Following last night’s competition, one of two vocalists — David Archuleta or David Cook — will be named this year’s winner of "American Idol." As much of a ratings bonanza as the show has been, there’s one man who hasn’t paid much attention: Rodney Atkins.See Also:
"I remember when I met Carrie Underwood the first time at St. Jude Hospital," Rodney recalls. "I was sittin’ there, and they came up and introduced me — and I don’t think she even had a single released yet — and introduced me to Carrie, ‘Nice to meet you,’ and I walked off and said, ‘She seemed like a nice girl. I wonder where she’s from.’ They said, ‘Dude, she won "American Idol." You don’t know that?’"
Rodney is now quite familiar with Carrie, whose trajectory to stardom was completely different from Rodney. He moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s and had to wait more than a decade for his career to take off, while Carrie went to school for journalism and only became an artist after entering — and winning — "Idol."
From Rodney’s viewpoint, that probably has made fame a bigger adjustment for Carrie than it has been for him.
"For her, it was tougher, ‘cause there is no curve," he notes. "You go from zero to 190, and yeah, there’s moments that I thought I was losin’ my mind. You’d go for two weeks with an hour’s sleep, but I had kinda time to lean into it."
Because his career was unfruitful for so long, Rodney had a lot of economic trauma, but he’s not the least bit bothered by the fact that he had to wait to start having hits.
"It’d been nice to have success before I had two girls gettin’ ready to go to college and a little boy," he reflects. But he wasn’t touring and that allowed him "to be home. The way it worked out was perfect. I mean, I was there for the first three, four years, created a bond with my son that there’s no possbile way I could have if I was gone. No matter how people wanna think, that’s hard. The family, we built a strong relationship then. So for me personally, I think this is how it was supposed to work out."
Rodney might not be watching, but Carrie will be back on "Idol" tonight singing her current hit, "Last Name."
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