Editor's note: Watch the Carrie Underwood interview on the new episode of CMT Insider airing Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 10-11) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
Carrie Underwood's whirlwind career carried her back to Oklahoma last month for a stop on the superstar's Blown Away tour. CMT Insider host Katie Cook caught up with her backstage prior to the show to talk about the tour, as well as the best-selling new album, Blown Away.
"I'm really proud of this album, and I feel like everybody involved went above and beyond anything that we'd ever done before, so I'm very proud that we all stretched ourselves artistically and really had fun with it," Underwood said. "I sing songs that I love, first and foremost, and sing songs that I would want to turn up on the radio if they came on. So that's what we go for and then see where that takes us."
In this exclusive interview, Underwood chats about her hometown crowd, her favorite parts of the show and her wild, windswept hair.
CMT: To be here in your home state, does that create more nerves or just excitement?
Underwood: I think I'm more nervous in my hometown areas because there are a lot more people in the audience that I know. And I always say that I could perform in front of a billion people that I don't know, but get five people in the audience that I do know, and I get nervous.
Do you ever make eye contact with people in the audience and think, "Oh, I went to school with you. ... Wait, what's my line?"
If I ever notice them, it's kind of all over. If I catch my mom out grinning at me, the magic is gone for me, so I try to not look too much for people [that I know].
So you're suspended above the audience again in this show, I think even higher than last year when you were in the truck over the audience. I assume you're not afraid of heights.
It doesn't bother me, to be honest, and my whole thought process behind it is that I want every single person in the audience to have a great seat. If I were going to a concert when I was growing up or back when I was living here in Oklahoma, I probably wouldn't have been one of the fortunate ones to have one of the seats on the floor. I would have been up high in the back.
I want people back there to feel like they had an amazing show, too, and I love to see people. ... I'll see like 7-year-old or 10-year-old little girls waving their little hearts out, and I get to make eye contact and wave back at them. They know I'm waving back at them, and to see them freak out afterwards is fun for me.
What part of the show is most exciting for you to see the crowd's reaction?
When we fly is so much fun, and like I said, just being able to see people I haven't really gotten to see during the show prior to that moment. ... We have the best seat in the house, I always say, because I get to watch them.
During the live performance of "Blown Away," there's actually a tornado on the stage. How fun is that?
It's really cool. When we were first trying to think of what we were going to do, that idea came up, and I was like, "Wait. That's possible?" And they were showing us these videos of this thing that they had created, this tornado they had created. I don't really know what's happening behind me when I'm standing in front of it, but most of the time I find people watching us, staring at us, like, "What is happening right now?" And then the second the song's over, it's like they snap out of the trance they were just in and everybody just screams really loud. So it's really cool. It's definitely a cool moment for me.
There's a lot of wind in general. What's your hair like at the end of the show? Could you possibly get a brush through it?
Terrible. It's pretty awful. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes I yell at my hair. I'm back in the back of my bus yelling at my hair.
The staging seems a lot more elaborate this time around. Describe it for us.
We have a lot more moving parts onstage. The band risers move. We have giant, gorgeous screens that move and help create environments so it will look like we're standing in a room. It looks really cool, and I love seeing fan pictures afterwards when they tweet them. I know what they're looking at. It's complicated, but it's beautiful.
You told me once you're the last person to run out and have the latest gadgets.
I'm not at all.
Well, these are kind of giant concert gadgets.
Yeah, that's different, though. I always like to say we're not putting on a show, we're not doing a concert. It should be an experience. People should come and not just hear things. People should see really amazing things, too. More than anything, I want to give people their money's worth. I want them to leave saying, "I would like to go back and see another one."