It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since Carrie Underwood made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. She had just won “American Idol” a couple of weeks earlier, so it was still undetermined what her contribution to country music would look like. It didn’t take too long for us all to see it, though, and three years after that magical debut during a visit to the legendary venue, Randy Travis stepped onstage to invite her to become a member of the Opry family.
That was eight years ago, making Carrie a bit of an Opry veteran, so it doesn’t seem that unusual that she was given the honor of welcoming a new member to the fold. What is surprising, though, is that the candidate that Carrie was charged with inviting was legendary country star Crystal Gayle.
After the pair performed a duet of Crystal’s monster hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” Carrie asked the big question and, of course, the country icon said yes.
Crystal actually made her debut on the Opry stage more than 45 years ago. During a Facebook Live taping, she explained that she was about 16 and her sister, Loretta Lynn, was scheduled to appear but fell ill. Loretta talked the Opry into letting her little sis take the stage, and it was just the first of many performances for the brunette beauty known for her ultra long locks.
Even after scoring multiple No. 1 country hits and starting her own collection of ACM, CMA and Grammy awards for her country performances, Crystal said that she didn’t think twice about not having been invited to join the Opry before, because her music was more “middle of the road” than her sister’s. She also admitted she was extremely flattered when she learned that Carrie was coming to the Opry that night on the pretense of singing with the legend. “I was floored,” she said. “I’m such a big fan. She has one of the best voices ever.”
Of course, now we know that Carrie’s real reason for appearing was to make that grand gesture on behalf of the Grand Ole Opry as Randy did for her so many years ago.
Crystal’s actual Opry induction will take place on Jan. 21.