Although the 28-year-old singer tested positive for COVID-19 days prior to the awards show, she didn’t let that stop her from serving looks from her home on Monday, April 11.
“I’ll still see you tonight on the awards, and let’s make some lemonade out of some very bitter lemons,” Ballerini told her fans via social media hours before putting on her hosting hat. “If you think I’m not using my driveway as a runway for all my lewks, you’d be wrong though.”
Once the show started, the “Miss Me More” artist stayed true to her promise, treating viewers to multiple outfit changes, including a new look for performing her newest song, “Heartfirst.” .
The “Half of My Hometown” songstress, who shared the hosting duties with Anthony Mackie and Kane Brown, previously teased her wardrobe shakeup, telling E! News on Thursday, April 7, she planned five different ensembles.
“That’s the perk of hosting is, like, I get to do my performance look and my carpet look, but then I get to do, like, a full fashion show,” the Tennessee native said during an appearance on Daily Pop. “Because, every time I’m on stage, it’s gonna be something else. That’s the other side of the fun.”
The “Hole in the Bottle” singer, who made her CMT Music Awards hosting debut during last year’s show, hinted that her jam-packed night was only nerve-racking when it came to her high-anticipated performance.
“What I’m supposed to be good at is singing, so I have a lot more pressure on myself to perform well because that’s my job. And I’m like, ‘If I mess up reading a prompter, that’s not what I’m great at, so that’s OK,'” Ballerini said on Thursday. “So, I feel a little bit less pressure with the talking part. It’s the singing part that I’m like, ‘If I mess that up, then I’m firing myself.'”
“When I’m wearing that many hats [he has to be there]. He’s very steady, he’s very calm, and I’m like the Energizer bunny,” Ballerini added. “I’m like always like, ‘Ah, what’s next?’ He’s very good at keeping me steady. Especially on a night like Monday, it’s gonna be needed.”
Ahead of her return as the CMT Music Awards cohost, the southern belle dropped her latest single, “Heartfirst,” on Friday, April 8. The track was cowritten by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and represents a new chapter in Ballerini’s music career.
“It’s like a bop, breezy, windows down, go for a drive, get right,” the artist teased on the Grammys red carpet on April 3. She also revealed that some of her upcoming album was written on vacation, hinting that it’s “the other side” of her recent “Half of My Hometown” ballad.
Scroll down to see all of Ballerini’s 2022 CMT Music Awards looks: