VANCOUVER — The masses couldn’t have picked a more worthy winner when they crowned Carrie Underwood as the 2005 American Idol.
In just five short years, the country starlet has not only lived up to her title but charged ahead full speed with it, thanks to her honest and catchy songs about one-night stands, Casanova cowboys and the bitter taste of heartbreak.
Underwood has chalked up an impressive Billboard legacy, which includes making the Top Artists of the Year Chart in 2009 and 2010, and the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Year Chart in 2005. And that’s only the beginning. Her resume also boasts numerous Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, People’s Choice Awards, CMT Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.
In short, she’s lapped every other American Idol in the success department except for Kelly Clarkson—and even then, she’s outdone Clarkson in album sales.
Maybe we should forget about dubbing her as an American Idol. Underwood, a blond charmer originally from Checotah, Okla., has become more of a World Idol than anything.
The 27-year-old Underwood proved she was fit for the international title at Rogers Arena Thursday night as she played to a packed crowd of plaid shirts and cowboy hats for nearly two hours.
Fans, ranging from eight-year-old kidlets to mother/daughter entourages to 20-something-year-old males, hopped about in excitement at the sight of the curly-haired songstress.
Some fans used the concert as an opportunity to bond with friends, singing along and taking photos of themselves as they documented their girls’ night out.
Underwood rose from a platform under the stage, lounging on a red velvet couch. She emerged wearing a glittering grey overcoat and with her brilliant blond locks pulled into a side ponytail.
She looked and sounded spectacular. Secretly, every woman in the building wished she were Underwood.
Cowboy Casanova, a track she co-wrote on her third release, 2009’s Play On, kicked off the show and got the crowd revved. “He’s a good time, cowboy Casanova / leaning up against the record machine / He looks like a cool drink of water / But he’s candy coated misery,” Underwood sang with a feisty, no-nonsense growl.
Like clockwork, female fans began dancing dangerously and punching the air in unison. Underwood may be sailing on superstardom, but her toes are still buried in the farmers’ fields back home. She could relate to every female in the audience, and whenever she locked eyes with fans they looked as though they were sharing giggles over late-night lounge drinks.
Underwood was backed by an eight-piece band, two jumbo screens on the side and some grey velvet curtains. Nothing fancy, but just enough frills to give her an air of class and sophistication.
“Good evening Vancouver! Thanks for being here,” she said with a twang.
“Tonight is about you. If you want to sing or dance or stomp your feet, please do so.”
Underwood went on to Quitter, another upbeat track from Play On.
Wasted was up next, a song that brought fans back to her 2005 record Some Hearts.
Underwood gave her Canadian fans a special treat when she changed the lyrics of All-American Girl to All-Canadian Girl. You can guess how loud things got every time she mentioned the country.
The show got glitzier as it rolled along, with Underwood changing into a number of glamourous dresses and shiny tank tops.
But the biggest spectacle was when she decided to float above the audience in a blue pickup truck as she sang. Talk about flying high.
Despite the airborne stunt, a number of mellow songs in a row caused the energy to take an unfortunate dip.
Thankfully, the ultra-feminine anthem Undo It brought the crowd back to life.
"I like a good sassy song," Underwood joked playfully afterwards.
Throughout the show, Underwood made it clear that she was born to entertain. For her, American Idol wasn’t just a reality television popularity contest to give her fifteen minutes of fame before a quick fade like so many other Idols.
She’s a talented songwriter, as her personal and revealing record Play On can attest to. She’s a gifted singer, who sent collective shivers down everyone’s spines as she held every end note. And let’s not forget, she’s a genuine all-American Girl.
As she sang Just A Dream from 2007’s Carnival Ride, she did so with heartbreaking honesty, embracing the audience with every lyric.
It may have been a song about loss, but Underwood’s smile assured us she won’t be leaving us anytime soon.