WATCH: Kelsea Ballerini Surprises Carrie Underwood Onstage To Make Big Surprise Announcement

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NARAS)

On Wednesday (November 2), country music icon Carrie Underwood traveled to Austin Texas’ Moody Center for yet another sold-out show on her Denim & Rhinestones Tour. Standing atop the newly constructed stage, the “Ghost Story” singer was met with thousands upon thousands of screaming fans. And, to her surprise, an appearance from fellow country star Kelsea Ballerini.

During the show, Kelsea Ballerini stepped on stage carrying a large belt bedecked with hot pink tassels. Carefully holding the front of the belt to her side to avoid revealing the surprise, Kelsea addressed the audience.

“Do you guys know that in the history of the CMT Awards, this queen has the highest number of CMT Awards ever? It’s 25 to be exact,” Ballerini said, revealing the face of the championship belt in her hands.

“So we have a Denim & Rhinestone Champion belt for you!” Kelsea Ballerini added, presenting the bedazzled belt to Carrie Underwood.

The “Heartfirst” singer then informed the crowd of a few details regarding the 2023 CMT Music Awards. First, they will be hosted at the Moody Center in Austin for the very first time on Sunday, April 2. Kelsea Ballerini will also serve as co-host of the awards, marking her third time in the all-important role.

While still on stage, Ballerini then revealed to an ecstatic crowd that the first official performer for the 2023 awards show is none other than Carrie Underwood herself.

CMT Awards Producers Add to Kelsea Ballerini’s Surprise Announcements

Following the exciting Kelsea Ballerini cameo, CMT Music Awards Executive Producers released their own statement regarding next year’s awards show.

“Both Austin and Nashville are two of the world’s greatest music cities,” they wrote. “And we couldn’t be more excited to announce the return of the CMT Music Awards on CBS than with co-host Kelsea Ballerini surprising Carrie Underwood, our most awarded artist, in the middle of her incredible live performance at Moody Center – the exact venue where we’ll all be back exactly five months from today!”

“Our fans are in for an unforgettable night of music with plenty of surprises. The Live Music Capital [will] meet Music City for the first time ever on a national stage in what will be a true country music extravaganza.”

Tom Noonan, president and CEO, Austin CVB, added his thoughts as well. “We are beyond thrilled to welcome the CMT Music Awards to Moody Center in 2023!” he said. “This event will have not only a huge financial impact on Austin and its tourism industry, but it will also showcase two of the top music brands globally, Austin as The Live Music Capital of the World and Country Music Television.”