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Carrie Underwood makes surprise appearance on ‘Cobra Kai.’ How did that happen?

Seeing the superstar singer on the smash Netflix series was quite a kick for viewers who had no idea she would be part of the show.
/ Source: TODAY

From Ali and Terry Silver to Kumiko and Chozen, “Cobra Kai” is no stranger to bringing back key characters from the “Karate Kid” universe, but it’s a guest appearance from a superstar with no history with the show or movies that has people talking.

Carrie Underwood has a cameo in the ninth episode of the current fourth season of the hit Netflix show.

It’s an appearance that, like Johnny staring down an oncoming crane kick, no one saw coming. In the season’s sixth episode, the tournament’s board convenes to discuss how to spice up the competition and mentions a grand marshal or a musical performance, foreshadowing the Grammy winner’s cameo.

Fast forward a few episodes and there, in the flesh, is the "American Idol" winner doing her part to open the highly anticipated All Valley Karate Championship. We later learn her husband is a dental patient of one of the board members.

“I am so honored to be here,” she said after being introduced. “I didn’t see a lot of karate growing up in Oklahoma, but you guys know I love to compete, just like these wonderful young men and young women. One thing I have learned is that everyone gets their shot, their chance in the spotlight. Everyone gets their moment. This one’s yours.”

Carrie Underwood's appearance on "Cobra Kai" felt totally random, but she's actually a big fan of the series.
Carrie Underwood's appearance on "Cobra Kai" felt totally random, but she's actually a big fan of the series.Netflix

She then launches into her version of “The Moment of Truth,” a track recorded by Survivor used in the original “Karate Kid” movie.

The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is how exactly did Underwood wind up on the show? It turns out she’s a big fan.

“Just started watching ('Cobra Kai') on Netflix.’s kinda awesome!” she tweeted in August 2020.

“Be careful what you tweet about 'Cobra Kai' if you’re a celebrity because we immediately log it and think about the possibilities,” show co-creator Hayden Schlossberg told Entertainment Weekly.

“We knew that we wanted this year’s All Valley to be, like, the biggest All Valley ever, and we joked about the idea of there being that kind of Super Bowl halftime performer,” he said. The "Before He Cheats" singer “happens to sing the ‘Sunday Night Football’ song, so it made a lot of sense. We didn’t know if it was going to come together, but she really loved the show and it was a match made in heaven.”

Carrie Underwood and "Cobra Kai" star William Zabka are all smiles.
Carrie Underwood and "Cobra Kai" star William Zabka are all smiles.Netflix

“I grew up watching ‘Daniel’ and ‘Johnny,’ and I can’t believe I actually get to be a small part of the legacy that is ‘The Karate Kid,’” Underwood said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “Once I discovered 'Cobra Kai' a few years ago, it became one of my favorite shows! I had so much fun being on the set and singing such a classic song. I cannot wait to watch every new episode!”

Underwood's appearance wasn't only a surprise to viewers, either.

"We had all these extras there, hundreds of people,” executive producer and co-showrunner Jon Hurwitz told TVLine. “Nobody knew that Carrie Underwood was about to perform in front of this audience, so the reaction that you see on screen is the reaction. It was natural, which was, 'Holy s---, what the hell is going on here?'"

Underwood actually does have a connection with “Cobra Kai” stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka: All three appeared on “How I Met Your Mother.” Underwood was in one episode as a woman who strings along main character Ted, while Zabka appeared in multiple episodes as himself and Macchio guest-starred in one, as part of a recurring storyline about Barney’s interest in “The Karate Kid.”