American Idol finalist Kree Harrison had a moment a few years ago that she will forever cherish.
The aspiring star was invited to sing a duet with Mindy McCready, who took her own life last month, during a 2011 CMA event at Rippy's in downtown Nashville. It turns out, the two were pals.
"We became good friends a while back," Harrison recently told E! News. "I was very, very heartbroken to hear what happened. We didn't talk all the time but I saw her around in Nashville. Nashville is a really small town...It tore my heart to hear about her. I have had loss with my parents. I pray for her sons a lot. It's terrible."
In the video clip, courtesy of Music City on Demand, McCready calls her buddy Kree up onstage, saying, "Girl, listen. Since I've known you since you were about 10 or 11 or something like that, we've never sang together. So why don't you come up and sing with me?"
Before engaging in a rendition of "Guys Do It All the Time," the country singer explained, "Kree and I met in the craziest story. It's too long to tell but we met through a con artist and a dentist appointment and a People magazine photo shoot, and now she's this gorgeous, amazing singer."
She also added, "This song was recorded 15 or so years ago, and every single time that I run into a man that knows the song and knows who I am, he always says something about this song, like, how dare I? ‘That was terrible of you to record a song like that.'
"And every single time I tell them the same thing, I recorded this song for the women—for the girls—and I don't care if you don't like it. So girls, this is your woman's national anthem."
Another close McCready friend, Shawn Carnes, who opened for the singer during many performances (including the one in Nashville with Harrison), told E! News, "I remember the first time I met Mindy, she was with Kree, and Mindy told me how great a singer Kree was and that she really believed in her."
"Kree's smile is so beautiful," Carnes added. "I remember Mindy telling me how Kree needed some dental work and she had fixed her smile for her."
Unfortunately, Mindy didn't live to see Kree make it to American Idol.
"I know Mindy had no clue she was going to be on American Idol. I just learned it the week Mindy took her life," Carnes said. "Mindy felt Kree was a stand-out talent and she deserved the respect and success that a lot of girls don't get. Mindy would be proud of her."