After confirming positive for COVID-19, Kelsea Ballerini will host the 2022 CMT Music Awards from her home.
“I tested positive for COVID a few days ago, and the CMT Awards are tonight.” So, sadly, I won’t be able to attend in person,” the 28-year-old singer of “Half of My Hometown” said in an Instagram video posted on Monday, April 11. “I’m heartbroken. “I’m devastated.”
Ballerini confirmed that she will still be a part of the event despite not being able to stand on stage with cohost Anthony Mackie: “The amazing CMT family and my crew have moved a piece of the set to my house, to my tiny bubble, and put it up so that I can still host and perform.”
Despite the fact that the setting was far from perfect, the “Miss Me More” singer claimed that everyone involved was “trying our damn best” to make the evening memorable. “I’ll still see you tonight at the Oscars, and let’s create lemonade out of some very bitter lemons,” she said in the comments, before adding, “If you think I’m not utilizing my driveway as a runway for all my lewks, you’d be incorrect.”
Ballerini’s other performers, like Maren Morris, posted comments of encouragement on the post, urging her to “Feel better and slay safely tonight.” Carly Pearce expressed her optimism that Ballerini “still going to crush it!!!” while Mackenzie Porter admitted that the “Dibs” singer “must be so disappointed” to be unable to attend the event in person. The host was also “still going to ROCK it & we can’t wait,” according to the official CMT Awards Instagram feed.
Kane Brown, who co-hosted the program with Mackie in 2020 and 2021, will also be in attendance for the event.
“[I got the call] the day before yesterday. I was in Pennsylvania, and I rushed back [to Nashville] and rehearsed yesterday,” Brown, 28, revealed during an interview alongside Ballerini on CBS Mornings on Monday. “I’m excited. It’s very interesting how we have it set up … I’m just so excited to [host] again. I was honestly kind of bummed when I found out that you only get to do it two years in a row. So, I’m glad I get to come back.”
After having COVID, Ballerini became the second country singer to withdraw from the CMT Awards. After confirming positive for the virus on March 23, Luke Combs, who is eligible for Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year, was pressured to cancel his participation. The 32-year-old vocalist of “Forever After All” was supposed to join Brown for a pre-recorded performance the next day, but she was replaced by Old Dominion.
In a message at the time, a spokeswoman for the awards presentation said, “Unfortunately, Luke Combs will not be with us tomorrow.” “He’s been quarantined because of COVID.” He’s disappointed that he won’t be able to visit everyone!”
The CMT Music Awards 2022 will air on CBS on Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET.3