Kelsea Ballerini could not make it to the Nashville Municipal Auditorium for Monday night’s 2022 CMT Music Awards after she tested positive for COVID-19, but that did not stop her from walking a red carpet. CMT hilariously installed a temporary red carpet outside her home, complete with a backdrop! Ballerini will also co-host the show with Kane Brown and Anthony Mackie and perform virtually.
“When you can’t make it to the carpet, so they bring the carpet to you, and it just happens to be in your driveway, outside of your garage… Anything is possible, y’all,” Ballerini told fans in her Instagram Story. Ballerini’s red carpet partner was her dog, appropriate for National Pet Day. She wore a white Michael Kors suit, which stylist Molly Dickson dropped off for her.
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On Monday morning, Ballerini told fans she tested positive for COVID-19. “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,” she said in an Instagram video. Thankfully, she is “feeling a lot better,” so CMT and her team set up equipment at her house so she could still perform. “Let’s make some lemonade together out of these very bitter lemons,” she said. Brown also stepped in at the last moment to join Mackie as an in-person co-host.
In an interview with PopCulture.com before COVID sidelined her, Ballerini said she was excited to participate in the CMT Awards because it’s the only fan-voted country music awards show. “This year, it’s going to be bigger. I’m excited that I get to wear all the hats, perform, host, all the things,” Ballerini said. “I’ve realized something about myself. I live in my head. I’m a huge overthinker. When I actually have a lot of hats to wear, I don’t have time to overthink. I just kind of enjoy it more because I’m just in a full sprint. It’s good for me this way, it’s better this way.”
Ballerini also earned three nominations, including Video of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year for “Half of My Hometown,” her duet with Kenny Chesney. She was also nominated for CMT Performance of the Year for her performance of “I Quit Drinking” with Paul Klein at the 2021 CMT Music Awards. In 2021, she won CMT Performance of the Year for “The Other Girl” with Halsey.
While some performers are not big fans of hosting, Ballerini told us she was more nervous about her performance. “That’s my day job. That’s where I need to put the most focus,” she said. “Then with hosting, it’s just like, I’m just hanging out, talking with my friends. That’s kind of how I’ve always thought about it. I don’t feel too much pressure on that front yet.”
The CMT Music Awards ceremony is airing live on CBS for the first time, ahead of special content on CMT throughout the week. A “director’s cut” of the ceremony will also air on CMT later. The show will also stream on Paramount+.