Kelsea Ballerini Performs With 'Drag Race' Alums at CMT Awards

Kelsea Ballerini Performs With 'Drag Race' Alums at CMT Awards

BYJoan SummersApr 03, 2023

Nice things still exist in this hellish world, thankfully.

CMT Music Awards host Kelsea Ballerini made a public statement about Tennessee's widely debated "drag ban" at last night's ceremony. In a surprise move, the host invited RuPaul's Drag Race alums Kennedy Davenport, Manila Luzon, Olivia Lux and Jan Sport to perform onstage with her.

While she performed her hit song "If You Go Down (I'm Goin' Down Too)," the queens pantomimed a '60s backyard barbecue as confetti and rainbow lights rained down on them. Can't get any more obvious than that.

Entertainment Tonight spoke with the queens backstage after the performance. Luzon told the outlet, "Just like all these amazing country music artists, we drag queens are also artists. And we deserve a space to be ourselves, express ourselves, and create something wonderful for everyone to enjoy." Lux added, "It is about the celebration of being a community. And I think that's what we did on the stage tonight."

Ballerini also spoke with the outlet about the performance, saying, "I love performance and I love self-expression and I love inclusivity." The singer has been outspoken on Twitter in the past, especially where it concerns the hatefulness of some in her replies:

She also wished a "happy pride, friends" in 2020 when the Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act also protected gay and trans employees.

She's not the only music star to react to the news of the "drag ban," also known as Senate Bill 3, which passed in March. Prior to its passing, Hayley Williams blasted Tennessee lawmakers over the bill, while country superstar Maren Morris dared police to arrest her after she introduced her son to drag queens at Tennessee's Love Rising fundraiser.

Ballerini's performance comes amid a time of mourning for Nashville, which was rocked by a mass shooting that killed six in March at The Covenant School. During her hosting duties, Ballerini also opened up about her own experience with gun violence in schools: "I wanted to personally stand up here and share this moment because on Aug. 21, 2008, I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central High School, lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria."

Photo via John Shearer/Getty