This level of commercial success has led to resentment and claims that Underwood is “overrated”. The chart dominance has overshadowed other artists and led some to unfairly downplay her vocal talents and artistry.
Perceived Lack of Personality
Another common criticism against Underwood is her perceived lack of an interesting public persona or personality. Some detractors claim Underwood comes across as boring or manufactured in interviews compared to more outspoken country stars like Miranda Lambert or Kacey Musgraves.
Underwood has been labelled as too “safe”, calculated, and concerned with maintaining a squeaky clean image. Her good girl-next-door persona is sometimes dismissed as inauthentic. This criticism spiked after Underwood’s notable fallout with former duet partner Mike Fisher. Some fans were dismayed by how private the former couple remained regarding the breakdown of their marriage.
However, it could also be argued that Underwood is simply a far more private, guarded, and introverted person than other celebrities. She prefers keeping the focus on her music rather than tabloid drama. Either way, her clean-cut image has been polarizing among some country fans seeking more rawness and outlaw edge from their stars.
Perceived Vocal Shortcomings
One of the most common knocks against Underwood, even amongst some of her own fans, are claims that she is not a strong enough vocalist. Critics argue that her voice lacks distinction, depth, and control compared to vocal powerhouses like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, or Martina McBride.
There are online videos dedicated to pointing out Underwood’s occasional pitch issues during live performances. Her tendency to frequently belt and sing in her upper register has led some to accuse Underwood of lacking dynamic vocal range. She relies too heavily on power and volume over nuance and emotion.
However, these criticisms ignore that Underwood has clearly evolved and matured over the years as a vocalist. Her control and phrasing on recent albums like Cry Pretty and My Savior showcase far greater artistry and confidence. She may not be the strongest pure vocalist within country music, but dismissing her skills completely seems an over-exaggeration given her vocal capabilities.
Sense She’s Not “Country Enough”
Possibly the most common criticism leveled at Underwood is the accusation that she’s not an authentic enough country artist. Detractors claim Underwood borrows too heavily from pop and adult contemporary styles rather than sticking to classic country roots. This argument particularly gained steam after crossover pop hits like “Before He Cheats”.
Underwood has fought against claims she “went pop” throughout her career. She maintains her music is still rooted in country storytelling, even if her productions and vocal delivery are more polished and bombastic.
However, there is a core group of traditionalists within country fandom who still dismiss Underwood as too much of a pandering industry puppet. Even her faith-based album Cry Pretty faced backlash for not being “country enough”. To her critics, Underwood lacks the raw, outlaw spirit that defines the genre. Her reliance on power ballads and pop elements makes her feel like a mainstream sell-out.
Breakdown of Underwood’s Country vs Pop Single Releases
- Total singles released: 38
- Pure country singles: 22
- Country-pop crossover singles: 15
- Pure pop singles: 1 (“Something in the Water”)
This data shows that while Underwood has certainly experimented with pop sounds, the majority of her singles still fall squarely within the country genre stylistically. The perception she has completely abandoned her country roots seems exaggerated upon closer examination of her actual musical output over the years.
Rivalry with Other Female Artists
Some music fans have pitted Underwood against her fellow female country stars over the years. There’s a tendency to negatively compare Underwood to artists like Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, etc. Some see her as inferior due to perceived lack of artistry, authenticity or vocal ability compared to “critical darlings” like Musgraves.
There’s also a subset of internet commentators who stir up “rivalry” rumors between Underwood and artists like Lambert or Taylor Swift. This fan war dynamic leads some to overly criticize or downplay Underwood’s talents.
In reality, Underwood has always spoken highly of her fellow female country acts. She recognizes that different artists appeal to different tastes. But petty fan squabbles on social media exacerbate perceptions that Underwood is “overrated” while other singers are underappreciated.
Her Personal Values and Politics
Underwood’s religious background and conservative upbringing have also sparked some backlash – especially her stances on hot button issues like same-sex marriage and gun control. Underwood has long held that her personal views are separate from her music. But her avoidance to directly discuss politics has frustrated some fans seeking stronger advocacy from celebrities.
This blew up in 2018 when Underwood gave an interview perceived to dodge questions on gun reform laws. Some fans – especially liberals – saw this as evidence of Underwood’s problematic conservatism. However, she likely wanted to avoid alienating her core country fanbase. Others feel Underwood could speak out more given her platform.
In general, Underwood keeps her views private. But her conservative perceived stances have sparked anti-Underwood sentiment among left-leaning music fans. They see her as complicit or unwoke. However, there’s limited evidence Underwood campaigns for specific politicians or policies.
In summary, Carrie Underwood faces a variety of criticism and backlash – some valid, some exaggerated. She provokes debate on hot button issues like authenticity, politics, vocal skills, and crossover success in country music. However, much of the extreme “hate” seems driven by rivalry, jealousy over her success, or unproven musical snobbery.
For all her flaws, Underwood has worked tirelessly and evolved across multiple albums while overcoming harsher scrutiny than her male peers. Dismissing her talents and artistry wholesale seems reactionary rather than based on substantive musical critique. She remains one of country music’s most talented and successful crossover stars whose legacy continues to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Has Carrie Underwood ever responded to her critics?
Underwood has addressed her critics occasionally over the years. She’s noted that achieving huge success can breed unfair resentment. Underwood argues she can’t control public perceptions, only make music she feels passionate about. She’s also discussed evolving as a vocalist and acknowledging past imperfections as part of growing as an artist. Underwood seems aware of criticisms but tries not to let them shake her confidence.
Why do some country music fans dislike crossover artists?
Some hardcore country fans argue that crossover pop-country acts water down the genre’s authenticity and traditions. Pop/country blends are seen as inauthentic pandering for mainstream success. Underwood’s pop influences and slick productions go against country’s rough, outlaw roots in this view. However, others counter that country has always evolved. Crossover stars like Underwood help introduce country music to wider audiences.
Is Carrie Underwood more successful than other country stars?
Measured in pure sales, Underwood is arguably the most successful country star of the past 15 years. She’s certified Diamond by the RIAA – a feat only achieved by 8 other country acts in history. Her catalog has depth with multiple platinum albums and over 20 #1 country singles. She also has more Grammy wins than most female country singers. The numbers cement Underwood as a commercial powerhouse within the genre.
Does Carrie Underwood lip sync during live shows?
Like most major touring artists, Underwood uses some pre-recorded background vocals and instrumental tracks during live shows for technical reasons. But the main vocal performances are absolutely live. Underwood is renowned for her powerful live vocals and extensive vocal runs. Any lip sync accusations seem baseless and ignorant of how most large scale tours operate. She sings live for the majority of her shows.
Is Carrie Underwood’s music considered country or pop?
Genre debates rage around Underwood, but most experts and critics classify her core catalog as country pop. While she experiments with pop production, the lyrical content and storytelling remain rooted in country tradition. Underwood has cowboy imagery, southern twang, and other genre hallmarks. She straddles the line between pop and country, but her classification as a country artist seems reasonable given her output.