Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini Went (Mostly) Unscripted for ‘CMA Fest’ Special
CMA Fest: The Music Event of the Summer will air on Wednesday (Aug. 16) on ABC. Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett, the three-hour special will include some of the biggest performances from during the recent four-day CMA Music Festival. For Ballerini, hosting the show was a chance to reunite with her former tour boss, since CMA Fest 2017 occurred shortly she wrapped up her time as an opening act on Rhett’s headlining Home Team Tour.
“I feel like we’re the same person, he’s just a boy,” Ballerini shared with The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. “And so, we became such good friends and just bonded over so much. He loves [my fiance] Morgan Evans, I love [Rhett’s wife] Lauren — we’re all just really good friends … It’s really nice being able to co-host with someone you’re comfortable with … You get to have this synergy together that feels kind of effortless. It’s been really fun.”
“Last year was my first time hosting anything, so I think anytime you do anything for the first time, you’re always going to have some hiccups every now and then,” shares Rhett. “But I feel like this year, I’ve been more of a — this sounds dumb — but a smoother reader, [with] more energy, [and] starting to learn how to host something. And Kelsea has done some hosting gigs as well too, so I feel like us together made for a really good combination.”
Fans watching the CMA Fest show should know that much of the conversation between Ballerini and Rhett was unscripted, which is just the way they wanted it.
“It didn’t feel too prompter-heavy; we’re kind of just hanging out,” reveals Ballerini. “I started as a fan [at CMA Fest] — I started up in the nosebleeds — and so, I feel like I have the perspective of up there, and I have the perspective of onstage, and now this year I have the perspective of out of the pit. It’s cool.”
Adds Rhett, “We’ve done pretty much everything live this time, which is really cool. Kelsea, I’ve gotten to know her over the past couple years, and we’ve become really good buddies. She’s easy to deal with, and I hope I’m easy to deal with. She’s a great co-host. We’ve had a blast doing it.”
CMA Fest: The Music Event of the Summer will air at 8PM ET.
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