Kelsea Ballerini featured four Drag Race stars during her LGBTQ+ inclusive CMT Music Awards performance. 

On 2 April, country music’s biggest stars congregated at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, for the highly anticipated award show – which Kane Brown and Ballerini hosted. 

While the CMT Awards was full of showstopping performances and landmark wins, the event also featured a surprise appearance from Drag Race’s Olivia Lux, Kennedy Davenport, Manila Luzon and Jan Sport.

The foursome’s iconic appearance occurred during Ballerini’s 60s-inspired performance of her hit track, If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too).

While the Grammy-nominated artist serenaded the crowd with her feel-good lyrics and impressive guitar-playing skills, the beloved queens strutted across the stage in their sickening retro outfits. 

Towards the end of their performance, the four queens danced alongside Ballerini as rainbow confetti floated down from the ceiling. 

In response to the LGBTQ+ inclusive performance, fans of both country music and Drag Race flocked to Twitter to praise Ballerini and the queens. 

One viewer wrote: “This is an INSANE display of allyship on such a large scale. Thank you so much @KelseaBallerini & @CMT, for showing drag queens are not the issue.” 


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Another fan tweeted: “Kelsea Ballerini kicking off the CMT Awards with an earnest, gut-wrenching plea for common sense gun control & then filling her stage with drag queens for a song about solidarity. My kinda country.”

Following their groundbreaking appearance, Lux and Luzon opened up to ET about the importance of their collaborative performance with the hole in a bottle singer. 

“Just like all these amazing country music artists, we drag queens are also artists. And we deserve a space to be ourselves, express ourselves, and create something wonderful for everyone to enjoy,” Luzon explained to the news outlet. 

Lux echoed similar sentiments before revealing the advice that Ballerini gave them ahead of their CMT Music Awards debut.

“Kelsea made it really clear in the rehearsal room that took even during right before the stage that she was like take up that space, you know, this is your time as well, and amplify the fact that you’re here,” the season 13 queen revealed. 

“Even the song if you’re going down, I’m going down too, is about the celebration of being a community. And I think that’s what we did on the stage tonight. And I really hope that transcended some people as well. It felt like it did.” 

You can watch their full performance here or below.