Sarah Darling Trades Rising Star for Opry

This is not a bad way to lose.

Sarah Darling was essentially voted off of Rising Star on Sunday (July 13), but her consolation prize ain’t all bad. She’s going to play the Grand Ole Opry with Brad Paisley on July 18.

Sunday night’s show was the start of the duels, meaning that the 20 contestants who have won on the show so far have to go head-to-head in mini competitions. As host Josh Groban said, they have to “win or go home” and “face the wall and each other.”

But other than that, there was no pressure at all.

Darling was up against Megan Tibbits, who isn’t country but does have one of those sweet soft voices like Darling’s. She also plays about as many instruments as Hunter Hayes. After her performance, Paisley was impressed by Tibbits’ command of her instruments.

But he was also impressed with Darling’s cover of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” He voted yes, and Darling was very close to beating her competition’s score, but she just didn’t get there.

“Well, it’s difficult on a show like this — with a style that you have — for you to project the way that it does when somebody’s more of a gymnast vocally,” Paisley told Darling. “But I thought what you did, you did really, really well.”

Then he told her, “Why don’t you come to the Opry, and we’ll welcome you home.”

He even tweeted the invitation, making it official: “So I meant it @Sarahdarling — come to the @Opry friday night and let us welcome you home to Nashville.”

“So I’m a little disappointed about tonight but really looking forward to playing the Grand Ole Opry with @BradPaisley on Friday,” she replied, adding that God has something amazing planned for her.