Thirteen years after shooting to fame on American Idol, Season 4 champion Carrie Underwood returned to the singing competition on Sunday night to deliver a soaring rendition of her new single, “Cry Pretty.”
Underwood first unveiled the song before a live audience at the ACM awards in April, her first performance since her frightening accident last November that resulted in nearly 50 stitches to her face. The soulful rendition earned her a standing ovation from the audience, and her version on Idol packed just as much emotion.
In addition to singing, Underwood, 35, appeared on Idol as a guest mentor for the singing hopefuls. The contestants honored the star’s homecoming with versions of some of her biggest hits. Caleb Lee Hutchison sang “So Small” and Cade Foehner performed “Undo It,” but it was Gabby Barrett who brought down the house with a version of “Last Name” that stunned Luke Bryan.
“It’s like Carrie Underwood reincarnated,” the suitably impressed judge marveled.
The Top 5 joined Underwood onstage for a collaborative performance of “See You Again.”
Underwood is getting her life back on track after her devastating fall that left her with the facial injury and also a broken wrist.
On Friday the Grammy Award winner gave a rousing performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, to celebrate her 10-year anniversary since she became a member of the legendary concert hall.
As part of her set, the singer sang some of her hits including “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Cry Pretty” and “Temporary Home.” She also sang a Randy Travis classic, “An Old Pair of Shoes.”
To round out the night, Underwood was surprised by Travis himself onstage with a bouquet of flowers. It was a full circle moment as it was Travis who invited Underwood to join the institution during a show in March 2008.
Last week the mother of one released the music video for “Cry Pretty,” in which the star can be seen crying in the shower before making a triumphant return to the stage and handling the pressures of fame.
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She recently opened up to TODAY’s Hoda Kotb about the accident. “Plain and simple, it was just kind of a freak accident,” Underwood said. “I just fell. I just tripped taking my dogs out to do their business. It could happen to anybody.”
RELATED VIDEO: Carrie Underwood Breaks Wrist After A Fall: ‘I’ll Be Alright… Might Just Take Some Time’
She added, “I say if I would have fallen anywhere else, it wouldn’t have been a problem. There was one little step that I went to catch myself on and I missed.”