ATLANTIC CITY— It was only for a moment, but Carrie Underwood was upstaged in Atlantic City Friday night.
Standing on a floating platform high above the sold-out crowd at Boardwalk Hall, Underwood was singing her hit “Do You Think About Me,” when a fan below her decided to pull out an engagement ring and pop the question.
Underwood, known for her interaction with fans, didn’t miss the moment — and stopped mid-song.
“Are you proposing right now?” Underwood asked.
The hall suddenly erupted into cheers.
“Say yes!” she shouted.
To more cheers from the crowd, the woman did say yes. An emotional Underwood tried to continue singing, but became so choked up that she had to stop.
“How do I top that?” she said, wiping away tears. Some might say with that comment, she had.
Underwood came to Boardwalk Hall Friday night as part of her “Blown Away” world tour, in support of her album of the same name that was released last spring. From the moment the country star stepped on stage, wearing a shimmering navy blue mini dress and gold stilettos and belting her hit “Good Girl,” she made the stage her own.
Underwood first rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of “American Idol,” and she is one of the very, very few who managed to move beyond the show and find major success. Millions of albums and several Grammy Awards later, Underwood is now a true country star in her own right — and, finally, she knows it.
“I always loved to sing,” Underwood told the crowd mid-way through the show. “I just didn’t know how I’d end up doing it.”
Underwood has come a long way since she first performed for a much smaller Atlantic City audience back in 2007. Gone was the awkward audience banter and seemingly nervous crowd interaction. This Carrie Underwood, backed by a solid 8-piece band, commanded an arena.
Poised and confident, her powerhouse vocals stood on their own. There was no dancing, or any choreography for that matter. She didn’t need any.
The tour is an impressive light and sound spectacle that opened with a moving house (hiding Underwood inside) on a large, floating platform that soared across the arena and served as a sort of mini-concert within the show. This show is by far her biggest, and she wears it well.
Underwood touched on all of her big hits, including “Wasted,” “Jesus Take the Wheel,” her cover of “I Told You So,” and her latest Billboard hits “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs.” She also took time to flex some songwriting chops, singing an emotional and moving ballad she wrote called “Temporary Home.”
Underwood also makes an effort to give back. Since September, Underwood’s “Blown Away” tour has been donating $1 from every ticket sold to the Red Cross. But on Friday, Underwood took time to address the crowd with a special message during the first major event held in the city since Superstorm Sandy devastated the region.
“We’re so glad to be here, and even more glad to be here this evening,” Underwood told the crowd. “You know, after something like this, you wonder whether the show should go on. We thought, this building was still here, so it must be here for a reason.”
She stressed the evening would be about giving back.
“I wouldn’t feel right making any money off of tonight’s show,” Underwood said. “So anything I make is going right back into the community here.”
Opening for Underwood was Hunter Hayes, a young, breakout country star who recently took home the Country Music award for 2012 New Artists of the Year. Hayes proved he has the crossover appeal that makes Underwood so popular with his piano rendition of “Wanted,” and his cover of “Just the Way You Are.” He also joined Underwood on stage to sing her new single “Leave Love Alone.”
Hayes also took time to let the audience know he was thinking of those affected by the storm.
“I want you all to know you’re in our thoughts and prayers,” he said.