Luke Combs is one artist on this list of underestimated artists who was formally rejected again, and again, and again.

The Voice, record labels, publishers — nobody believed in the North Carolinian at first. Now, 15 chart-topping songs later, there's no one who's more of a sure thing thank Combs. It's a classic underestimation, but certainly not the only remarkable story in the history of country music.

Go ahead and call these 10 artists underdogs if you want, although the title is now laughable for No. 4. There are five legitimate superstars, two American Idol finalists and country music's first real viral sensation in the group. They've proven themselves worthy in ways nobody saw coming.

In 2023, we couldn't be happier to be wrong.

10 Artists We Totally Underestimated

Oliver Anthony is country music's newest underdog, but he's just next in line on a list of hitmakers that fans, the media and the music industry scoffed at.

This list of 10 artists we underestimated includes at least five legitimate superstars with dozens of No. 1 hits, two American Idol finalists and country music's first real viral sensation. Each has proven themselves worthy in ways nobody saw coming.

26 Country Stars You Won't Believe Aren't Grand Ole Opry Members

Fifteen living CMA or ACM Entertainers of the Year are not members of the Grand Ole Opry, and a few of them barely recognize the vaunted stage. George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson are three legends who rarely play the Grand Ole Opry. Why?

That answer is often difficult to determine, but this list suggests reasons where appropriate. Membership into the Grand Ole Opry comes with an obligation to play the show frequently, but that's often set aside (Barbara Mandrell is an inactive member, for example). Only living artists are considered, and once a member dies, they are no longer a member.

As of 2023, there are more than 70 members of the Grand Ole Opry. Historically, nearly 250 men, women and groups were members — so, it's a select group that excludes several Country Music Hall of Famers.

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