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Carrie Underwood steals the show

LP Field, Nashnville, June 8, 2007

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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Carrie Underwood wasn't the headliner at Friday's CMA Music Festival show, but she managed to rise above the other acts during a 25-minute set. Underwood performed hits from her supersmash debut album, "Some Hearts," and then was presented with a 6-time platinum plaque from SonyBMG Records Nashville executive Joe Galante during the nearly 4-hour show.

It was also announced that a crowd of 160,000 attended the festival, setting a new record.

Underwood showed her versatility with songs ranging from the ballad "Jesus Take The Wheel" to the vengeful "Before He Cheats." Surprisingly, she closed the show with the autobiographical "I Ain't In Checotah Anymore," a song that wasn't released as a single.

Underwood took part in a lineup that featured headliners Sugarland and Little Big Town along with Jason Aldean, Montgomery Gentry, Sara Evans and Bucky Covington.

Sugarland capped the evening with a 30-minute set that featured an energetic lead singer, Jennifer Nettles. She opened "Settlin'" by singing the opening verses of Pearl Jam's "Better Man." She also explained how "Baby Girl" related to her own life and dreams. "Down in Mississippi" and "Something More" also proved to be fan favorites.

Little Big Town excelled on its harmonies with their first hit, "Boondocks" being the highlight of the 25-minute show.

Aldean turned in a high-energy performance during a brief 20-minute set that featured rockin' country like "Hick Town" and current single "Johnny Cash."

Evans also played a 20-minute set, highlighted by her new single "As If" and the sing-along favorite, "Suds in the Bucket."

Montgomery Gentry played early in the show for about 30 minutes and received a special visit from rocker Ted Nugent, who was in Nashville to play the Ryman Auditorium. The duo joined Nugent on his signature song, "Cat Scratch Fever." Eddie Montgomery sang the ballad "Lucky Man" and changed the 'Bengals' to 'Titans.'

Covington kicked off the show, but only played two songs, "Good to Be Us" and "A Different World."