Carrie Underwood is set to perform in NBC’s live staging of "The Sound of Music" on Dec. 5 as Maria, the Oscar-nominated role that Julie Andrews made famous — and she is turning to Julie for inspiration.

The country singer exclusively raves in the debut issue of Closer about the respect she has for Julie’s turn as Maria in 1965. “It’s a giant challenge. I mean, nobody could fill those shoes,” she tells the mag. Although Carrie has been a lifelong fan of Julie’s, she admits that the two have never met.

However, the 30-year-old reveals to Closer that Julie has “said really nice things about this project.” When Julie was asked about the casting of Carrie Underwood as Maria, she enthused, “I think Carrie’s great,” adding, “It’s probably time somebody else had a crack at it!”

Before concluding her interview, Carrie sent a very special message out to her idol. “Being able to see a woman with such grace and class has been very influential,” Carrie shared. “I just thank her for being such a great inspiration to so many of us.”