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September 18, 2014

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Photos: Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes blow away Mandalay Bay

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away Tour” at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Carrie Underwood and Hunter Hayes at Mandalay Bay

Carrie Underwood's Launch slideshow »
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Hunter Hayes opens for Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away Tour" at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Carrie Underwood made everyone a winner in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The Grammy-winning country, crossover and “American Idol” Season 4 star brought her third headlining and first global tour, “Blown Away,” to a full house at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The successful tour and her platinum-selling album “Blown Away” have spawned two Grammys this year and notched two No. 1 singles, “Good Girl” and “Blown Away,” while Underwood’s current single, “Two Black Cadillacs,” is climbing up the charts.

Underwood’s concert of country, pop and rock included dazzling costume changes and spectacular video and visual effects. The show opened with a tornado sweeping through in a giant video backdrop and the force of nature, Underwood, emerging from the wake of the storm onto the stage like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” with her electrifying vocals on “Good Girl.”

She kept the high energy going with favorites including “Undo It” and “Wasted,” as well as the hit remake of -- and tribute to -- Randy Travis’ “I Told You So,” and she finished the opening act with “Two Black Cadillacs.”

Her first seamless costume change into a stunning white dress opened the next act and showed off her gorgeous legs and nearly outshined her singing on “Last Name.” Underwood then paused the show to give thanks to the audience as she announced that for each ticket sold on the tour, $1 per ticket was being donated to the American Red Cross for disaster relief.

She then slowed it down with “Temporary Home” and the spiritual “Jesus, Take the Wheel” before finishing with the upbeat “Cowboy Casanova.” In the next act, to the crowd’s delight, Underwood and three band members were suspended on a mini stage made to look like a mini air balloon and floated over the audience on the floor and to each corner.

She waved tirelessly to fans in her daisy dukes and thanked them for their support while singing “Get Out of This Town,” “Nobody Ever Told You” and crowd favorite “All-American Girl.” Underwood threw leis to the crowd below and sang “One Way Ticket” with a little reggae twang. Audience participation included giant beach balls bouncing all over the spectacle of confetti for the fun song.

They made landfall on the main stage for another quick costume and set change. Underwood appeared in metallic blue, skintight leather pants singing “Leave Love Alone,” “Flat on the Floor,” “See You Again,” “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” and another crowd favorite, “Before He Cheats.”

The nearly 100-minute show ended with an encore starting with the ballad “I Know You Won’t,” in which Underwood’s powerful pipes could’ve resonated throughout Mandalay Bay Events Center without the high-tech PA system.

The grand finale with “Blown Away” featured a makeshift twister behind her onstage blowing the Checotah, Okla., native and 2005 “American Idol” winner’s hair up into the air with a whirlwind of confetti while she belted away the title of her fourth hit album. It was a fitting end to Underwood’s high-voltage performance and spectacular show.

Hunter Hayes

Up-and-comer and Best New Artist Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes, the Justin Bieber of country music, kicked off the “Oz” theme of the tour stop appropriately with his hit “Storm Warning.” The 21-year-old singer-songwriter and musician rocked out to hits like his No. 1 crossover favorite “Wanted” and showcased his skills on acoustic and electric guitars and piano.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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