It's no surprise that country music fans were anticipating the TV special Girls Night Out: Superstar Women of Country, which was taped at the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards weekend earlier this month and aired Friday night on CBS. However, it was a gospel song performed at the show that unexpectedly crossed all boundary lines and created a viral sensation over the weekend.
Carrie Underwood was just one of many huge names in the allstar lineup, but her duet with Vince Gill of the classic standard "How Great Thou Art" managed to bring down the entire house--and internet, at that. According to Yahoo! data, searches for Underwood's rendition of the tune spiked a whopping 362% on Saturday.
If that weren't enough, the video of the performance has received nearly a million views, and has drawn extraordinarily high praise--with comments ranging from "Wow! God was in the house," "I am not a Christian but this is truly beautiful," "She is an angel" to "This is the most moving version of that song I have ever heard," "She rocks 'em and socks 'em," "I'm speechless."
One user even went where most dare not tread, and compared Underwood to the King himself--"I thought that nobody could come close to singing this song like Elvis did during his concerts. I was wrong, Carrie put her heart and soul into this amazing version!"
Underwood and Gill's fellow stars in the audience appeared moved by the performance, as well. Martina McBride stares transfixed at the stage, the ordinarily humorous Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert watch reverently, while Sugarland's Kristian Bush nods his head and Jennifer Nettles mouths "What a voice."
After hitting the final, climactic notes, Underwood wrapped the powerful performance up with a hug for Gill. Then, she wiped away a few tears...and faced a standing ovation from her peers. How great, indeed.
As always, be sure to: