Photo by BRE McGee

I know, you thought my review was not just scathing but mean.

I expect more from a superstar this far into her career, charging $70 a ticket. Carrie Underwood has improved in one respect: She has added material that reflects a broader range of dynamics, intensity and delivery. But I’m blown away by the fact that her creative team doesn’t give her better and more honest advice.

For instance, what was up Thursday at Target Center with the rote, Carrie-okie reading of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” complete with Steven Tyler-like hair shaking and a cane-like mic (sans scarves)? Last year at Mystic Lake amphitheater, Underwood made a wise choice of doing Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” the tune she’d performed with Tyler on the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier in 2011. It's a better fit for her and a nice surprise for her fans..

Whose idea was it to do NINE songs from Underwood’s new album “Blown Away”? Among her earlier hits that got left out were “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” “So Small,” “Just a Dream” and “Mama’s Song.”

And who advises Underwood about her outfits? The first two featured short skirts in front and long trains in back. Call ‘em train wrecks or hot messes, the first with enough studs and sparkles for Cher and the second a bizarre punk-rock wedding dress.

How bout the short shorts made of denim, covered by floor-length fringe? Yee haw. The closing dress had three separate sections of gray, black and gray. Dull. And what was up with her various versions of fingerless gloves (with a cutout to show off her huge sparkly diamond)?

The best outfit without a doubt was the black marching band coat (with long silvery epaulettes) over a black cat woman suit decorated with sequins and spangles. Very sexy and very flattering.

Speaking of hot, the fans screamed for opening act Hunter Hayes, who is as cute as Justin Bieber even though he looks like Doogie Howser. Musically, the 21-year-old offered pop disguised as country. He even seamlessly slipped in Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and every young woman swooned.

During his 40-minute set, Hayes shot a live concert video for his new single “Somebody’s Heartbreak.” Frankly, the first time through in the middle of the set was fairly lackluster. He repeated the tune to close the program, and second time around his vocals had more conviction and his guitar work was tasty and spirited. Nice job.

Here is Underwood’s set list from Target Center.

Good Girl/ Undo It/ Wasted/ I Told You So/ Two Black Cadillacs / Last Name/ All-American Girl/ Temporary Home/ Jesus, Take the Wheel/ Cowboy Casanova/ NEXT SET was done on a floating corral-like stage w/ three musicians joining her: Get Out of This Town/ Nobody Ever Told You/ Thank God for Hometowns/ Crazy Dreams/ Do You Think About Me/ One Way Ticket BACK to main stage w full band Leave Love Alone (with guest Hunter Hayes)/ Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)/ Remind Me (with Brad Paisley on video screen)/ Cupid’s Got a Shotgun/ Before He Cheats ENCORE I Know You Won’t/ Blown Away

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