Carrie Underwood will not be performing in Las Vegas on March 10, the night of her birthday.

She will be performing in Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency the night before, though, so a round of “Happy Birthday” from the audience between songs would be appropriate. American Idol’s Piscean princess has played more than 25 shows at Resorts World Theater since Reflection premiered in December 2021. She now reigns as one The Strip’s premier performers.

It’s been a long drive to the top for the girl from Muskogee, Okla., who sang along with Reba McEntire songs in the car. “I loved all her sassy songs like ‘Fancy,’ ‘Why Haven’t I Heard from You,’” said Underwood in an exclusive interview with Las Vegas Magazine. “She gives the sass real good.” Reba’s sass was complemented by Martina McBride’s class as influences on Underwood. “I sang ‘A Broken Wing’ and ‘Independence Day’ at every talent show that I performed at, ever,” she said. “And then maybe like Faith Hill. She’s another one that I feel I sing a lot of her stuff, and she was also my first concert. She was opening for Alan Jackson at the time, so that was my first concert ever.”

Carrie Underwood delivers a powerhouse performance in her ‘Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency’ at Resorts World Las Vegas. IMG

Those influences shaped Underwood into a singer destined to win the fourth season of American Idol. She was one of the few champions who parlayed a recording contract prize into sustained success and a slew of hits. To date, she’s had 14 No. 1s on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart, won eight Grammys, and collected dozens of awards from the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association.

Her Vegas residency celebrates all of that and more. “We try to keep the Reflection show to be a greatest hits kind of show,” Underwood said. “My guitar player, I think, coined it perfectly when he was like, ‘This is like an awards-show greatest-hits moment,’ because every single song we try to have a lot of production, a lot of visuals to go along with it. Every single song in Reflection could stand alone.”

Those stand-alone songs behind Underwood’s success are the result of collaborative relationships with top Nashville songwriters. Not everyone who wins a national talent show will have chemistry with composers, but Underwood was fated to find people like David Garcia, who produced 2018 album Cry Pretty, and Hillary Lindsey, who wrote 11 country chart toppers for Underwood like “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Wasted” and “Just a Dream.”

“We have a lot of fun working together,” Underwood said. “I feel like everything’s easy when we get together to write, or even when David and I are in the studio with musicians or recording, or whatever. I feel like it’s just easy and fun, and you never know where the day is going to take you, but it’s going to be a good day, and I feel like that’s the best way to work, when you really like to go into work.”

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