Kelsea Ballerini joins drag artists at the CMT Music Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country singer Kelsey Ballerini opened the CMT Music Awards honoring the victims of a school shooting while sharing community grief, then danced along with drag artists as states across the country consider limiting performances. withdraw legally,

Ballerini, co-host of the annual awards show with singer Kane Brown, opened the Austin, Texas, show by listing the names of six victims, three adults and three nine-year-olds. who were killed Monday at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. And she noted how she shared their pain, explaining that in 2008 she witnessed a school shooting in the high school cafeteria in her hometown of Knoxville and called for “real action” that would protect children and families.

About two hours after the fan-voted awards ceremony, the Tennessee native sang “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” and danced with Kennedy Davenport, JanSport, Manila Luzon and Olivia Lux, all stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race. .”

Her home state of Tennessee was the first to put in place strict limits on raffle shows, which are set to go into effect this month. The law is temporarily banned After filing a lawsuit earlier this week.

Country star and five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain She received an Equal Play Award, recognizing her for being a “visual and acoustic advocate” for diverse voices in country music. Texas native and Grammy Award-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion introduced the two to dance and hug to Twain’s song, “Man, I feel like a woman.”

Twain said the song’s lyrics became an undercurrent of his decades-long advocacy work.

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“I promise I will continue to stand up for the many outstanding country artists who are not currently being played, are not being broadcast, touring, signed, or awarded at the level they deserve,” Twain said. “I believe in inclusive country music.”

Leading nominee Lainey Wilson picked up early wins with Female Video of the Year for “Heart Like a Truck” and Collaborative Video of the Year for “Wait in the Truck” with HARDY.

Wilson said after winning the award for Female Video of the Year, describing the hit song as an anthem for surviving the scrapes, scrapes, scrapes and bumps along the way. “

This year’s CMT Music Awards fused country, rock, and blues straight from the heart of Texas, with performances including collaborations with Alanis Morissette, The Black Crowes, Gwen Stefani, Gary Clark Jr., and Gwen Stefani. and a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Country Music Hall of Famer Winona Judd And Ashley Judd performed a cover of Foreigner’s song “I Want to Know What Love Is” as thick fog rolled over the stage and into the crowd.

Pop singer Stefani sang her mid-90s no-doubt pop-punk song “Just a Girl” alongside country singer Carly Pierce. Already a two-time winner, Jelly Roll brought a chorus to his prayer-themed song “Need a Favor” and had the audience raise their hands to the roof.

Carrie Underwood has the chance to extend her record as the highest-grossing female artist in CMT history with 25 awards. Underwood, who will also sing, is again nominated for Video of the Year for “Hate My Heart.”

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Four-time Grammy Award winner Clark Jr. paid tribute to late Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan at the top of the show.

Southern rocker Lynyrd Skynyrd will be honored with a tribute performance following the passing of recent original member Gary Rossington in March. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Warren Haynes and Chuck Leavell of the Allman Brothers are also scheduled to perform with vocalists Paul Rodgers and Cody Johnson with backup vocals from LeAnn Rimes and Judd.

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Follow Christine M Hall at https://twitter.com/kmhall

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