Carrie Underwood reunited with “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson and shared the spotlight with an “Idol” hopeful Thursday night during her home-state performance at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“You all know how I got my start. I was but a college girl and didn't know what I was going to do with my life. So I decided to audition for 'American Idol,'” Underwood said, thanking the raucous Oklahoma City crowd for its support during her victorious 2005 run on the reality TV show.
The Checotah native then surprised the audience by introducing Jackson, who was welcomed to the stage with earsplitting screams. Although Underwood blithely declared he “happened to be passing through,” he was actually conducting an audition as part of the show's new “Nominate an Idol” option.
“Nominate an Idol” allows family and friends to secretly submit an online form and video of their candidate singing a cappella. Chosen candidates are surprised on location by a film crew and given the chance to advance to the next round of auditions.
When Jackson called Danielle Castleman,18, of Sellersburg, Ind., to the stage, she was floored.
“I was nominated by a friend to be on the show and 'American Idol' contacted my family to set up a surprise to get me flown out for the event,” Castleman said in an interview via Twitter after the concert.
“I was completely surprised and knew nothing about it until Randy Jackson called my name out.”
Castleman's family led her to believe that the trip to Underwood's Oklahoma City concert was actually a surprise for one of her mother's friends.
“I thought this whole trip was for her and I was just along for the ride,” Castleman said.
Instead, the teenager ended up singing the superstar's smash “All-American Girl” on stage as Underwood, Jackson and thousands of fans looked on and listened intently.
“I but she's not nervous at all,” quipped Underwood, who grinned broadly as Castleman began an impressive rendition of the upbeat anthem.
The fans clapped along, until the hopeful nailed the soaring chorus, then they burst into approving cheers.
“That was awesome,” Underwood said. “I gotta go. She can finish the show.”
Jackson added, “I think you've got what it takes to come and sing in front of me and my co-judges” and presented her with an “Idol” contestant number.
Castleman said she will return to Oklahoma City for the November “Idol” auditions.
In the meantime, she got to meet backstage the singer Jackson called “the greatest 'American Idol' to date.”
"Thank God even crazy dreams come true." Castleman posted on Twitter, quoting the lyrics of Underwood's song “Crazy Dreams.” “Thank you for this opportunity!”