Carrie Underwood's television debut of her new single, "Church Bells" during the 51st annual ACM Awards broadcast was nothing short of spectacular. Wearing a metallic Xena: Warrior Princess-style dress and strappy knee-high heels, the 12-time ACM award winner gleamed in the spotlight, backed by multi-tiered risers of floor-tom drummers to add to the fiery performance.
Though she lost to Miranda Lambert for Female Vocalist of the Year, Underwood proved what friend Lambert deemed her in her acceptance speech: "a perfect singer." She strutted in those sky-high heels across all three stages, with her voice still hitting every impossibly high note. And while we knew she could play guitar, Underwood proved a multi-instrumentalist during this performance, at one point grabbing sticks and cranking out her own drum solo that was like Dave Grohl meets Blue Man Group.
"Church Bells" is the third single off Underwood's latest album Storyteller, and tells the account of a housewife who mysteriously kills her abusive husband — much like a modern day version of "Goodbye Earl." "I love being sucked into that story: rooting for the woman and seeing that she does something powerful that she never thought she could do," she says. "People are strongest when they're pushed to their limits."