Country artists get the chance to recognize the music that shaped their lives with CMT All-Time Top 40: Artist’s Choice . Beginning Saturday (March 15), the countdown of influential artists will be revealed one by one each week on CMT Hot 20 Countdown , starting with No. 40 and concluding with No. 1 in December.
Each influential musician or band will be ranked based on an artist poll conducted by CMT among the biggest stars in country music. The ballot isn’t limited to just country artists, so over the course of 2014, CMT All-Time Top 40 will highlight artists from all genres that influence country’s biggest names.
“Listening to her sing and just her songs that she’s had, she just knows how to bring a song alive with her voice,” said Bradbery about Underwood and her soaring vocals. “I think that’s why I love her so much, because when she puts her mind to a song she just makes it something totally magical.”
“I always like watching Carrie Underwood’s videos,” teased Lynch. “Let’s be honest, she’s beautiful. But Carrie came along and now is our female of the genre, and I think she had a really big hand in broadening the country music audience to what it is now. And that does all kinds of good things for everyone else in country music.”
Fellow American Idol champ McCreery wanted people to know Underwood’s success stems from her own hard work.
“The thing about them that people learned is Idol and the TV shows, they don’t give you a career, they give you a platform,” he explained. “[She and Kelly Clarkson] were the ones that really took that and ran with it and really worked hard and made a career out of that platform. … That’s the goal, and they kind of laid that ground work and paved the way for us.”
Likewise, Aliana looks at Underwood as an inspiration.
“I look up to Carrie Underwood so much on so many different levels,” she admitted. “She’s strong in her faith, she’s never done anything bad that people are like, ‘Oh I can’t believe she did that.’ She’s really somebody [who's] easy to look up to.”
But more than that, Aliana believes Underwood will go down in history as a true icon.
“She gets up on that stage with those legs and all the men are drooling and all the women want to be her — including me. I think that she’s gonna be around forever. and people 50 years from now are still going to be like, ‘Do you remember Carrie Underwood?’ … And I guarantee you her music will still be popular then. It will be like Dolly‘s, Loretta‘s and Patsy‘s, all of the women who have stood the test of time and are still amazing and remembered.”
Tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown to check out the rest of the list as country stars count down the CMT All-Time Top 40: Artist’s Choice .