NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) — Country music ingénue Kelsea Ballerini has become both the newest and the youngest current member of the Grand Ole Opry.
After performing three of her hits in front of a sold-out crowd, Ballerini was inducted into the Opry during a performance at the Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday by Carrie Underwood, herself an Opry member since 2008.
“You have accomplished so much in your career, and you will undoubtedly accomplish infinite amounts more in your life. Awards, number ones, sales … this is better than all of that. This is the heart and soul of country music,” Underwood said during the induction.
“I am honored to introduce and induct the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, Kelsea Ballerini,” she added after presenting Ballerini with her member award.
Ballerini and Underwood then teamed up for a duet on 20-year Opry member Trisha Yearwood’s 1992 hit “Walkaway Joe.”
Opry group Little Big Town surprised Ballerini last month with an invitation to join the Opry family during an on-stage collaboration on the award-winning song “Girl Crush.”
“We are incredibly pleased to welcome Kelsea Ballerini into the Opry family,” said Opry General Manager Sally Williams. “As evidenced by the enthusiasm of the Opry members here tonight and the fans in the crowd, Kelsea and her music are much loved. She and her fellow members who made tonight so special show that the future of both country music and the Opry are in good hands.”