OFFSTAGE: Love Lessons From Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

There’s talk today of units sold and records beat. It has something to do with Kelly Clarkson’s hit song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” surpassing Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” in terms of post American Idol sales. (“Stronger” has sold 3,510,000 singles as of July 4, and before that, “Cheats” held that top sales slot with 3,509,000 copies.) But when you strip away the numbers, here’s what this really means to me: People love songs about strong women. Even without a Louisville Slugger in my hand, I feel empowered by both of these songs. There was a time when songs about getting rid of the bastards in your life (“A Broken Wing” comes to mind) were much more metaphorical. But I think now, what Clarkson and Underwood have both done with these songs is make women feel bold enough to literally stand up, do what’s right for them and not take any kind of abuse. So in a way, these are love songs for women who love themselves enough to move on. You go, girls.