Kellie Pickler, a country music artist, first rocketed to fame by finishing sixth on the fifth season of "American Idol." Simon Cowell once stated that he preferred Pickler to Carrie Underwood, season four's winner.
The former waitress and Miss North Carolina contestant charmed American audiences with her Southern twang and blonde ambition, which resulted in a record deal with BNA Records that yielded her 2006 debut album, Small Town Girl.
In 2008, her eponymous sophomore album spawned her first Top Ten single on the Billboard Country chart, "Best Days of Your Life," which she co-wrote with friend and superstar Taylor Swift. Her third album, the Frank Liddell-produced 100 Proof, appeared late in 2011.
That album was followed by 2013's The Woman I Am, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Pickler competed in Season 16 of "Dancing with the Stars" with partner Derek Hough in 2013, which they went on to win.
In 2016, Pickler had the honor of being inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, which includes musical artists such as Earl Scruggs, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Nina Simone, Doc Watson, Ben Folds, The Avett Brothers and Eric Church.
In 2017, Pickler started co-hosting the nationally syndicated daytime talk show "Pickler & Ben" with comedian Ben Aaron. On September 4, 2012, Pickler shaved her head on Good Morning America to show support for her childhood best friend, Summer Holt Miller, who was about to undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Pickler is also an active philanthropist. She actively supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where she helps raise funds and gives kids special visits. On June 26, 2016, Pickler and her team won $25,000 for the United Service Organizations (USO) on "Celebrity Family Feud.
" Pickler has been known to give performances to raise money for causes close to her heart, such as to help refurbish the Hurricane Katrina-damaged NFL Youth Education Towns Boys & Girls Club of New Orleans and to benefit the North Carolina Children's Hospital.
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