When it comes to "American Idol" alumni success, there's really no one who comes close to Carrie Underwood. Yes, Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry have had chart-topping hits and Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, but Carrie is the definition of a superstar. From taking the country and pop industry by storm, being a fashion icon, making us laugh on her guest spot on "How I Met Your Mother" and having one of the most-talked about celebrity weddings of 2010, the former "AI" champ just dazzles.
So it's of no surprise that the Grammy-winning singer is conquering another part of the biz: movies! The inspiring biopic "Soul Surfer," which opens in theaters today, marks Carrie's film debut as Sarah Hill, the real-life youth counselor who befriended the amazing surfer/survivor Bethany Hamilton (played by AnnaSophia Robb).
In honor of Carrie's transition to the silver screen, we wanted to look back at other pop stars who have made the switch from the radio to the big screen. After the jump check out our list of memorable acting debuts (some more successful than others) from some of your favorite singers.
Usher in "The Faculty" (1998)
Before he was Justin Bieber's mentor and had us all singing "OMG," Usher was already a major R&B star by the late 90's. Which is exactly when he joined the cast of the 1998 high school horror comedy "The Faculty," which also starred the likes of Elijah Wood and Salma Hayek. Usher played a student whose teachers were, well, turning into something scarier than homework. He popped up in more teen-friendly movies like "She's All That" and "In the Mix" (both of which he played a DJ!) but never really became a full-on movie star. Luckily that whole music thing seemed to work out just fine.
Britney Spears in "Crossroads" (2002)
It was at the height of Britney Spears' fame that she decided to give movies a whirl. By 2002 she'd already had tons of smash hits and was ruling "TRL" on a daily basis, so it only made sense for the pop phenom to see if she could be a box office smash too. Unfortunately, Brit's acting chops weren't quite what fans had hoped they would be in the road trip dramedy, "Crossroads," in which she played a young girl looking for her mother (Kim Cattrall). While the soundtrack did give us "Overprotected," "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Women" and her cover of "I Love Rock 'N Roll," the flick flopped and Britney has stayed far away from the big screen since. She did, however, find some success as a television actress, when she did a two-episode stint on "How I Met Your Mother" in 2008.
Mandy Moore in "The Princess Diaries" (2001)
Sometimes it's hard to remember that Mandy Moore started out as a pop star. With starring roles in flicks like "A Walk To Remember," "Saved!" and most recently, "Tangled," Mandy is a bona fide movie star. After minor pop hits like "Candy," Mandy joined Anne Hathaway on the big screen for the 2001 comedy fantasy "The Princess Diaries," in which she played a classmate of Anne's. But, much like her music career, Mandy's movie career has continued to evolve.
Justin Timberlake in "Alpha Dog" (2006)
Like Mandy, Justin Timberlake may actually become an even bigger movie star than a pop star (which would be quite a feat, considering he was mega-successful in 'NSYNC and as a solo artist). While JT had some minor parts before, he had his first real big screen role in 2006's crime drama "Alpha Dog." Justin held his own with other more established stars like Bruce Willis and Emile Hirsch in a story about friends involved in a kidnapping and murder, but he didn't really start to show his acting talents until his breakout work in 2010's Oscar-winner "The Social Network." While we can't wait for Justin's next album (whenever that may be) we're equally excited for his next movies, including this summer's "Friends With Benefits."
Taylor Swift in "Valentine's Day" (2009)
Rather than attempt to carry her very first movie all on her own, chart-topping superstar Taylor Swift joined the all-star ensemble in 2009's critically panned comedy "Valentine's Day." The romantic flick starred a bevvy of famous folks, including Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx and the "Love Story" singer's future boyfriend Taylor Lautner. In fact, she and Taylor, who played lovebirds on-screen, earned a 2010 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss! For Ms. Swift's next flick, we'll only hear her trademark voice, as she'll lend her talents to the 2012 animated movie "The Lorax" with Zac Efron!
Christina Aguilera in "Burlesque"
Before making her own big screen debut, Christina Aguilera had already made her mark on the movie industry. She was, after all, part of the "Moulin Rouge!" powerhouse that included Pink, Lil' Kim and Mya and their single "Lady Marmalade." While XTina didn't exactly leave her singing roots behind in the campy 2010 musical "Burlesque," in which she played, well, a showy singer with killer pipes, she did star alongside one of the ultimate singer-turned-actresses, Cher!
Which pop star's movie debut do you like the best, Crushers? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter!