Kelsea Ballerini Performs With Drag Queens At 2023 CMT Music Awards: “If You Go Down, I’m Goin’ Down Too”

Ballerini brought the retro vibes of her new music video to life at the coveted awards show.

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Andrew Wendowski

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Posted on April 3, 2023

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Kelsea Ballerini, Kennedy Davenport Olivia Lux, Jan Sport; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT

Kelsea Ballerini supported the LGBTQIA+ community through her performance at the 2023 CMT Music Awards where she was joined by Drag Race stars Manila Luzon, Kennedy Davenport, Jan Sport, and Olivia Lux. 

Taking the stage to perform her latest single, “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” Ballerini brought the retro vibes of her new music video to life. The performance included vibrant colors, 70s outfits, and a set that resembled Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm” down music video. 

Watch Kelsea Ballerini’s CMT Music Awards Performance Below

YouTube video

Donning a blonde bouffant wig, a floral outfit, and a green jacket, Ballerini delivered a flawless rendition of the upbeat country hit as the drag queens sat at the tables behind her. 

Later, the Drag Race stars got up and danced around her and they made their way down the catwalk as confetti exploded around them. 

Her performance comes as many states, including Tennessee, have introduced bills that threaten to ban drag queens. 

Kelsea Ballerini And Chase Stokes Made Their Red Carpet Debut At The Awards, Click HERE To See Photos

Ballerini previously opened up about the tune and the meaning behind it. 

“It’s a song all about friendship and camaraderie,” she recently told Entertainment Tonight of the song, “and the people in your life that you just will stand up for and kind of your ride or dies.” 

“If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)” is the current single from Ballerini’s latest full-length album, SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Released in September of 2022, the 15-track collection includes fan-favorites like “Heartfirst,” “You’re Drunk, Go Home” with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce, and “Doin’ My Best.” 

Watch The Music Video Below

The East Tennessee native recently brought the song to life with a hilarious retro music video, released on Thursday. 

YouTube video

Directed by Patrick Tracy, the video features the country star playing the role of a charming and stylish young wife who ends up committing murder. She almost gets away with it, thanks to her group of girlfriends, but her nosy neighbor ends up learning all her secrets. 

“I wanted something that had a real look and feel to it,” she explained in a statement. “But it needed to be fun… and funny. I wanted something that made people laugh and clink their glasses, because when I wrote this, I wanted ‘If You Go Down’ to be a song that was a reason to turn up the dial.” 

Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux, and Kennedy Davenport, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT
Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux, and Kennedy Davenport, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for CMT

Most recently, Ballerini bared her heart with the release of Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, a personal EP documenting the aftermath of her divorce from fellow country singer, Morgan Evans. 

Currently, Kelsea Ballerini is on the I Go Back Tour with Kenny Chesney. The trek runs through late May. 

Co-hosted by Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini, the 2023 CMT Music Awards featured performances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Carrie Underwood, Cody Johnson, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Lainey Wilson, and Tyler Hubbard. 

Kelsea Ballerini, Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux and Kennedy Davenport; Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for CMT
Kelsea Ballerini, Manila Luzon, Jan Sport, Olivia Lux and Kennedy Davenport; Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for CMT

Additionally, the show included one-of-a-kind collaborations, including a 10th anniversary of CMT Next Women of Country celebration featuring Alanis Morissette with Lainey Wilson, Ingrid Andress, Madeline Edwards, and Morgan Wade. Gwen Stefani and Carly Pearce joined forces for a special collaboration, while Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown teamed up for the television premiere of their chart-topping duet, “Thank God.” 

The Black Crowes and Darius Rucker delivered a first-time collaboration of “She Talks To Angels,” and Wynonna Judd and Ashley McBryde will also take the stage together. 

The show also included a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan from Gary Clark, Jr. and a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute from Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash & Warren Haynes and LeAnn Rimes & Wynonna Judd as honorary “Honkettes.”

Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT
Chase Stokes and Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy of Getty Images for CMT

Rising stars Avery Anna, Chapel Hart, Jackson Dean, Lily Rose, Nate Smith, and Megan Moroney made their CMT Music Awards performance debut on the Ram Trucks Side Stage.  

Carly Pearce, Carrie Underwood, Charles Esten, Dixie D’Amelio, Dustin Lynch, HARDY, Ian Bohen + Jen Landon (Yellowstone), Jon Pardi, LeAnn Rimes, Madison Bailey (Outer Banks), Max Thieriot (Fire Country), Megan Thee Stallion, Noah Schnapp (Stranger Things), Parker McCollum, Peter Frampton, Shania Twain, Steve Howey (True Lies) and Travis Kelce appeared as presenters. 

The coveted awards show aired live from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday, April 2 at 8/7c on CBS. It was also available to stream live and on-demand via Paramount+. 

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