'The Sound of Music' Live OK, Say Critics, But Not Underwood Acting (Video)

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 10:54 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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NBC's "The Sound of Music" live production went off without any major hitches or flubs Thursday night but there was one thing that was so terrible it couldn’t be ignored, even by members the real Von Trapp family: Carrie Underwood's acting.

Underwood, 30, rose to fame in 2005 after winning season four of "American Idol." Since then she has clocked 17 No. 1 country hits on Billboard and was even a 2009 inductee into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

But acting is just not her strong suit, as many reviewers and TV critics noted in their coverage of the three-hour live production, which reportedly cost NBC $9 million.

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Underwood starred as Maria, a would-be nun who's sent to work as a governess for the seven children of Captain Von Trapp (played by "True Blood's" Stephen Moyer). The two fall in love but are forced to flee Austria as the Nazis close in.

After her initial casting drew some backlash on Twitter, Underwood made it clear that she was not trying to remake the original 1965 film version of "The Sound of Music" or measure up to Oscar winner Julie Andrews.

"I get hate tweets and stuff like, 'You're not Julie Andrews!'" she told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week. "I know I'm not Julie. Nobody is and I would never pretend that I was … I know my place."

Even members of the real Von Trapp family, upon whom the storyline is based, have spoken out about Underwood's role as Maria.

"It's just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story," Myles von Trapp Derbyshire, Maria Von Trapp's great grandson, told ABC News earlier this week. "And although her voice is amazing, she doesn’t have acting experience. It’s just the overall image, she's a country star, she won 'American Idol,' she’s very public in kind of a tabloid way."

Francoise Von Trapp, Myles' aunt, mirrored those feelings on her blog.

"Carrie Underwood as Maria? Seriously?"

It was the critics, though, that really ripped Underwood. Here's a sampling of what they thought:

Hollywood Reporter: "Expensive karaoke"

"While Underwood can deliver the songs — I’m sure that anyone with the desire to plunge themselves into the 'American Idol' ringer has been singing those songs for most of her life — she doesn’t acquit herself so well when it comes to the carrying the emotional weight of the production… Underwood nails the look of a virginal almost-nun, but goes no deeper than that. Blank stares and placid smiles." 

Time.com — "How do you solve a problem like Carrie Underwood?"

"The show wasn’t half as good as the 1965 Julie Andrews original, but it was so cringe-worthy that it was at least fun to watch... When Carrie Underwood stepped out on the (wooded, not grassy) hills and started singing, I wished the hills were alive with the sound of hungry mountain lions. Why wasn’t she Julie Andrews? Is being Julie Andrews so much to ask for? No chic pixie cut either. Heidi braids."

The Associated Press — "Strangely lifeless"

"The only real problem was the real reason most people tuned in: Carrie Underwood, an 'American Idol' winner and country music star, sang well as Maria but her acting inexperience was laid bare. She had zero chemistry with her love interest and lacked any intensity or shading. Deer in headlights have emoted more. How do you solve a problem like Maria, indeed.

Washington Post — "Disappointingly stiff"

"You can salute Underwood’s strong vocals and her bravery in stepping into the role, but it’s impossible not to notice that she can’t act. When Underwood spoke her lines, she was as flat as the label on a Swiss Miss package of cocoa."

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