Reprise Records recording artist Blake Shelton became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry tonight, inducted by Opry member Trace Adkins before a sold-out Opry House audience including family, friends, and fans.
Backstage before his induction, Shelton said, “tonight for me is the Nashville dream. Tonight is the pinnacle. This is what I wanted from the beginning—to make a mark. And tonight is the ultimate one.”
Shelton opened the show with his multi-week No. 1 hit “It’s All About Tonight,” then returned later to sing “She Wouldn’t be Gone” followed by a duet with Adkins on “Hillbilly Bone.” Adkins officially inducted him into the Opry, presenting him with the Opry Member Award and saying, “with great reverence and respect, it means the world to me to be the one to hand this to you and say, ‘Blake Shelton, you’re the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry!’”
Holding the award, Shelton shared with the audience that he’d been trying to find a way to describe his thoughts on joining the Opry since having been invited to become a member on Sept. 28. “Last night I was lying awake in a hotel room and I finally put it into words,” he said. “I get the same feeling when I come to the Opry as when I see one of my heroes. I am in awe. To me, the Grand Ole Opry is an artist and I’m really proud to be one of its songs.”
The Opry Member Award is a 14-inch bronze and oak wood replica of the Opry’s vintage microphone stand designed by renowned sculptor Bill Rains. Later in the night, Shelton added his own plaque to the Opry’s Member Gallery, a new addition to the Opry House following the venue’s restoration after May’s flood.
Shelton, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut on May 5, 2001, concluded the show with his hit “Home.”
“Blake has developed a strong connection to the Opry and its members since he made his Opry debut in 2001, and it has been great to see his career bust wide open over the past year,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “We’re very happy to formally welcome Blake into our family and look forward to great performances and a whole lot of fun ahead.”