Back in 2004, when Carrie Underwood was a nervous 21-year-old hoping for a “yes” from the celebrity judges on “American Idol,” she couldn’t have imagined that nearly two decades later, she’d be so famous that she’d be saying “no” week after week to stars wanting to work with her. But that’s the reality, according to a new interview with the superstar.
Underwood Turns Down Most Requests for Duets
Underwood, who’s about to kick off her Denim & Rhinestones concert tour with fellow “Idol” alum Jimmie Allen as her opening act, revealed in a recent interview that she frequently turns down requests from stars who want to record duets with her.
During an appearance on Country Countdown USA on September 19, 2022, she told host Lon Helton that she and her team receive duet requests all the time.
“We get requests every week, and it has to make sense,” she said. “Musically it has to make sense. Timing is important.”
Underwood seems to have the magic touch with duets, so it’s no surprise people are clamoring to collaborate. But even the biggest stars have found it hard to get a “yes” from her.
In 2020, for instance, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley pleaded with her on social media to collaborate on a song. In a since-deleted Instagram video, the popular duo asked Underwood to collaborate with them — but got shot down.
They said, “Whether you know it or not, we are huge fans of you and we have always wanted to do a song with you. We think it would be a massive collaboration. We’d love to send it to you, but we don’t have your email or your phone number, so we’re just gonna play a little of the song.”
Though Underwood never addressed their request publicly, the pair told CMT Top 20 Countdown in April 2020 that she had turned them down, saying it was an “amazing” song but she was just too busy.
“No, we got turned down on that one,” Hubbard said. “You don’t win ’em all. I guess she didn’t love it as much as we did, but that’s alright.”
Though she didn’t name names, Underwood did tell Helton in September that some of the people who submit requests for a collaboration shock her.
“Sometimes I don’t get why they would ask me. I don’t make any sense with that person,” she said. “But it’s all good. I feel like it’s a compliment.”
Underwood Strikes Gold With Duets She Does Record
Every now and then, Underwood does say “yes” to collaborations — and they’re almost always huge successes. Her most recent duet, “If I Didn’t Love You” with country star Jason Aldean, has been a mega-hit in country music.
When Aldean first heard the song, he immediately imagined it as a duet with Underwood. At a party in April to celebrate the song’s success, CMT reported that Aldean told the crowd how excited he was when she agreed to record it with him.
“I remember sending it to Carrie and she wanted to hear a version of it with my voice on it,” he said. “So I ran into the studio and threw a vocal on it, sent it back, and was like, ‘OK, now what do you think?’”
Aldean said they were in the studio recording it within a week, adding, “From the moment she came in and started singing on it, me and (my producer) were like, ‘Holy (moly), this is going to be good. We thought it was going to be good, but this is going to be pretty special,’” he said. “I think this will go down as one of the biggest duets in country music. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”
Underwood told Helton that she’ll incorporate the chart-topping duet into her upcoming concert tour.
“We shot some video, and we’ll have him on the screen.” she said. “It wouldn’t be the same if I just sang. You can do that with some duets, but it wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Other country duets Underwood has agreed to do that topped the charts include “Remind Me” with Brad Paisley in 2011, “Something Bad” with Miranda Lambert in 2014, and “The Fighter” with Keith Urban in 2017. She’s also recorded duets outside of country music, like a rendition of “Hallelujah” with John Legend on her 2020 holiday album. She has also performed many live duets during award shows and special concerts.