WATCH: Kelsea Ballerini Makes Jaws Drop With Her SNL Debut
It has been a whirlwind of a couple of months for country songstress Kelsea Ballerini. From her very public divorce to now a smash hit EP, what can't she do!
Photo credit: Will Heath
The multiple GRAMMY® nominee and Country Music Association Award winner Kelsea Ballerini capped off the release of her deeply personal Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP and self-directed short film with a tour de force, two song performance on Saturday Night Live.
Introduced by host Superbowl winner and fellow Kelsea, Travis Kelce, the lithe blonde not only sang the questioning song of a relationship dissolving, she performed in front of a backdrop that had a shadow figure meeting her querying self for added emotional impact.
Rocking a burnt-out black Versace catsuit, Ballerini and her band performed the questioning “Blindsided” at Rockefeller Center’s Studio 8H. The CMA winner also stocked fans with a cunning new verse, clearly taking a jab at now ex husband Morgan Evans.
“It was such a big moment,” Kelsea Ballerini explained. “We wanted to add an element that made the song and the performance more. When we talked about what the song was about, all the pieces of doubt and realizing what was going on, the shadow seemed to be the right thing.”
Clearly effective, Ballerini returned later in the show for a vulnerable reading of “Penthouse.” Wearing a silky white Valentino gown that plunged to a twist below her sternum and flowed to a pool on the floor, she stood alone in the curve of a white grand piano – and unpacked the last moments of leaving a failed relationship and the recognitions and realities of what happens next with an intimacy that was startling.
“The concept of a penthouse seems so glamorous,” Ballerini said upon Welcome Mat’s release, “but it stopped feeling that way. I lost track of what was good in how I got there… I realized what you thinks isn’t always what there actually is.”
The emerging songwriting diva is finding a new power in her confessional writing and recording. With her six song Black River Entertainment EP – co-produced with longtime collaborator Alysa Vanderheym – offering a clear-eyed view of the complex, confusing and painful path to leaving what one thinks they want to emerge stronger and more aware of oneself, Ballerini not only reclaimed her power, her “Saturday Night Life” performance created proof that music serves as the ultimate healer.
With streams of over 40 million, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat has moved from a personal project, recorded to document the songs that arrived as she was closing a chapter of her life, to cri du coeur for an entire generation who’s finding out that life’s complications are part of owning their journey.
Kelsea is set to kick off the highly anticipated second leg on her HEARTFIRST Tour It picks up where she left off on the 2022 fan favorite HEARTFIRST tour last fall, which simultaneously launched her critically acclaimed album SUBJECT TO CHANGE (Black River) and saw her captivate audiences night after night. Kelsea also recently announced she will launch a third US leg of her HEARTFIRST tour in June. Kicking off June 16th at the Santa Barbara Bowl, the third leg will visit cities throughout the Western United States before closing out on July 1st at Arizona Financial Theatre in Phoenix, AZ.
Tickets are on sale this Friday HERE.