Membership into the Grand Ole Opry is something very unique to the entertainment industry. An invitation to join the legendary country venue is not simply a case of sold-out concerts, platinum-selling records, or a certain count of Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards. The ingredients behind receiving an invitation to join Country Music’s most exclusive club remain a secret formula, but the powers that be knew that Carrie Underwood possessed that something special.
Almost exactly three years after she was crowned the winner of American Idol (Season 4), Underwood was invited to join country’s biggest icons as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on May 10, 2008 by the one and only Randy Travis. It’s a membership that Underwood has cherished and treated quite well over the past decade, appearing on the show’s stage countless times since becoming a member – sometimes showing up by surprise.
Underwood recently commemorated her tenth anniversary as an Opry member with a special performance that included her powerful new single, “Cry Pretty.” Her celebration even included a surprise appearance from Travis, who delivered her a bouquet of flowers.
In this special video montage, which Billboard proudly presents today (June 1) in an exclusive first look, the Opry looks back on 10 years of Underwood memories – complete with clips of the singer with Country Music Hall of Fame members Bill Anderson, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, and, of course, Mr. Travis.
“I feel like every time we come to play at the Opry I still get butterflies and my heart starts fluttering,” Underwood says in the clip. “It just kind of feels like the first time all over again. And I think I feel that way because this is a special place — this is a sacred place.”
Underwood will return to the Opry stage on June 5 in a special two-show event (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. CT) ahead of CMA Fest, where she’ll be performing on June 8. In between, she’ll also be performing on the 2018 CMT Music Awards on June 6.
Congratulations to Carrie! Watch her Opry tribute below.