Carrie Underwood is back in Toledo as a big star

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood

Almost two years ago, Carrie Underwood came to Toledo, hoping to show off her growth as an entertainer.

Prior to her sold-out show at the SeaGate Convention Centre, she told The Blade: "They can expect to see somebody who is a lot more comfortable on stage. People come up to me all the time and say, ‘I saw you a year ago, and it wasn't bad, but it's a lot better now.' I'm still learning and growing."

That growth has continued, and she'll return to Toledo Saturday for a sold-out show at the Huntington Center, 500 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Toledo, as one of the biggest names in music.

Tonight, in Las Vegas, she'll defend her Entertainer of the Year crown at the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, where she's also the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year and will be up for best Album, Song of the Year, and Vocal Event. That show can be seen on CBS, WTOL-TV, Channel 11 in Toledo, starting at 8 p.m.

Since visiting Toledo in June, 2008, the 27-year-old has padded her superstar credentials. She has now sold more than 11 million records, including more than a million copies of her current album, "Play On," which was released in November and sold more than 300,000 copies in the first week. Her recent single, "Temporary Home," became her 11th No. 1 hit. It followed on the heels of one of her biggest hits, "Cowboy Casanova."

In addition to all the other hardware she's piled up at awards shows, she'll be showing off some new bling in Toledo. In December, she was engaged to Ottawa Senators hockey player Mike Fisher.

Underwood hasn't announced a wedding date yet, but tour mate Craig Morgan joked in an interview with The Blade that Underwood has been asking him for marriage advice.

It's been quite a ride for Underwood, who was introduced to America as a shy farm girl from Checotah, Okla., on the fourth season of American Idol. She was crowned the winner of that season on May 25, 2005, and immediately shot to stardom with her first big hit, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" off her debut album, "Some Hearts." Three more big hits off the album ("Don't Forget to Remember Me," "Before He Cheats," and "Wasted") made the project one of the best-selling albums in country music history. It has sold more than 7 million copies.

"Carnival Ride" produced five more No. 1 hits and has sold 3 million copies. Her current tour is to promote her new album. Her next single is expected to be "Undo It," which was co-written by Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.

Carrie Underwood will appear Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Huntington Center, 500 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Toledo, with special guests Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia. The show is sold out.

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