Kelsea Ballerini's stripped-down performance of "I Hate Loves Songs" on this week's CMT Music Awards impressed another star who was there: Kelly Clarkson. And after Kelly praised Kelsea on Twitter, Kelsea says she freaked out.
While Kelsea's award show performances are usually big production numbers with glamorous outfits, at the CMT Awards, she wore denim, sat on a stool and just sang. Kelly tweeted, "Nothing like a girl in jeans simply singing a great song and creating an intimate environment in an arena! My personal favorite of the night."
"I saw that tweet...and I had a panic attack!" Kelsea told ABC Radio backstage at Nashville's Nissan Stadium last night. "I mean...she's my favorite artist of all time. And she knows that, I talk about it all the time. So to have her post something like that was really cool."
Explaining the low-key performance, Kelsea says, "I do love the bells and the whistles and the glitter and all that, but I moved to Nashville to write songs, y'know? That's kind of the heart of everything that I do and I haven't really shown that too much yet. So I was really excited to try that."
In August, Kelsea will return to co-host ABC's annual CMA Fest TV special, with Thomas Rhett. She loves the event so much because she used to attend it as a fan.
"I remember going to the Convention Center and waiting in line to meet people, and sitting in the stadium up in the nosebleeds and waiting for my favorite artists to come on stage," she told ABC Radio.
"It's just that week where everyone's together. You feel that community...and you get to say thank you in person," she added. "It's really fulfilling and I always leave this week feeling empowered."