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CArrie Underwood loves to talk. Perhaps almost as much as she loves to sing.

The winner of the 2005 season of “American Idol,” who comes to the First Niagara Center for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, is a tabloid journalist’s best friend, so handy is she with the offhand, though deeply revealing, quote. Over the past few weeks, Underwood confessed to BANG Showbiz that she has “control issues” bordering on obsessive compulsive disorder; expressed interest in becoming a judge on the “X Factor” to Glamour magazine, admitting that she’d have a tough time being cruel to contestants (“But those initial auditions, where you have to say no or tell someone to stop? I don’t know if I could do that.”); and admitted trepidation regarding turning 30 to People magazine. (That milestone was indeed marked, willingly or otherwise, March 10.)

Of course, Underwood is called on for the attention-grabbing quote far more often than most. Since winning “Idol,” the country singer and songwriter has moved more than 27 million singles worldwide, and sold some 15 million copies of her four albums. During that time, she’s also taken home six Grammy Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, and more than a dozen Billboard Music Awards. She’s toured almost nonstop during this time period, racking up in excess of $100 million in tour revenues. Surely, a little OCD must come in handy when you’re living in the eye of a hurricane like the one described above.

Underwood has done much to separate herself from the modern pop hordes, it must be noted. She is one of the few artists in her peer group to simultaneously earn massive commercial acclaim and commensurate critical and peer group respect. There has never been any question during an Underwood concert regarding the “Is she singing or lip-syncing?” issue that has plagued so many pop stars, from Britney Spears to Rihanna. Underwood has a fantastic voice, and as a country artist, boasts an authenticity that betrays a studied knowledge of the idiom’s greatest female voices.

Just prior to arriving in Buffalo for Tuesday’s concert, Underwood headlined the “C2C: Country to Country Festival” at London’s O2 Arena, topping a bill featuring the likes of Little Big Town, LeAnn Rimes and Tim McGraw. So now we can add “country music ambassador to the world” to her already impressive resumé.

email: jmiers@buffnews.com