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Kelsea Ballerini will “probably cry” during her “full circle” ACM Awards performance with Kenny Chesney


Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney will perform their new duet, “half of my hometown,” at the upcoming ACM Awards, something Kelsea is expecting to be an emotional experience.

“It’s a full circle [moment],” the singer says. “We haven’t performed it together, but we were in the studio together. And for some reason, I think this song really just pulls at both of our heart strings.”

The song, which is the newest single off of Kelsea’s self-titled third studio album, is a reflection on roots and home. Kenny is an especially meaningful duet partner, as he and Kelsea share a hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee.

“It’ll be a miracle I don’t cry. Everybody knows I cry at everything,” she adds with a laugh. “I’ll probably cry.”

That’s why Kelsea’s planning a “no bells and whistles” outfit for her performance: “We want the song to be about the song. So I think we’re just going to keep it very casual.”

Of course, Kelsea’s a nominee as well as a performer: She’s up for ACM Female Artist of the Year. But the singer says she hasn’t thought all that much about what she’ll do if she wins.

“I don’t think about it. I really don’t,” she says. “I think if that ever happens for me, I’ll be so genuinely shocked and excited that I would want that to be a pure moment that I don’t overthink — because I overthink a lot in my life!”

Now, she’s trying to save her overthinking for the time she spends performing on stage.

“That’s what I’m in control of,” Kelsea reasons. “So that’s where I’ll be in my head.”

The 2021 ACM Awards air on Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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