Underwood spoke directly to Ballerini in an emotional speech about the rising star's career and what it means to be a member of the Opry family.
"You have accomplished so much in your career 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," Underwood said to Ballerini. "The Opry has been and will always be here, the heart and soul of country music. You are in it. Congratulations. Welcome to the family."
Ballerini expressed her gratitude to Underwood for being there and paving the way for a new generation of artists.
"I really wouldn't know what it looks like to be a woman in country music without Carrie Underwood. Your grace and your poise and your heart... if I can be half the artist you are, I feel like I'm doing something right," Ballerini said.
The "Miss Me More" singer reflected on the first time she played the Opry and how important the institution is to her.
"There's rarely been a moment that's made me just stop and take a minute and be grateful and look up and one that I remember is February 14, 2015 and that is when I made my Opry debut. And one is right now," Ballerini said. "I just want to say that it's so nice and comforting to know that no matter where life takes me and no matter if the radio stops playing me tomorrow—whatever happens, I can always come here and I can always play country music."
Now Watch: Songs Every Reba McEntire Fan Knows By Heart
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.