Kelsea Ballerini Does Drag Show Performance During CMT Music Awards, Lectures People About Guns

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Kelsea Ballerini thought the CMT Music Awards were the perfect place for a drag show.

The CMTs are arguably the most popular night in country music, which is a genre that historically promotes traditional values and has a fan base that leans conservative.

However, Ballerini, who also hosted, went a very different avenue. During the CMT Awards, she busted out a drag show performance with members of “Drag Race” while performing “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too).”

Yes, on a night dedicated to country music, Kelsea Ballerini performed alongside a drag show.

The performance from Ballerini comes shortly after Tennessee – the home of country music – passed a bill banning drag shows and adult cabaret performances in public or in front of children. They also aren’t allowed to take place within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks or places worship, according to NPR. The bill was recently blocked by a judge and remains in limbo.

It seems impossible to believe this performance wasn’t done as shot in the eye to government leaders in Tennessee. To be crystal clear, it’s not illegal to have a drag show in Tennessee once the law goes into effect, no matter what anyone claims. It just can’t happen in front of kids.

It’s also important to note the show this year was in Austin, but traditionally has been in Nashville.

Kelsea Ballerini also lectured America about guns.

A drag show performance wasn’t the only political stunt Ballerini put on display for fans watching on CBS.

She opened the CMT Music Awards by lecturing the country about guns. The genre that produced “Bullets in the Gun,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Granddaddy’s Gun,” “Time to get a Gun” and plenty of other songs about being armed was used as a platform to seemingly try to disarm the country.

While citing the transgender Nashville shooting and a shooting that touched close to her that she witnessed, Ballerini demanded “real action that moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones.”

Gun control. A classic country music topic.

Ballerini must be forgetting who enjoys country music.

The reactions on social media to Ballerini were mostly positive if you do a quick search. It’s all about how lecturing middle America on guns and putting a drag show on broadcast TV makes her a “queen.”

However, it’s hard to believe most country music fans tuning in for the show are doing so to get political lectures from a 29-year-old.

This is the genre of Johnny Cash, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and plenty of other badass people.

Now, viewers are forced to sit through political messaging instead of just enjoying some music. Is it really a mystery why awards shows are tanking?

AUSTIN, TEXAS – APRIL 02: Kelsea Ballerini performs onstage during the 2023 CMT Music Awards at Moody Center on April 02, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CMT)

People want to be entertained. They don’t want to be lectured about guns, drag shows or anything else. They want to crack a cold beer, pop some popcorn and decompress. Yet, that’s no longer allowed in the world of entertainment. You must get in line or it will be force fed to you. Take a look at Bud Light’s latest ad campaign if you don’t believe me.

Let people enjoy entertainment that doesn’t go woke. It’s not that hard, and America did it for decades without any issues. That’s what people want to get back to. Not nonstop political messaging.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. No wonder they staged this year’s event in Austin. Austin is so far to the left, it makes San Francisco look conservative.

    All you have to do is walk down East 6th Street – the city’s nightlife hub – and you’ll see homeless vagrants mixed in upon the nightlife customers. It’s as if they mashed up a nightclub district with the worst parts of Philadelphia. I don’t normally get uncomfortable when I’m travelling, but I was very nervous walking through that area after 9pm.

    And, unfortunately, thanks to the city’s (now former) woke mayor Steve Adler, Travis County’s (unfortunately current) woke DA Garza and other city and county leaders collective efforts to undermine law enforcement, Austin as a city is becoming a hellhole. It’s gotten to the point where DPS state troopers are being called in to assist Austin PD on a regular basis.

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