Kelsea Ballerini Captivates With ‘Penthouse’ in Her VMAs Debut [Watch]
Kelsea Ballerini made her debut at the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday (Sept. 12). The country singer took the stage to perform "Penthouse" during the special night, which also marked her 30th birthday.
Wearing an ethereal white dress with her hair in soft curls, Ballerini delivered a soft rendition of the track. The audience sang and swayed along to the music as she belted the song from the outdoor stage.
Then - in the ultimate symbol of moving on - the "Heartfirst" singer did a surprise costume change, tearing off her white outfit behind a cloud of fog to reveal a little black dress as she sang the words "I kissed someone new last night."
"Penthouse" is featured on her Rolling Up the Welcome Mat project, which came out early this year. The EP opens up her divorce diary, written in real-time as Ballerini was ending her five-year marriage to fellow country singer Morgan Evans. In August, the singer expanded the project into her deluxe Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good), reflecting some changes she'd made to the lyrics over the course of performing the songs and adding a new track.
Ballerini was the lone country artist to not only perform, but to also take part in this year's VMAs. Not a single member of the genre was nominated and the show doesn't feature a country-specific category - despite encompassing a variety of musical influences.
That's not to say that the format has been shut out by the awards show. There have been other artists like Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves and Kane Brown who have graced the stage. In fact, Brown became the first solo male country artist to perform when he showcased his song "Grand" during last year's show.
Luke Combs' "Fast Car" was nominated for Song of the Summer at the VMAs this year.
Up next for Ballerini is a special hometown performance in Knoxville, Tenn. The "If You Go Down" singer will do a one-off show at Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 2 - just before Tennessee's annual Homecoming festivies.