On This Day: Kelsea Ballerini Inducted Into the Grand Ole Opry in 2019

by Jim Casey

Kelsea Ballerini fulfilled her childhood dream when she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on April 16, 2019.

Kelsea’s 2015 debut album, The First Time, wasn’t even four years in April 2019. But the Opry had seen and heard enough. On March 5, 2019, Little Big Town surprised Kelsea by inviting her to join the esteemed organization.

On April 16, Carrie Underwood officially inducted the 25-year-old Tennessee native.

Opry Goes Big

The Opry pulled out all of the stops on Kelsea Ballerini’s induction night.

The packed audience was treated to a surprise appearance by Keith Urban, who welcomed Kelsea to the Opry family and delivered a performance of “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” But Keith wasn’t the only surprise on tap. Unofficial Opry spokesman Vince Gill opened plenty of eyes and ears when he joined the Del McCoury Band during their set.

But the show came to a stop when Carrie Underwood walked on stage to officially induct Kelsea.

“You have accomplished so much in your career,” said Carrie, as Kelsea began to tear up. “And you will undoubtedly accomplish infinite amounts more, in your career and in your life. Awards and number ones and sales and tours and fans and just all of it. This is better than all of that. This is the heart and soul of country music. The Opry has been and will always be here, the heart and soul of country music. The family. You are in it. Congratulations. Welcome to the family.”

Carrie presented Kelsea with her official Opry induction trophy.

Kelsea Ballerini Joins the Family

“This is probably where I should probably say something every eloquent,” said Kelsea Ballerini. “But all I’ll say is, I feel like we can all agree that life moves really fast, right. And I think that especially since I moved to Nashville, I had this big dream to do all these kinds of things, I’ve rarely looked up. There’s rarely been a moment that’s made me just stop and take a minute and be grateful and look up. One that I remember is February 14, 2015, and that is when I made my Opry debut. And one is right now. And I just want to say that it’s so nice and comforting to know that no matter where life takes me . . . that I can always come here and I can always play country music.

“Grand Ole Opry, thanks for seeing something in me and for believing that I’ll always love you like I do because I do, and I will.”

Kelsea and Carrie then joined forces to sing Trisha Yearwood’s 1992 hit, “Walkaway Joe.”

Even today at 27-years-old, Kelsea is the Opry’s youngest member. Recent Opry inductees include Rhonda Vincent (February 2021), Lady A (January 2021), Gene Watson (February 2020), and Luke Combs (July 2019).