America’s top-rated television show is about to join forces for a week with the Show That Made Country Music Famous. American Idol will feature a Grand Ole Opry theme March 17 & 18, as contestants will select and perform songs popularized by Opry members as part of the show’s ongoing competition to name the next American Idol. In addition, Opry members Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis will sing together Travis’ classic hit “I Told You So,” now also Underwood’s latest single. Also appearing will be fellow Opry member Brad Paisley making the television debut of his new single, “Then,” off his forthcoming summer album.
American Idol airs on FOX Tuesday, March 17 8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed and Wednesday, March 18 at 9:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed.
“From one internationally-acclaimed stage to another, we look forward with great anticipation to ‘Grand Ole Opry Week’ on American Idol. Like Idol, the Opry is a stage where dreams can come true,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “Opry members Carrie, Brad, and Randy truly embody everything fans love about the Opry— they’re authentic, have a great appreciation for where country music has been, and are an integral part of its future. We look forward to watching as Idol contestants from across America sing some of the most popular songs to have been sung on the Opry stage, songs that have become part of the fabric of our country.”
Idol contestants will have a virtual treasure trove of country hits from which to choose to perform, as the Opry has for more than eight decades been the definitive showcase for the best in country music. Among the countless country icons who have been Opry members are Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Tammy Wynette. In addition to Paisley, Travis, and Underwood, the Opry today continues to boast the biggest names in country music, including Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton and Josh Turner. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world make pilgrimages to Nashville, Tenn to see the Grand Ole Opry in person, while millions more tune in to the Opry via television, radio, satellite radio, and the Internet.
Underwood made her first live performance on the Grand Ole Opry on June 10, 2005, just two weeks after winning American Idol. Her love for the Opry started as a child as she grew up watching and listening to the show, dreaming of one day performing there and even becoming a member herself. She was invited to become an Opry member by Travis in March 2008 after having performed “I Told You So,” and her official induction took place on May 10, 2008 by Opry member Garth Brooks.
Since winning American Idol in 2005, Underwood has become one of the most popular performers in the nation. Her debut album, Some Hearts, is the biggest selling American Idol debut project to date, having sold more than seven million albums in the United States. With the release of her current album Carnival Ride, she has now sold 10 million albums in just over three years and has had nine No. 1 singles. Her many accolades include eight Billboard Awards, six Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, five Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, five American Music Awards (AMA), four CMT Music Awards, four GRAMMY® Awards, five People’s Choice Awards, two BMI Songwriter Awards, and more.
With over 23 years on the charts, Travis, an Opry member since 1986, is one of the top ten selling solo country artists of all time. He has sold over 21 million albums, and he has 22 No. 1 hits, six GRAMMY® Awards, five CMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, and ten AMA’s to his name. His most recent album, Around the Bend, was nominated for two 2008 GRAMMY® Awards.
Since making his debut with 1986’s multi-platinum Storm’s of Life, Travis has gone on to release many memorable albums including Always & Forever, Old 8x10, High Lonesome, This Is Me, Full Circle, and Rise and Shine. His many hits include “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Three Wooden Crosses,” “1982,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “He Walked on Water,” “Look Heart, No Hands,” and “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart” among many others.
In addition to his extraordinary recording career, Travis has appeared in many films, television movies, and episodes of dramatic series. His film appearances include Fire Down Below, Black Dog, Frank and Jess, The Rainmaker, Texas Rangers, and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. He also appeared in seven episodes of Touched By An Angel and has guest starred on series such as Matlock, Blues Clues, Hey Arnold, and King of the Hill. Travis' new CD, I Told You So: The Ultimate Hits of Randy Travis, is in stores March 17.
Paisley recently marked his eighth year as an Opry member, having been inducted by his friend and mentor Steve Wariner on Feb. 17, 2001. The West Virginia native embraces his Opry membership with numerous Opry performances each year and treasured friendships with Opry members, including country legend Little Jimmy Dickens, who has made several appearances in Paisley’s music videos. Paisley is the reigning ACM and CMA Male Vocalist of the Year and has garnered thirteen No. 1 singles with a record-setting nine consecutive. He was awarded two GRAMMY® Awards this year and is currently the most nominated artist for the upcoming ACM Awards, with six nods. His The Paisley Party Tour is concluding this week after having played to over 775,000 fans in seven months. American Saturday Night, Paisley’s next CD will be in stores June 30.
The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®. Opry performances are held every weekend of the year and on Tuesdays through December. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit www.opry.com.