Haters Gonna Hate: In Defense Of Carrie Underwood In “The Sound Of Music Live!”

Say what you want to about Carrie Underwood in “The Sound of Music Live!”, because her performance in last night’s broadcast has officially made the list of My Favorite Things.

I woke up this morning, still riding the high from all the yodeling and merriment, curtains chopped up and all, when I signed onto Twitter and discovered a slew of haters all up in Carrie’s grill.

“The Day (The Sound of) Music Died,” one tweet read, with another jabbing, “How do you solve a problem like a miscast Maria? #TheSoundOfMusicLive.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Time Entertainment even wrote that during Carrie and Audra McDonald’s duet of “My Favorite Things,” the country star “looked like an emoticon for being constipated, if such a thing existed.” And then they said this about her wardrobe: “Maria wore a Kate Middleton knockoff to marry the Captain, because even Austrian nuns love the royal wedding. But other times she dressed like Hillary Clinton, circa 1994.”

Now, I will say that I do agree that some of Carrie’s costumes were questionable (the teal skirt suit she wore when she returned to the estate made her look like a 1970s flight attendant), but overall, I found her performance – you know, the part that’s actually her job — to be pretty damn good.

For a show that was completely live, and for a lead who is not a theater actress— or even an actress at all — I witnessed not one obvious mistake on Carrie’s part. As a bona fide “Sound of Music” junkie, trust that I would have picked up on even so much as a line slip-up. There was no room for error or retakes, but there also wasn’t a need for it. Carrie Underwood nailed it. And that’s something I could never do. Could you?

I will agree that acting isn’t Carrie’s forte. At times (okay, most of the time), her lines felt pretty scripted and her expressions unnatural, but as soon as she opened her mouth to sing, I forgot about the sub-par acting. Her  performance was compelling, and despite the other talented stars in the show, my eyes were drawn to her — and that’s with Stephen “Vampire Bill” Moyer standing by her side, looking all sultry and lusty for blood.

We have to keep in mind that Carrie was a nobody eight years ago when she tried out for “American Idol.” She had no professional entertainment experience. Last night, she put on a show for the entire nation — country and non-country music fans alike — portraying one of the most beloved characters of all time. There’s a reason the producers trusted her to do so. They knew what they were getting when they cast her, and that they weren’t replacing Julie Andrews, because, let’s be serious, that’s not possible. In Carrie, they were hiring someone versatile, lovable and heartwarming who can sing the shit out of some of the most well-known songs of our time. If she sang even one note off tune, the world would realize it and tear her to shreds.

With that said, NBC knew the risk and reward at stake when they handed Carrie the role of Maria von Trapp. The roster of people who are professionally trained in theater, who are amazing singers and actors, is extensive. But it’s safe to say none of them have a fanbase as massive as Carrie’s. She appeals to older audiences and younger generations, many of whom haven’t even seen the original “Sound of Music” (a travesty, if you ask me). Carrie’s musical talent spans genres, and for a one-time performance, I think NBC picked the right woman for the job. “The Sound of Music” is a classic. If the network announced that they were doing a live remake starring [insert talented Broadway star here] as Maria von Trapp, I would have said “Hell no, not watching,” and opted to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal” instead.  But Carrie as Maria? Sign me up. And we’re all talking about it today, are we not? That’s a win in their book.

So while the rest of you go on with your day, calling Carrie “Maria von Crap,” I’m going to agree to disagree. Now excuse me while I sing “The Lonely Goatherd” and fashion myself a dress out of drapes.