News Column

Carrie Underwood belts hits in a boot at STARS benefit

September 7, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 07--HIDALGO -- State Farm Arena buzzed with excitement Friday night ahead of country star Carrie Underwood's performance at the STARS Scholarship Fund Extravaganza.

"My little girl knows the lyrics to every one of her songs I think," said Mayra Gallegos, a Mission mom. "I like that her music has a good message."

Gallegos' daughter, 11-year-old Cynthia, agreed.

"She's really pretty, but also she talks about how we can be anything we want to be."

It's an apt topic for the headliner of the STARS Scholarship Extravaganza concert.

The concert benefitted the STARS Scholarship Fund, an area nonprofit supported by local and corporate donors and foundations. The group provides scholarships for students across the Texas-Mexico border region. Past headliners have included country music stars Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Lady Antebellum.

As the lights went down, the crowd fell into a hush that grew immediately into a roar as colored lights sparkled across the stage, lighting the artist perched on a stool center stage.

Underwood sat wearing a black top, slacks and a large medical boot, after she fell while on stage at a STARS performance in Corpus Christi on Thursday.

Fortunately, the injury did not appear to affect the country diva's voice, as she belted out the first few notes of "Good Girl" to raucous applause and shouts.

Afterward, she greeted the crowd with a megawatt smile and joked about her "choice" of footwear.

"We're so glad to be here... I'm sure you've noticed my fancy footwear. I fell on stage last night, and in eight years that has never happened, so I think that's pretty good." She laughed good-naturedly along with the crowd.

"But I promise that the rocking will not be in short supply tonight."

She made good on that when she followed up with her singles "Undo It," and the single off her most recent album, "Wasted." The crowd went wild when she stood and used the microphone stand to brace herself and dance as best she could from the waist up.

"I have the best band in the world. I told these guys back here they have to step up their dancing since I can't. ... I never could -- that's how I got this injury," she joked.

Underwood got her big break when she won the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Her career has continued to soar. Three of her four albums have hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 200 albums chart. To date, she has 18 No. 1 singles, including breakout hits like "Before He Cheats," "All-American Girl" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel."

The songwriter is no stranger to charity work. She has been a supporter of animal rights, arts education and several organizations for children, such as St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and Save the Children.

"She's so sweet, you can tell," McAllen resident Suzie Gomez said. "Like she's still one of us, you know?"

msmither@themonitor.com

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