WATCH: Dolly Parton Pulls Off Sweet Surprise Inviting Carly Pearce to Join the Grand Ole Opry

by Jim Casey
(photo by Alexa Campbell, courtesy of Grand Ole Opry)

Carly Pearce received the surprise of a lifetime when Dolly Parton invited her to join the Grand Ole Opry.

In a rare occurrence, Carly’s invitation to join the esteemed organization actually took place off of the Opry stage. Dolly dropped the bombshell announcement on June 17, while Carly was filming what she believed was a promo for Dollywood. Of course, the Opry set up the entire ruse for Carly, who began performing at Dollywood when she was 16 years old.

Carly shared the once-in-a-lifetime news during her set on the Opry stage on June 22. A video of the surprise invitation was played so Carly could experience the moment in front of a live Opry crowd. Not surprisingly, Carly received a standing ovation.

“Truly this is the most precious place and the most precious family I could ever be a part of,” said Carly Pearce. “I’ve experienced so many wonderful things in my career so far, but this takes the cake.”

Carly Follows in Dolly’s Footsteps

Carly has graced the Opry stage on 85 occasions.

During Carly’s faux promo shoot for Dollywood, Dolly walked into frame and referenced that number before saying, “You should be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, what’s wrong with them? Well, I came here today to tell you, you are now an official member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

As expected, Carly was overcome with emotion.

“When one of ours has a special moment, it’s an honor to be part of that,” said Dolly Parton. “Carly is a real songwriter and bright heart—and I loved getting to ask her to do something so very special.”

“[The Opry] has been the greatest love of my life since I was a young girl listening with my grandparents,” added Carly. “All of the greatest writers, legends, and pioneers have been on that stage. And I feel them in my bones anytime I walk in the stage door. To actually be asked to join the Opry family, there are no words.”

However, what’s truly amazing is the invitation marked the first time that Dolly Parton, who has been an Opry member since 1969, has asked someone to join the long-running institution.

“Dolly is not only one of America’s greatest living songwriters, vocalists, entertainers, and superstars, she represents all of the values country music holds for me,” added Carly.

Carly will be officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on Aug. 3.

Recent Opry inductees include Rhonda Vincent (February 2021), Lady A (January 2021), Gene Watson (February 2020), and Luke Combs (July 2019).