Carrie Underwood Charms at Global Citizen Fest

Carrie Underwood

With such a diverse blend of music in the Global Citizen Festival lineup, there had to be some country. Even non-country fans seemed excited to see Carrie Underwood strut onstage, the mom-to-be looking chic in a black minidress. The 2005 American Idol winner has taken her success and run with it straight to top of the charts. With powerful vocal abilities and a confident stage presence, she belted out all of her greatest hits on Saturday night.

Carrie Underwood’s setlist at the Global Citizen Festival included “Good Girl,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Wasted,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Undo It,” “Cowboy Casanova,” “See You Again,” “Everybody Hurts (R.E.M. cover)” “Last Name,” “Blown Away,” and “Before He Cheats.” Her cover of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” was a cool digression from her all-American, apple pie and whiskey hits, though she definitely brought her own country flair to it.

A few of the songs were a little corny for my taste, like “Cowboy Casanova,” which is one of those twangy, bad-boy-heartbreaker tunes that I just can’t get into for some reason. But what do I know? It’s certified 2x platinum, and she performed it very well. The only thing about the show that really fell short was the visual element. Some of the background video was very cheesy, such as the excessively shiny, car commercial close-ups of a Cadillac in “Two Black Cadillacs,” which, I’m sorry to say, even showed off a vanity plate with her name and the song title squeezed onto it. On songs that didn’t surround an obvious prop, they resorted to time lapses of flowers blooming and light bulbs bursting. It was like they just completely ran out of ideas. If you’re trying to sell country to a crowd that includes a huge number of Jay Z fans, blossoming pink flowers are probably not going to do it.

It is unfortunate that the video cheapened the performance a bit, because she really does have an incredible voice. One thing she has also maintained since her American Idol stardom is her lovable, girl-next-door persona. She may not be singing about any wildly new concepts. But the fact that her music is simple and relatable to the average chick works perfectly with that just-an-ordinary-girl-following-my-dreams thing she does so well.