Kelsea Ballerini Hosted the 2022 CMT Music Awards From Her Living Room Due to a Last-Minute COVID Diagnosis

Country music star Kelsea Ballerini was set to host the 2022 CMT Music Awards when, at the last minute, she learned she’d tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). But she quickly made the best of the situation, and co-hosted the show remotely from her home while Anthony Mackie held down the crowd in person.

Kelsea Ballerini attends the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Kelsea Ballerini | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Kelsea Ballerini tested positive for COVID before the 2022 CMT Awards

Hours ahead of the CMT Music Awards ceremony in April 2022, Kelsea Ballerini took to Instagram to share an update regarding her health and the status of the show.

“I have some bad news, and I have some good news,” the “Peter Pan” singer started her message. “The bad news is that a couple of days ago, I tested positive for COVID, and the CMT Awards are tonight. So unfortunately I cannot be there in person anymore, and I am devastated. I’m gutted.”

“But, the good news is that I am feeling a lot better,” she continued. “And the incredible CMT family and my team have brought part of the CMT set to my house, to my little bubble, and set it up to where I can still host and perform.”

“It is certainly not what we had expected or planned for, but we are doing our damn best,” she acknowledged. “So I will still you tonight on the Awards, and let’s make some lemonade together out of these very bitter lemons.”

Kelsea Ballerini co-hosted the CMTs from home

As her co-host Anthony Mackie was entertaining the crowd at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Ballerini appeared on a screen above the crowd as she broadcasted live from her living room.

“Is this thing on?” Ballerini said, holding a microphone. “Are you guys really trying to get rid of me already?”

When Mackie joked that she looked great for someone who was sick, she played it off that she had to co-host from her home in Nashville out of health precautions. “This is just my normal Monday night, sitting around in full glam with really good lighting that I set up myself in my living room, with a satellite truck outside,” she laughed.

On top of hosting the show from home, she also staged an impressive performance of her song “Heartfirst.” She even shared a behind-the-scenes look at the minutes before her performance on Twitter, as she warmed up her voice in her bathroom. “‘Heartfirst’: bathroom warmup edition,” she said. “I’m just so, so happy you’re liking this song.”

Kane Brown stepped in to help Anthony Mackie

Singer Kane Brown stepped in to help Mackie as an in-person co-host. Brown hosted the 2021 CMT Music Awards alongside Ballerini, and Mackie was grateful to have him by his side.

“I know all of you were looking forward to seeing Kelsea Ballerini out here tonight on stage co-hosting the show, but she’s under the weather, so she couldn’t co-host,” Mackie said. “Don’t worry! Just like the NFL has backup QBs, here at the CMT Awards, we have backup KBs!”

RELATED: CMT Music Awards: Why You Won’t See Luke Combs Performing This Year