Carrie Underwood Invited to Become Grand Ole Opry Member: Can I Say “I Told You So?”

Matt Clark | March 16th, 2008

carrie-randy1.jpg Randy Travis surprised Carrie Underwood on the Grand Ole Opry stage last night after she finished singing her cover of “I Told You So” and asked Underwood to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. A tearful Carrie accepted the Opry’s invitation.

If you’re a regular The 9513 reader, this is old news. I wrote way back on October 19th, after Josh Turner’s invitation to join the Opry, that Carrie would be the next artist invited. Only the surprise induction of veteran Charlie Daniels in January seperated my prediction and Carrie’s invitation.

But enough gloating. After a two-year drought, the Opry is inducting new members at a torrid pace: Carrie is the fourth artist in a ten-month period.

And, for those of you who are wondering: I expect that the next inductee will be newcomer Ashton Shepherd.

Check back later today for more coverage of this breaking story.

Watch Carrie’s Opry invitation:

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  1. Guy
    March 16, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Since Carrie Underwood is such a new artist and barely Country, this is a surprise. Why are they opening the floodgates? Though she came on the scene via a television gimmick, she is really a gifted vocalist. But she appears to have only half of one foot in the Country world, while planning her crossover career.

  2. Jaime
    March 16, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Of course this is a calculated move to bring in a younger audience to the Opry.

    Inducting Ashton Shepherd–who possesses genuine, nuanced vocal talent and whose songs are not pop candy–will counterbalance this.

  3. Lucas
    March 16, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Carrie Underwood is a great choice. Randy Travis would be one of the coolest people you could have ask you to join.

    I doubt Ashton Shepherd is the next member, but only time will tell.

  4. Dan
    March 16, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Ashton Shepherd may not be the next, but I’d be surprised if she didn’t make it an album or two down the line (this is of course assuming that her first album sells well in the first place).

  5. john
    March 16, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    i dont know how often rodney atkins plays there, but i think he meets the criteria as well

  6. Lucas
    March 16, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    There is no true set criteria for induction.

  7. Guy
    March 16, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Maybe there is no true set criteria for induction into the Grand Ole Opry, but they ought to at least wait until an artist is around long enough to have what might be called “a career.” Inviting these new artists with only two albums done makes no sense to me.

  8. john
    March 16, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    i didn’t really mean criteria. i meant that i think he follows some of the important guidelines that go in to picking an artist, he is traditional country, he makes good quality music and he has been very successful recently. if they’re picking younger artists, why not him?

  9. ccf
    March 16, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    George Strait isn’t a member. This is all about marketing. Or I guess Pete Fisher is going to live up to his promise of getting rid of the gray hair on the stage and the audience.

  10. Lucas
    March 16, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Ok, I got ya.

    There are a lot of people out there that in my opinion would make welcomed inducteesand to be honest, who would turn it down?

    I really don’t see Carrie Underwood leaving the country scene any day soon, so she’s welcomed in my opinion, and she is extremely talented to boot. If you think through, Carrie had a development deal that fell through before American Idol.

    It didn’t take Dierks very long to be inducted either. They really are gunning for a younger audience.

    I’d like to see Tracy Lawrence, Mark Chesnutt, Neal McCoy, and Tracy Byrd be inducted. They’ve all contributed more than their fair share to the country music market and quality music as a whole.

    If the Opry wants to get people in the door – Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith would all be perfect inductees. But after the feather-ruffling, I’m not sure how much of a chance Toby would stand. These artists also don’t really spend time playing the Opry.

  11. hairandtoenails
    March 16, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Like Lucas, I’d love to see “Lawrence, Chesnutt, McCoy and Byrd” in the Opry. I started listening to country in the late 1980s, and those are some of my favorite singers. Chesnutt especially. But I wonder if those singers can help fill the seats anymore. I hate to call them has-beens, but their days of commercial success are over. I’d like to see the Opry respect the past, but also be more than a graveyard for yesterday’s singers.

    What can the Opry do to offer interesting, new, timely music while still paying some respect to the past?

    i’ll get flack for saying this. I’ve been to the Opry 4 times, but many of the performers have lost their voices due to age. I’m too young to remember when, say Bill Anderson, was in his prime; seeing him perform with a drastically weakened voice gives me little in terms of musical quality or nostalgia.

    In my four times at the Opry, the audience was truly excited only once: when Vince Gill performed “Liza Jane.”

  12. Lucas
    March 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Tracy Lawrence’s commercial appeal is coming back ten fold. You never know who might have the big hit tomorrow, if you would have asked not too long ago, Clay Walker would have never had a hit again – but look at him now.

    I think the Opry needs to balance filling the seats and tradition.

    That’s alright if they lose their voices, their songs are what matter – it’s human nature. But I was AMAZED at how well Jim Ed Brown can still belt it out!

    The Opry is a bit about cheesy comedy that makes for good entertainment, and nobody’s better at delivering the one-liners than the old guys and gals who may not have the strongest voice anymore.

  13. hairandtoenails
    March 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Lucas your point about Lawrence and Cheesy comedy is well taken.

    But about singers who have lost their voices, I don’t know. I grew up with Mark Chesnutt, and I bet that in 20 years Id go see him at the Opry even if he loses his voice. But its hard for me to get into singers who have lost their voices AND were before my time. There’s no nostalgia there for me; I guess I don’t wish to hear a great song sung poorly. I know many will disagree, and thats fine. Its just my personal preference. I respect the other view, too.

  14. Lynn
    March 16, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I think it’s a fantastic “commercial” choice. My only question is where will this take the Opry in the future? Can you imagine an Opry down the road being dominated by Carrie, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum? The younger demographic (which the Opry is going for here) may demand it. Many people who review Carrie’s videos, CDs and concerts (same as those other artists) always start their reviews with “I hate country music…” (citing the twang, the traditional instruments, the simple and redneck themes…)

    It would be great if these young fans start with Carrie and then move on to the more traditional (new and old) and back into country music’s history, but I can’t see that happening. It would be sad if the Opry went the direction of country radio…

  15. Jordan Stacey
    March 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    I think Carrie got in mostly because she performs there regulary. They seem to induct those who perform there often, so going by this rule I don’t really see Rascal Flatts getting in anytime soon. (How often do they play at the Opry?)

  16. Rick
    March 17, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Asking reigning country Queen Carrie to join the Opry makes perfect economic sense as it will guarantee big audiences. If this is Pete Fisher’s new direction, then I’d expect Taylor Swift to be next in short succession to quote “get them while they’re hot”.

    The current Opy shows are filled with so many past their prime older performers that its become half-way between a Branson show and Vaudeville act which is a shame. For the typical Nashville tourist audience members that never listen to the Opry on the radio the current format may be okay. For regular listeners having the same older artists singing mostly the same songs show after show week after week is tedious.

    I would love to see the Opry embrace the more traditional artists that had radio hits starting in the 1980’s and onward. I don’t get tired of hearing John Conlee (okay he started in the 70’s), T. Graham Brown, or Hal Ketchum as their voices are still in top form and they sing great songs to boot. Fully functional artists of that caliber that live in the Nashville area and are willing to be regulars would be my first choice over pop-country princesses….

  17. Matt B.
    March 17, 2008 at 5:25 am


    Conlee and Ketchum are members of the Opry already.

    I agree that Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Lawrence would make good choices for the Opry. Chesnutt’s had a recent hit while Lawrence has done quite well on his own.

  18. Tina
    March 17, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I would love to see Rascal Flatts become members. I mean they outsold every artist in every genre of music last year. I am not sure what more criteria you need

  19. Guy
    March 17, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Rascal Flatts does not play Country music. Selling a lot of records is not why you’re invited.

    Many think Rascal Flatts is precisely what is wrong with Country Music right now.

  20. Jobi
    March 19, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I’d rather see Bon Jovi invited to the Opry than Rascal Flatts….at least BJ can sing and in tune live!

  21. Lisa
    March 19, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Congratulations to Carrie!

    As a reply to a comment left above: Rascal Flatts by far deserve to be a members of the Grand Ole Opry! Their music is amazing and it inspires so many people. Yes, they ARE country too! Carrie Underwood’s songs are also played on “non-country” radio stations everywhere, but you don’t hear people saying that she’s not “country.” They are all wonderful and deserve to be recognized equally. So please, give credit where credit is due – Rascal Flatts have a great fan base, outsold artists in EVERY genre, they’re great to their fans, they sing country, they do a number of things to help charity, and they have GREAT music! : )

  22. Kelly
    March 19, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Lisa: No.

  23. Lisa
    March 21, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Kelly: ???

  24. Kelly
    March 21, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Lisa: That was me expressing my disagreement with your comments. While I know that what is good and “country” are subjective and I know it would be boring if everyone agreed with everyone else, but calling Rascall Flatts “amazing” is beyond me. Keep on bobbin’ that head, I guess….

  25. Lisa
    March 26, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I’m sorry, I should’ve thought of a better word than “amazing” to describe Rascal Flatts. LOL
    I guess we’ll agree to disagree. To me, Rascal Flatts is the BEST there is!!! I absolutely love them! : ) Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of other country artists, but RF will always be my #1.

  26. Shane
    March 27, 2008 at 11:59 am

    I second that Lisa! : )

  27. shiloh
    April 16, 2008 at 9:48 am

    I agree that Ashton will be the next inductee to the Grand Ole Opry. She nailed it at the CMT awards show. I will be at the Opry April 26th to cheer her on!

  28. Kristy
    March 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Rascal Flatts are just as country and Carrie Underwood, actually more. She found inspiration in them, that says a little something about them.

  29. RW
    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    To the one who said, “There is no set criteria for Opry membership”. You are not entirely accurate.
    To be a member of the Grand Ole Opry you have to commit to being on the Opry stage quite often.
    Even if you are touring, you must commit some time to the opry stage, otherwise they will kick you out.
    There is more leniency than in years past, but considering how little brains Pete Fisher has, this does not surprise me, and for those who don’t know who Mr. Pete Fisher is, he is the President of the Grand Ole Opry who tried to get the older artists kicked off the stage. The true country singers.
    Don’t believe me and think I’m blowing that out of proportion, Google the article on Stonewall Jackson sues Grand Ole Opry.

  30. Chance
    October 12, 2009 at 3:56 am


  31. Paula Gluck
    May 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Carrie Underwood who hasn’t’t put in her time is a member of the grand ole opry but George isn’t – there is something wrong here!

  32. Paula Gluck
    May 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    As good as she is George strait is better!

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