5 Best Moments From Kelsea Ballerini’s Opry Induction
It was a magical evening on Tuesday night (April 16) as Kelsea Ballerini officially became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
It was an emotional night, too — Ballerini was reduced to tears both on stage and behind-the-scenes. After she performed a well-rounded set of "Peter Pan," "In Between" and "Miss Me More," she was inducted by one of her idols and fellow Opry members, Carrie Underwood.
Here are five of the best moments from Ballerini's induction into the Grand Ole Opry:
1. "I rarely looked up"
After Underwood did the honors of officially welcoming Ballerini into the Opry family, the young star delivered a speech filled with thankfulness and gratitude. Ballerini shared how she moved to Nashville with ambitious dreams, many of which have already come true, and in her whirlwind career, it's not often she has time to step back and soak in the magnitude of her accomplishments.
"We can all agree that life moves really fast," Ballerini began. "There's rarely been a moment that's made me just stop and take it in and be grateful and look up. One that I remember is Feb. 14, 2015 and that is when I made my Opry debut," she said tearfully. "And one is right now."
2. "This is better than all of that"
Underwood's presence as she walked onstage to do the honors of inducting Ballerini drew a roar of applause from the crowd, and she instantly brought Ballerini to tears by calling her a "talented, incredible, smart, sweet, beautiful woman." Her speech echoed the sentiment of Garth Brooks' words when he welcomed Underwood into the Opry family 11 years ago, both reflecting on the weight of its meaning. "You have accomplished so much in your career and you will undoubtedly accomplish infinite amounts more in your career and in your life," Underwood said glowingly, referring to fans, awards and No. 1 songs. "This is better than all of that. The Opry has been and will always be here, the heart and soul of country music — a family — and you are in it."
3. Underwood and Ballerini duet
The two power women made the evening even more special by teaming up for a surprise duet of Trisha Yearwood's "Walkaway Joe." Ballerini explained that as they were reflecting on the female icons whose pictures hang on the walls in the Women of Country Music dressing room backstage at the Opry, they wanted to perform a song that honored the women who came before them, selecting Yearwood's classic hit as one they both admire. The duet made for a pure moment, their beautiful voices capturing the emotion of the song as the crowd attentively absorbed every lyric and met the end of the performance with resounding applause, the singers sharing another embrace even after the curtain came down.
4. "Forever home"
Backstage after the show, Senior Vice President of Programming and Artist Relations for the Opry, Sally Williams, described the hallowed hall as Ballerini's "forever home," a sentiment that the singer touched on earlier in the night. Ballerini explained how she made her first trip to the Opry as a teen, venturing from her home in Knoxville, Tenn., with her mom to see Josh Turner perform on the show. She also reminisced on when she signed her record deal with Black River Entertainment and compiled an "intensive goal list" of what she wanted to achieve in her career, making her debut at the Opry was on the top of that list.
"To be able to play this stage once is a dream, but to be able to know that I can play this stage in 30 years when the radio quits me and when touring quits me, it's really comforting and it's really beautiful," she said through tears.
5. Displaying her plaque
One of the many significant honors an artist experiences on Opry induction night is mounting their plaque onto the wall that features the names of the many other members of the revered institution. Armed with a pink bedazzled screw driver, Ballerini gave her best attempt at screwing the plaque into the wood panel, managing to only screw in one nail. But much like her growing legacy in country music, it allows her to stand out. "You can just leave it as one," she said. "It'll tell the story."
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