Kelsea Ballerini co-hosts the CMT Music Awards from home

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The CMT Music Awards benefited from the last-minute absence of co-host Kelsea Ballerini, who tested positive for COVID-19 days before Monday’s show.

Ballerini’s co-host, actor Anthony Mackie, took the stage alone at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium after opening performances on CBS’s live broadcast of Keith Urban’s single “Wild Hearts” and the duo ” Never Say Never” by Cole Swindell and Lainey Wilson.

“I know you’ve all been looking forward to seeing Kelsea Ballerini here on stage tonight, but she’s a little under the weather,” ‘Avengers’ actor Mackie said. “But just like the NFL has backup QBs, here at the CMA Awards we have backup KBs.”

He then brought in his “KB” replacement, singer Kane Brown, who was called in to help with hosting. Brown, who has hosted the show twice before, is the night’s biggest nominee.

Singers Thomas Rhett and Martina McBride both stood up in the audience and volunteered to help with hosting, but were turned away.

Then Ballerini appeared on the big screen from her home wearing a full formal dress in her living room.

“It’s my normal Monday night, full glam, with lighting I installed myself and a remote truck outside,” Ballerini said. “I would so much rather be here with you, but I’ll be spending the whole night.”

The show’s producers announced earlier Monday that Ballerini, who is asymptomatic, would be co-hosting from home.

The top prize of the night on the fan-voted show honoring the best country music videos went to Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, who won collaborative video of the year for their duet ‘If I Didn’ t Love You”.

“This song has been so amazing this year, the way you fans have responded to it,” Aldean said.

It was a record fourth CMT award for Underwood, who is also set to perform on the show.

“Thank you fans. Thank you CMT, woo!” Underwood shouted.

Little Big Town and Old Dominion also hit the stage within the first half hour of a show that makes performances come quickly.

The change in accommodations wasn’t the only setback the show had to deal with: lightning forced the CMT’s pink carpet to close before most of the stars arrived for their photos and interviews. .

The show will also feature Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Guyton and Black Pumas, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd and Carly Pearce.

The Judds are also reuniting for their first major awards show in over two decades.


Dalton reported from Los Angeles.


Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter:

Comments are closed.