Kelsea Ballerini Makes Set List Change During New Year’s Eve Performance To Reflect On Her ‘Brutal Year’
“I just feel like this is maybe just something that I needed to do to wrap up my year to sing this song with you,” Ballerini shared.
Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Mary Kouw, CBS
Kelsea Ballerini rang in 2023 in front of thousands of fans in Nashville and took a moment to reflect on the ups and downs of 2022 while on stage.
The chart-topping superstar was one of several country artists who performed live in front of a record-breaking crowd of 210,000 at Bicentennial Mall in Nashville, Tennessee. Their performances aired on the CBS special, New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash.
In addition to Ballerini, Brooks & Dunn and Zac Brown Band also performed at Bicentennial Mall. The show’s co-hosts Elle King and Jimmie Allen also made appearances at the event.
Ahead of her performance at Nashville’s Big Bash, Ballerini took to TikTok to share a clip as she got ready. Donning a gray robe and under eye masks, the 29-year-old celebrating the end of what she called a “brutal year.”
During her set, Ballerini made an in-the-moment decision to perform “Homecoming Queen,” a track from her third studio album, kelsea.
Prior to performing the tune, the “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too)” singer shared a vulnerable moment with fans.
“I also want to say if this was a hard year for you, whether it’d be internally or externally. You’re super not alone. I know this was a brutal year for a lot of people and it was a brutal year for me,” she honestly shared.
The East Tennessee native went on to encourage fans to embrace their feelings.
“I just want to say one of the things I learned just growing up is the way to honor your life is to honor your feelings and when you feel happy. You should feel like really, really happy, and when you’re really sad. You should let yourself feel really, really sad. When you want to smile, you should let yourself smile, and when you want to cry you should let yourself cry.”
She admitted that she originally didn’t plan to sing “Homecoming Queen” but decided to add it to her set because “I just feel like this is maybe just something that I needed to do to wrap up my year to sing this song with you.”
She continued, “So, this is for anyone who had a hard year and for anyone that’s shed some tears and for anyone that’s ready to step back into their power next year.”
Ballerini’s comments come after she endured a public divorce from fellow country singer Morgan Evans. The couple’s divorce was finalized in mid-November on the same day Ballerini earned a GRAMMY nomination and picked up the keys to her new home.
Wearing a white version of an outfit she previously wore on her Heartfirst Tour, she also performed songs such as “Doin’ My Best” and “Heartfirst” from her latest project, Subject To Change.
One day after her performance on Nashville’s Big Bash, Ballerini shared a TikTok eating breakfast from McDonald’s after a long evening.
Next up, Kelsea Ballerini will bring her Heartfirst Tour to the United Kingdom. Kicking off on Feb. 23, the four-date run will visit Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, and London.
In the Spring, Ballerini will hit the road with her longtime friend and musical hero, and “Half Of My Hometown” collaborator, Kenny Chesney, on the I Go Back Tour. The trek will visit 21 cities and will kick off on March 25 in State College, PA.
“Music has taken me so many incredible places,” Ballerini said. “Around the world, singing with some of my heroes in pop, alternative and contemporary music, but singing with Kenny is going home. He was the only voice I heard on ‘half of my hometown,’ and when he comes in, it’s just like hitting the Knoxville city limits. So to be able to go out to those cities like the place he and I grew up with an artist who’s accomplished what he has, it’s a lot like going home.”
For a complete list of upcoming tour dates, visit Kelsea Ballerini’s official website.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.