Little Big Town thought they would simply be performing and enjoying another night at the Grand Ole Opry. Boy, were they in for a big surprise.
On Friday night (Oct. 3), the foursome took the stage to perform for fans and walked away with an invitation to become the Opry’s newest members.
As the group finished a three-song set with its smash “Pontoon,” Reba McEntire appeared from the side of the stage, singing along on the last few words before greeting Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook and his wife and bandmate Karen Fairchild.
“I feel that the Grand Ole Opry is very important to y’all because this was the first place you guys played together as a group in 1999,” McEntire said. “Is that correct?”
After a collective yes from the group, McEntire said, “OK, so I have been asked to ask y’all, ’Little Big Town, would you like to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry?'”
What happened is a bit of a blur for Little Big Town.
“I think I hugged her,” Fairchild told CMT Hot 20 Countdown afterwards. “Like I buried my head in her chest, like, ’Hold me!'”
“My heart was leaping out of my chest,” Sweet said. “I was just thinking, ’Oh, my gosh. Our first public performance was on this stage, and look what’s going on right now!’ Everything was happening all at once.”
“And every time we think in this band that we have reached these incredible milestones together, this great joy … and then it gets better and it just keeps going,” Fairchild said. “But this is the pinnacle.”
The night topped off an eventful week for the group after celebrating their upcoming album, Pain Killer, during an intimate concert in Nashville.
“We were so amped up from last night and the show we did on debuting the record,” Fairchild said. “We were so focused on that that we were probably dragging a little bit today. We had family in town because they were here for last night’s album premiere, so we weren’t connecting that they were staying the weekend.”
“It was so, so good!” Sweet said.
Vince Gill will induct the quartet into the Opry on Oct. 17. Pain Killer will be released Oct. 21.
For more information, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 11-12) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.