Cheerleading Worlds week is upon us, and if you are familiar with the sport, you will know that all-star squads work tirelessly from year to year for a chance to 1) get a full paid bid to compete (it’s an expensive sport!), 2) make it through the first day of the competition (Top 10 in each division), and 3) take home the coveted gold medal and be declared the best cheerleaders in the world.
In order to ultimately win the title, teams must hit flawless two and a half minute routines, filled with high flying, fast flipping, body flinging, synchronized jumping, and high energy dancing. Then they can collapse off the floor and gasp for air when all of that is over.
Some of our favorite female country artists have been there, done that. Perhaps not on the Worlds level, but they have certainly felt what it is like to be a part of a team of talented girls who want nothing more than to be recognized as true athletes.
Did you know that the following female superstars were once sideline sweethearts?
(Listed alphabetically by first name)
1. Carrie Underwood
Before she was singing of the “All-American Girl,” she was the All-American girl. Carrie Underwood was once a cheerleader back in her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma. Perhaps that is why she pulled off this music video like an old pro.
2. Cassadee Pope
That high flyer pulling a scorpion is none other than Big Machine artist, Cassadee Pope. Prior to becoming The Voice, Cassadee lent her cheering voice to Wellington High School in South Florida. As a freshman, Cassadee even got to cheer alongside her big sister, and rumor has it she was quite the little athlete!
3. Hayden Panettiere
Hayden Panettiere is widely known for her Nashville fame, but before she was on our televisions every Wednesday night and filming around Music City, she was a cheerleader — in real life and on the small screen. Does the phrase “Save the cheerleader, save the world!” sound familiar?
4. Jamie Lynn Spears
Back before she was Zoey 101 or making her own music, Jamie Lynn Spears was a JV cheerleader at her private school, Park Lane Academy. Following in her big sister’s footsteps, Jamie Lynn soon went from living the quiet life of a Louisiana cheerleader to television and music fame.
5. Jessica Simpson
While Jessica Simpson’s attempt at a country music career was short-lived, her days of celebrity carry on. Before she hit the late 90s pop scene, proclaiming in musical perfection that she wants to love you forever, she was rooting for the Vikings in her Texas hometown.
6. Jessie James Decker
A cheerleader and a football player living together in holy matrimony? That is a fairytale for any young girl with a set of pom poms. Jessie James Decker is living the teenage dream, having retired her pleated skirt for stage attire and built a life with New York Jets Wide Receiver, Eric Decker.
7. Lauren Alaina
Nothing about Lauren Alaina being a cheerleader is surprising. She is one of the most energetic people around and rarely has anything less than a huge, beaming smile on her face. Look at that spirit in her American Idol days … she even chose her prize from Idol sponsor, Ford, in her school color.
Honorable Mentions: Deana Carter and Reba McEntire. We couldn’t find embarrassing photos of these two, but they couldn’t go without recognition!
BONUS: Country Music’s #CMchat also has a few former cheerleaders on its team. Check out the bonus photos from our personal yesteryears!
Jessica Northey (center) – She didn’t cheer for the Dallas Cowboys, but she couldn’t find her old photos in storage. Just look at that cheerleader spirit/pride on her face!
Jen Swirsky (front, center) – Cooper City High School Cowboys
Tiera Bolt (back, left, bouncy) – Downers Grove North Trojans
Good luck to all cheerleaders competing at Worlds 2015 in Orlando, Florida!