Eighteen years ago today (June 10, 2005) was an unforgettable day for Carrie Underwood: It was on that date that the Oklahoma native made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry, only a couple of weeks after she was declared the Season 4 winner of American Idol.

During her first Opry performance, Underwood performed "Inside Your Heaven," the song she sang after she was crowned Idol champion. She also sang the Roy Orbison song "Crying," which she had performed on the TV singing competition.

"To be honest, I don't remember too much about my first trip to Nashville as an American Idol winner," Underwood tells USA Today. "Everything happened so fast; it was all such a blur. The show ended May 25. I went home for a week or so to see my family, then came [to Nashville] to make my debut."

Underwood says that she always dreamed of performing on the famous Opry stage, even while growing up in her small town of Checotah, Okla.

"I don't even know how, but I always knew what [the Grand Ole Opry] was," the singer says. "You don't have to see it or hear it, you automatically just know what it is. That's how legendary it is."

At the time of Underwood's first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, her debut album, Some Hearts, was still five months away from its release date. But it didn't take long for the Opry to realize the significance of Underwood's presence: Less than three years later, on March 15, 2008, she was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Underwood was officially inducted into the hallowed institution on May 10, 2008, by Garth Brooks.

“The induction award they gave me says, ‘Hey, you’re a part of the family,’” Underwood says. “It means a lot to me because it’s the heart of country music, the church, the sacred place, the super-elite club that says you love this music.”

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