Kelsea Ballerini Tests Positive For COVID-19 Days Before Hosting CMT Awards: ‘I’m Gutted’

The 'Legends' singer explained that she cannot attend the 2022 CMT Awards with co-host Anthony Mackie, but she'll still be hosting and performing virtually.

Kelsea Ballerini
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Kelsea Ballerini, 28, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will no longer be hosting the 2022 CMT Music Awards in-person. The superstar singer shared the disappointing news in a video shared to her Instagram on the morning of the ceremony (April 11), which she was set to co-host with actor Anthony Mackie, 43.

“A couple days ago I tested positive for COVID. The CMT Awards are tonight, so unfortunately I cannot be there in person anymore, and I am devastated. I’m gutted. The good news is that I’m feeling a lot better,” Kelsea explained.

However, Kelsea did reveal that she’ll still be able to host and perform virtually. “The incredible CMT family and my team have brought part of the CMT set to my house, to my bubble, and set it up to where I can still host and perform. It is certainly not what we had expected and planned for, but we are doing our damn best,” she said. “I will still see you tonight on the awards and let’s make some lemonade together out of these very bitter lemons. I am so sorry, but have so much for me if you’re going to the show, and if you’re watching on TV, I will see you there.” Kane Brown will now join Anthony as an in-person co-host.

This is Kelsea’s second time hosting the CMT Awards. This year’s ceremony is taking place at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, as well as other locations in the city. Performers include Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Mickey Guyton, Maren Morris, Old Dominion, and more.

Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini (Photo: Shutterstock)

Before sharing her COVID-19 news, Kelsea — who won her first CMT Award in 2021 — talked about how excited she was to co-host the award show with Anthony, 43. “To be honest with you, I think we are just going to be cracking up. He’s so funny and just naturally has such a gift of humor that I’m just going to try to keep up,” she told Parade. The “Legends” hitmaker added, “Not only do I get to wear the artist hat and perform and be nominated, but I get to watch side stage as my friends perform, I get to give them awards, I get to be around it. That feeling of being just around it is what got me to Nashville. I love being able to wear both hats.”

The 2022 CMT Music Awards air April 11 at 8pm ET on CBS and Paramount+.

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