On This Day: Carrie Underwood Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut in 2005

by Emily Morgan

After Carrie Underwood claimed her title as the CMT Awards’ most awarded artist ever, we can’t help but reminisce on how far she’s come. 

In 2005, long before she reached mega-stardom, she was just a small-town girl from Oklahoma. She had to pinch herself after winning “American Idol.” After her win, it would keep getting better and better for Underwood. On June 10, 2005, 16 years ago today, Underwood made her Grand Ole Opry debut. 

Although the highlight of her career would be winning season four of the popular singing competition, her debut on the Opry stage would be something she’d never forget. 

After taking a few weeks off to see her family in Oklahoma, she returned to Music City to perform on the hallowed stage. 

During the event, she performed two songs: “Inside Your Heaven,” which she released as her debut single after winning “American Idol,” and the Roy Orbison tune “Cryin’,” which she had performed previously on “Idol.”

Although you wouldn’t be able to tell from her singing, she was nervous. At the time, she was unsure how she’d the country music industry would receive her. If she had any nerves at the beginning, by the end, they all subsided after she received a standing ovation from the crowd. 

Carrie Underwood Experiences Opry Magic for the First Time

“It’s kind of magical,” she said after finishing her set. “I don’t feel like I deserve this at all.” It was a fairytale moment come true for Underwood, who was once a girl from a small town without cable television. 

“I don’t even know how, but I always knew what it was,” she says of the Opry. “You don’t have to see it or hear it, you automatically just know what it is. That’s how legendary it is.”

After the performance, she dropped her debut album, Some Hearts, in 2006. It quickly became the best-selling album of 2006 across all genres in the U.S. And it included some of her most well-known tracks like “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats.” 

Later in 2008, she would return to the Opry when Randy Travis, one of her heroes, surprised Underwood with an invitation to join the Opry. Garth Brooks inducted her on May 10, 2008.

“It means a lot to me because it’s the heart of country music,” she said. “The church, the sacred place, the super-elite club that says you love this music.”

“This [award] is gonna hold a very special place in my awards case. I just want to thank everybody at the Opry for having me as a part of your family — because it really seems like a great family to be a part of,” the Oklahoma native said. “It means a lot to me. I promise that I’ll do everything I possibly can to make you not regret it — and to make you guys not regret it!”