Everett; Inset: Taylor Hill/WireImage
Michelle Tauber
April 07, 2013 10:30 AM

The hills are alive – once again!

Carrie Underwood is set to tackle the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s upcoming live production of The Sound of Music.

“It’s a giant challenge, which I appreciate,” this week’s PEOPLE cover girl, who is currently in the midst of her Blown Away tour, says of the new production, which is slated to air later this year around the holidays. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘People don’t do this anymore, singing live!’ ”

As for following Julie Andrews, who earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the box-office blockbuster 1965 original, the country superstar, 30, says she’s not trying to fill the Hollywood legend’s shoes.

The British star “just has this royal air,” says Underwood, who has never met Andrews: “It would be like you’re beneath her!”

Underwood adds, “I think once people tune in and realize that [our version] is not a remake, they won’t compare it to the movie.”

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