When Carrie Underwood inducted Kelsea Ballerini into the Grand Ole Opry, the two also used the moment to combine their talents into one song, Trisha Yearwood's 1992 classic hit, "Walkaway Joe." The pair teased their performance on social media, showing off a rehearsal backstage (with a little help from Keith Urban), before Underwood and Ballerini sang the song after Ballerini became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Ballerini has been a longtime fan of Underwood, who she credits with inspiring her to pursue music while Ballerini was still a young girl.
"I wouldn't know what it looks like to be a female in country music without Carrie Underwood," Ballerini told PopCulture.com and other media backstage before her induction ceremony. "She's the one for me, that I've always looked up to. Not only her music, but I think she has the kindest heart. I think that she's so poised, I think that she just does everything with grace.
"I've always kind of wanted to follow in those footsteps," she continued. "I remember when Randy Travis invited her to join the Opry, and watching that video over and over again. There was just such a magical moment that was captured there."
Ballerini first met Underwood at the Grand Ole Opry, making their performance together a full-circle moment.
"The first time I met Carrie was at the Opry," Ballerini recounted. "I was a fan. I remember I just went up to her and I thought I was just gonna say hi and take a picture like a normal person. Instead, I just blurted out, 'Girl you got soul.' I was like, what? She doesn't remember that, I don't think, which is good. When she decided to be here tonight to [induct me], it's a big deal. She's busy being famous. She's busy rehearsing for a massive world tour.
"The fact that she A, loves the Opry, and B, love women in country music enough to be here tonight is a big deal," she added.
The "Miss Me More" singer also honored Underwood from stage, before their final song.
"I really wouldn't know what it looks to be woman in country music, without Carrie Underwood," Ballerini acknowledged. "Every other female, that is on the wall in the Women of Country dressing room, but especially [Underwood]. I've watched you since you started.
"And, not only do I look up to for your talent and songs, but your grace an your poise and your heart," she continued, speaking directly to Underwood. "And, if I can be half the artist you are, I feel like I'm doing something right. So, thank you for making time tonight, to do this."
Photo courtesy of Grand Ole Opry LLC. Chris Hollo, photographer