CMT Music Awards 2022 host Kelsea Ballerini has tested positive for Covid-19. The singer took to Instagram on Monday, the same day the big show kicks off on CBS at 8 p.m. ET, to share the news that she would have to bow out of appearing in person due to her diagnosis. However, she will still assist remotely, and her 2021 CMT Awards co-host Kane Brown will help 2022 co-host Anthony Mackie while holding things down live from the event.
“Alright friends, I have some bad news, and I have some good news,” Ballerini said in a video posted to Instagram. “The bad news is that a couple of days ago I tested positive for COVID and the CMT Awards are tonight, so unfortunately I cannot be there in person anymore.” The singer went on to say that she is “devastated” about the situation, but noted that the “good news” is she is currently “feeling a lot better.” Ballerini added, “The incredible CMT team and my team have bought part of the CMT set to my house, to my little bubble, and set it up to where I can still host and perform. It is certainly not what we had expected or planned for, but we are doing our damn best. … Let’s make some lemonade together out of these very bitter lemons.”
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PEOPLE reports that the CMT Music Awards confirmed the news in a new statement following Ballerini’s social media post. “CMT Music Awards co-host, Kelsea Ballerini, tested positive for COVID-19,” the company said. “Fortunately, she is asymptomatic and remains excited to co-host the show (remotely).” The statement then noted Brown “graciously agreed to step in” and co-host with Mackie. “They have plenty of surprises in store for tonight’s show,” the fan-voted awards show organizers concluded.
Notably, in addition to being a host at the 2022 CMT Music Awards, Ballerini is scheduled to perform a new single, “Heartfirst.” There is no word on if this will change based on the new developments. The singer is also a nominee this year, picking up three nominations. She and Kenny Chesney are nominated for Video of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year for their hit song “Half of My Hometown.” Ballerini is also nominated with Paul Klein for CMT Performance of the Year for their 2021 CMT Music Awards performance of “I Quit Drinking.”