Carrie Underwood is one of the few American Idol alums who gets it. Kelly Clarkson gets it. Adam Lambert occasionally gets it. Taylor Hicks doesn't get it. Kellie Pickler doesn't get it, either. And that dude with the hair from the first season really doesn't get it. It's all about making smart choices and recording good songs after Idol viewers move on to the next round of hopefuls. While most former contestants have become industry puppets or misguided "artists," Underwood keeps turning out solid country songs. Her most recent album — last year's Play On — remains committed to her strengths. It embraces the heartland — even if its lyrics are a little bit hokey — and it's got hooks as big as Underwood's home state of Oklahoma.
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