“I but she’s not nervous at all,” quipped Underwood, who grinned broadly as Castleman began an impressive rendition of the upbeat anthem.
The fans clapped along, until the hopeful nailed the soaring chorus, then they burst into approving cheers.
“That was awesome,” Underwood said. “I gotta go. She can finish the show.”
Jackson added, “I think you’ve got what it takes to come and sing in front of me and my co-judges” and presented her with an “Idol” contestant number.
Castleman will return to Oklahoma City for the November “Idol” auditions.
“Now back to your regularly scheduled concert,” Underwood joked after kissing Jackson goodbye.
After the runaway success of the flying pickup truck featured in her “Play On Tour,” the itinerary naturally included another opportunity to soar among the fans. What first seemed to be a rustic corral transformed into a floating stage that was cleverly devised to give the illusion that it was borne aloft by color-shifting hot air balloons. Dressed in short denim shorts and a leather vest trimmed with floor-length fringe, Underwood glided above the arena floor crooned “Get out of This Town.” She and two guitar players stayed airborne for a good long while, delighting the spectators in the cheaper seats with “Nobody Ever Told You,” “Crazy Dreams,” “Do You Think About Me” and, most appropriately, “Thank God for Hometowns.”
“I think it’s about time we threw a little party in here,” Underwood declared as the platform began to slowly drift back toward the main stage.
Tossing flowery leis into the crowd below, she breezed into her tropical groove “One Way Ticket” while giant beach balls began bounding through the audience and a quick shower of colorful confetti rained down.
It was nothing compared to the stormy climax Underwood had in store. For her encore, she emerged sitting on a quaint daybed against the backdrop of an old-fashioned farmhouse to belt “I Know You Won’t.” She rose up, resplendent in an indigo gown, to launch into her dramatic new chart-topper “Blown Away.” With a wind machine tossing her long golden locks, she blasted through the story song as a replication of a tornado swirled theatrical smoke and confetti behind her.
When it was over, Underwood smiled, casually finger-combed her hair and bid her home-state fans adieu — until she returns for a Nov. 21 show at Tulsa’s BOK Center.
“Thank you so much,” she shouted in farewell. “God bless you. God bless Oklahoma.”
— Brandy McDonnell