Carrie Underwood, “Praying For Time”

Last year, the first Idols Give Back special found Carrie Underwood transforming the Pretenders classic “I’ll Stand By You” into an immaculate country ballad. This year, she reinvents the George Michael smash “Praying For Time.”

This charity single was performed live on the show, and it’s a tribute to Underwood’s vocal prowess that it sounds good enough to be a studio recording. Her ambitious reworking of the song differs so much from the original that it’s like hearing it for the first time all over again. She sings with clarity and conviction. It’s a refreshing contrast to most of the pap on country radio, and like “I’ll Stand By You” before it, shows that her talent is deeper than most of her conventional music suggests.

Nearly two decades after its initial release, “Praying For Time” is as timely and relevant as it’s ever been. Underwood’s rich reading of such powerful lyrics proves she can sing socially conscious music just as well as the power ballads and rave-ups that she’s been most known for so far.

Written by George Michael & R. Phillips

Grade: A

Buy: Praying For Time


  1. It’s impossible to say that Carrie doesn’t have a beautiful voice, but I’m not crazy about this performance. Part of the reason is that I didn’t know the George Michael song before and I had a hard time understanding Carrie. That takes away from the song, because the lyrics (once I looked them up) are key to the emotion of this song. The melody alone isn’t particularly catchy and because I can’t understand her my mind tends to wander while she’s singing. The other reason is that Carrie’s emotion never feels real to me – even here. I can’t explain that. She knows what emotion she should convey, I just never feel like it’s real. Maybe that will change as she gets older and has more life experiences under her belt.

  2. I absolutely love this. I bought it on iTunes and keep playing it over and over. Carrie gives a fantastic performance. This does remind me though of when Taylor Swift covered a George Michael/Wham Christmas song and got blasted by a lot of people for it. To me, a good song is a good song.

  3. Lynn? just face it, there’s nothing Carrie Underwood will ever do that you will like. You don’t like her and that’s that. There are some artists out there that I am the same way with but Carrie’s emotion is the real deal. You should’ve caught her last night when she lost it performing Don’t Forget To Remember Me! That was about the sweetest raw emotion I’ve ever witnessed at a concert. No, there’s nothing “fake” about that girl! And no, it was no “breakdown”. It was simply the emotion of the moment got to her a bit. The last weekend of her first headlining tour et al. Even choked up this old fart and everyone knows I don’t have a heart! ;-)

    Last night was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in awhile. I absolutely love Urban’s guitar licks and adore Ms. Underwood. I’ve been to a few concerts in my day and I’d rate that one up in the top ten. To those that don’t believe Carrie can perform (like your review of her Lynn) I will totally disagree. My concert experiences have ranged from seeing The Beatles to front row Led Zepplin to Waylon & Willie to them again with Jesse Colter to Hank, Jr to ZZ Top to The Brothas to Wet Willie to Skynyrd to David Allan Coe to Marshal Tucker to the Doobie Brothers to Chicago to Mickey Gilley to everything inbetween. 100s of concerts in all genres. I’ve shuffled to The Platters, jammed out to Creedence, and even caught Joplin. Not too mention Reba, Faith, Dolly, Alison Kraus, etc., etc. I’d rate Carrie right up with all of them live. The girl can wail! I am really enjoying watching the growth of a great young lady with a wondrous voice into a full fledged entertainer. She’s got a way to go but has progressed so much since I saw her last over a year ago. That one is a quick study and making great strides. She’s still shy but not nearly as quiet as before. I honestly felt she’s more comfortable in her own skin this time. And a pretty skin it is! :-o

    What can you say about Urban other than he’s probably officially kicked the Country traces? Man, I felt like I was at a young Springsteen concert. The boy can jam and I can’t remember the last time I had such a blast. It was good for my Lovely Bride and I to get out and still realize we’re alive! Nothing like snuggling up with your favortie Lady while a Keith Urban seranades her. Still hot after 30 somethin’ years! Thanks Keith for that! ;-)

  4. once again kevin i have to agree with ya, its a fantastic song already, but i loved the way she almost slowed it down just a bit and let it roll….a great performance all around

    and jarheaded i have to agree with your concert review

    keith and carrie is one of the best complete live shows i’ve ever been to, and even though im young its been quite a few
    from begining to end that show was a blast!

  5. I agree with JarheadDad. I am retired military guy. I have seen lots of bad things in my life. I sat there watching this performance with my 7 y/o granddaughter and my wife. Well, they both were crying, and I must admit she made me a little misty……LOL. I certainly felt her emotion. I could easily hear the lyrics. If you want to try and have trouble hearing the lyrics then listen to the George Michael version. Nobody likes every artist. I like most and my tastes run from classical to pop to country to rock, and beyond. Carrie Underwood is quite talented.

  6. I’ve heard a lot of emotional performances in my life, but few have moved me like Carrie’s performance of that song. She has a voice that can fit any kind of music with ease. She made me feel every emotion she was feeling. I absolutely loved it. The American Idol voters sure got it right the year they voted for her. She is amazing. For the person who said her emotion was fake: she said she had to sing the song 3 or 4 times before the show so she could sing it without crying. So you are very wrong. She felt the emotion and made the rest of us feel it as well.

  7. I loved George Michael’s rendition 20 years ago and I loved Carrie Underwood’s on Idol Gives Back. She was outstanding. George Michael needs a comeback!

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