Carrie Underwood is getting ready to hit the road with her two dogs, who will accompany her on a fall tour to promote her new studio album, "Blown Away," which was released on Tuesday, May 1.
The 29-year-old Grammy-winning country star told ABC News that the pups, Ace and Penny, go with her everywhere, adding: "I couldn't imagine not having that little piece of home with me everywhere I go."
Her comments reflect her rural upbringing, which was widely publicized during "American Idol," the show that launched her to international fame. The season 4 winner is nowadays praised for her classy looks on red carpets as well as for her songs but was originally portrayed as a naive country girl during her first on-air audition for the FOX singing contest show.
"I'm glad I can present a polished version of myself when it counts," Underwood told the Associated Press. "When I was on 'Idol,' I said some dumb stuff, and learned what that could do, and that stuff lives on. "It seemed like every single solitary stupid thing I said was aired and featured and replayed over and over and over again."
Like many reality programs, "American Idol" turns its prominent contestants into "characters" to make them more memorable. The blonde Oklahoma native's first on-air audition for "American Idol" was filmed in 2004, when she was 21 and lived on a farm with her family. On the episode, which aired in January 2005, footage of her at her home was shown and the fact that she had never been on a plane was played up for audiences.
In a less edited version of her audition, which was released in the DVD "The Best of 'American Idol': Season 1-4" and in other show-branded specials, Underwood says shyly that judge Simon Cowell, who sits at a table in front of her, is "scary" and also talked about how she once played quarterback for a flag football team. Producers pass the judges information about the contestants before they audition for them.
Cowell then coaxes Underwood into talking about a more embarrassing tidbit - that she once had a third nipple.
"It really just looked like a mole," she says. "If I'd wear a two-piece bathing suit, they'd ask me what it was. I said it was a birthmark, because it was, but I kind of got a little self-conscious about it."
She then wowed the judges with her rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," which was shown on television.
"You did good," Cowell says in the unaired segment. "Tell me about your chicken thing you do. There are no secrets on this show, Carrie."
Underwood then clucked like a chicken.
"God, that was good," Cowell says.
The singer said on the show "American Idol Rewind" in 2008 that she was "definitely very nervous" about singing in front of the judges on the show. She has since gone on to perform in front of tens of thousands of people at concerts.
Underwood is set to perform in Nashville, Louisiana, London and Canada from May 12 to August 12 and plans to begin a new North American tour, beginning on September 14 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Check out Carrie Underwood's tour dates and score tickets on her website.
Watch music video for "Good Girl," the first single from her album "Blown Away," and her performance of another new song, "Cupid's Got a Shotgun" in Times Square in New York on ABC's "Good Morning America."