Come January, the Grand Ole Opry will have a new member: Crystal Gayle. The singer was invited to join the Opry on Tuesday night (Nov. 15), by Carrie Underwood.

During Tuesday night's Opry at the Ryman performance, Underwood made a surprise appearance during Gayle's set. Together, the two performed Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" -- and then, Underwood popped the question.

"You are an inspiration to so many of us. You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry," Underwood told Gayle onstage, "which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially.”

Gayle made her Grand Ole Opry debut nearly 50 years ago, also on the Ryman Auditorium stage, when she was just 16 years old; she performed Marty Robbins' "Ribbon of Darkness" and, she recalls, "was probably wringing my hands ... and wore a little shiny dress my mother made me" (quote via the Tennessean).

"I have always felt like I was a member of the family," Gayle said from stage on Tuesday night while accepting Underwood's invitation, "and this is just so special.”

Gayle will be formally inducted into the Opry on Jan. 21. Her sister Loretta Lynn -- a Grand Ole Opry member since 1962 -- will do the honors.

“For more than half of the Opry’s 91 years, Crystal Gayle has been lending her signature vocals to Opry shows and connecting with Opry audiences as well as with everyone backstage,” says Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. “She is family, and we are very excited that she’ll become an official Opry member early next year.”

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