Latin Conference & Awards

Underwood Wins 4th 'Idol' Crown

The "country girl" prevailed tonight (May 25) as Carrie Underwood was named the "American Idol" at the conclusion of the Fox show's two-hour fourth season finale at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The

The "country girl" prevailed tonight (May 25) as Carrie Underwood was named the "American Idol" at the conclusion of the Fox show's two-hour fourth season finale at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 22-year-old Oklahoma native beat out "rocker" Bo Bice, taking in the most votes cast by viewers after Tuesday night's performance episode. She joins the ranks of previous winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino.

Underwood's win bucks the results of a recent Billboard.com poll, where readers picked Bice as the winner by a healthy margin.

As her prize, Underwood was awarded access to a private jet and a recording contract within the RCA Music Group, which has signed each of the previous winners. Fans can expect her first single, due June 14, to feature "Inside Your Heaven" and "Angels Brought Me Here," which she performed during Tuesday's show and again last night.

The singer also performed a duet with Bice on "Up Where We Belong" during tonight's show.

In the lead up to the show-closing revelation of the winner, the "Idol" finale was jammed with light-hearted and emotional looks back at the season through clips from auditions and competition. There were also live visits to packed arenas in Jefferson, Ala., and Muskogee, Okla., hosted by season three contestants La Toya London and Matt Rogers, respectively.

The episode featured an opening Beach Boys medley by the 10 other finalists. Kenny G, George Benson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Billy Preston collaborated during a lengthy medley with the finalists, as did country outfit Rascal Flatts, which performed its hit "Bless the Broken Road" with Underwood. Veteran Southern rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd joined Bice for "Sweet Home Alabama."

Now that season four has ended, Underwood will lead the top 10 finalists on the road during the now traditional "Idol" summer tour. Star-struck hopefuls can look ahead to the fifth season of "American Idol," with auditions slated to take place this summer in Austin, Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver and Boston.