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Carrie on, Ms. Underwood

Country star gearing up to host CMA awards, star in live TV version of The Sound of Music

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FRANK MICELOTTA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

NEW YORK -- The end of the year looks busy for Carrie Underwood, and she couldn't be happier.

The six-time Grammy-winning singer will host the Country Music Association Awards for the sixth time. You can see her every week singing the opening to NBC's Sunday Night Football. And for one night in December, she will star in a live television version of The Sound of Music.

The 30-year-old star told the Associated Press Tuesday night on the red carpet of the TJ Martell Foundation gala, where she was one of the night's honorees, that she nervous doing something she's never done before. But then she realized, "None of us have. This is a live show on TV. So this is definitely a challenge for all of us."

She equated the live singing and acting as "going to a Broadway show, but you're in your living room."

The Sound of Music airs Dec. 5 on NBC with Underwood playing Maria alongside True Blood vampire Stephen Moyer. He portrays Captain von Trapp. Broadway veterans -- and Tony winners -- Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle round out the cast as Mother Abbess, Elsa, and Max, respectively.

While the Nashville-based Underwood is no stranger to performing before millions of people on live television -- she won the fourth season of American Idol -- she felt she needed more preparation, so she showed up in New York three weeks early.

"I wanted to be here and have all my lines memorized and everything and be ready for it. It's been really wonderful," Underwood said. "Audra and Laura are incredible. Stephen's great. It's nice to be surrounded by that much talent."

Before doing that show, the multi-platinum selling artist returns to her hosting duties on the CMAs. She's also nominated for three awards. While she and co-host Brad Paisley have got it down to a science, she doesn't see the experience as old hat.

"You never know what's going to happen with us hosting," Underwood joked, referring to her and Paisley.

She added: "I think being nominated -- especially when hosting the CMAs -- you just never know."

The CMAs take place Nov. 6 in Nashville.

Underwood also spoke of recording the opening number this season for Sunday Night Football on NBC. She claims doing it was a no-brainer.

"It's a lot of fun. I grew up watching football. I'm from Oklahoma, it's what we do," she said with a big smile.

The conversation then turned to hockey and her husband Mike Fisher's team, the Nashville Predators.

"They got off to a little bit of rocky start, but definitely getting some momentum. I feel like my husband right now. I know what he feels like now. I feel there's some really great, new young talent," Underwood said.

And what about the team's star centre?

"My hubby, he's been out for the past couple of games with a foot fracture thing. But he'll be back on the ice, ASAP. I hope he does, because that's the only way I get to see him, other than iChat."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 24, 2013 C14

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