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Originally published Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 9:35 AM

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Carrie Underwood stirs up musical tornado at KeyArena Saturday

Country music star and former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood brought her Blown Away Tour to KeyArena Saturday. Nearly 16,000 fans cheered her on.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Concert Review |

Nearly 16,000 died-hard Carrie Underwood fans packed Seattle's KeyArena Saturday to see the two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year walk away from a house ravaged by a tornado and onto the stage in a splendid blue couture dress.

Underwood, 29, has come a long way since winning the fourth season of American Idol. She kicked off the Seattle edition of her Blown Away Tour with "Good Girl," followed by "Undo It" then went right into "Wasted," featuring images on six large screens. But Underwood's devotees came simply to hear her familiar country radio hits.

The star led the audience in singing along on memorable songs such as "All American Girl," "Temporary Home" and the million-selling "Jesus Take the Wheel." Fans were even more thrilled when a section of the stage was hoisted into the air, where it hovered over the spectators, moving to the back of the arena so fans in the nose bleed section could get a closer view of Underwood in her daisy dukes.

She and three of her band mates played several cuts from her new CD, "Blown Away," including "Nobody Ever Told You," "Do You Think About Me" and "One Way Ticket," a party tune complete with oversize beach balls and confetti rain.

Safely back on land, Underwood launched into "Leave Love Alone" and was joined on stage by fellow CMA nominee "(for Best New Artist) Hunter Hayes, who opened the show.

Underwood kept the momentum going with Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion," proving she is one female country singer who can legitimately rock an arena. Underwood ended the show with her hit, "Before He Cheats." For an encore, she sang the title track from "Blown Away" — about a woman who deliberately leaves her man behind as a tornado strikes. As the storm struck the stage, blowing confetti debris into the crowd, Underwood took refuge in a cellar.

In his opening set, Hayes sang his hits "Wanted," "Storm Warning" and a cover of Bruno Mars' fabulous "Just The Way You Are." The 20-year old guitar slinger in his jeans and Converse shoes is riding a new frontier in country music.

Lou Lunden: lou@backtocountry.com

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