“A couple days ago, I tested positive for COVID and the CMT Awards are tonight. So, unfortunately, I cannot be there in person anymore,” the “Half of My Hometown” singer, 28, announced in a video shared via Instagram on Monday, April 11. “I’m devastated. I’m gutted.”
Despite not being able to stand on the stage alongside cohost Anthony Mackie, however, Ballerini revealed that she will still be a part of the ceremony: “The incredible CMT family and my team have brought part of the set to my home, to my little bubble, and set it up to where I can still host and perform.”
While the “Miss Me More” performer acknowledged that the situation was far from ideal, she promised that everyone involved was “doing our damn best” to make the evening special. “I’ll still see you tonight on the awards, and let’s make some lemonade out of some very bitter lemons,” she concluded her video, before joking in the comments: “If you think I’m not using my driveway as a runway for all my lewks, you’d be wrong though.”
Several of Ballerini’s fellow musicians left messages of support on the post, including Maren Morris, who urged her to “Feel better and slay safely tonight.” Mackenzie Porter acknowledged that the “Dibs” singer “must be so bummed” to not attend the show in person, while Carly Pearce shared her belief that Ballerini was “still gonna kill it!!!” The official CMT Awards Instagram account also wrote that the host was “still going to ROCK it & we can’t wait.”
“[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.”
Ballerini is the second country star to step back from the CMT Awards in the wake of contracting COVID. On March 23, Luke Combs — who is nominated for Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year — was forced to cancel his performance after testing positive for the virus. The “Forever After All” singer, 32, was scheduled to join Brown for a pre-taped performance the following day but was replaced by Old Dominion.
“Unfortunately, Luke Combs won’t be with us tomorrow,” a spokesperson for the awards show told Country Now in a statement at the time. “He is quarantined with COVID. He’s bummed to miss seeing everyone!”
The 2022 CMT Music Awards will air on CBS Monday, April 11, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.