Country music singer Carrie Underwood performs in front of a sold out crowd at The Arena at Gwinnett Center during The Blown Away Tour in Duluth Wednesday.
DULUTH -- In 2005, the world met Carrie Underwood, a young singer from Oklahoma who was competing on "America Idol."
Seven years later, her fans from the start were thrilled to see the singer on the Blown Away Tour at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on Wednesday night.
"I voted for her. I didn't vote for many ('Idol' contestants), but I really liked her from the very beginning," Brenda Grimes of Peachtree City said while hanging out with her husband.
The sold-out country show attracted thousands of fans -- mostly female -- from the area. But before Underwood took stage, Hunter Hayes opened the show.
The 21-year-old heartthrob had the girls screaming for every song, especially "Somebody's Heartbreak" and "Wanted." He played both electric and acoustic guitar, plus the piano.
No matter how good Hayes sounded, most were there for Underwood.
Four albums later, her listeners have enjoyed hearing her mature as an artist.
"I think she's grown in her music and her talent has just taken off," said 14-year-old Morgan Gilbert of Cumming. "My two recent favorites are either 'Good Girl' or 'Blown Away.' That's what I want to hear."
Her wish came true.
Underwood opened with "Good Girl" wearing a black and white number showing her shapely legs. Without hesitation, she transitioned into "Undo It."
With the change in music, the plain stage changed with it. The band and backup singers glided around the stage on four different platforms. To enhance the show, Underwood had four large screens projecting images to accompany her songs.
As she went through "Wasted," Randy Travis' "I Told You So" and "Two Black Cadillacs," Underwood had to turn her head away from the microphone to shield her coughs. Last Saturday, she canceled her Kansas City show "due to illness," according to the singer's website.
"I had heard she was sick the week before," Kim Johnson of Loganville said. "She's coughing and is talking with congestion, but her voice amazing."
After "Cadillacs," the blonde singer disappeared under the stage for a quick dress change. When she came back to sing "Last Name," she was wearing a short teal, purple and white dress.
After singing six songs straight, she then took the time to talk to the audience about where she's been -- "American Idol."
"That crazy decision changed my life forever," Underwood said to the crowd. "Moral of the story is take a chance every once in a while. You never know where it will lead you."
And that's why her fans love her. She's could be your neighbor, according to Grimes.
"She looks like the all-American girl-next-door kind of person who just got famous and it makes you say, 'Yes, that's what America is about,'" she said.