Kelsea Ballerini Stands by CMT Performance with Drag Queens Despite Backlash
Kelsea Ballerini Stands By CMT Performance with Drag Queens
4/5/2023 12:45 AM PT
Kelsea Ballerini doesn't regret her groundbreaking performance alongside drag queens on national television, and it definitely wasn't a surprise to showrunners ... TMZ has learned.
Sources with direct knowledge tell us ... the backlash Kelsea's getting for Sunday's CMT Music Awards moment -- having four "RuPaul’s Drag Race" queens come on stage during one of her performances -- is falling on deaf ears ... 'cause she doesn't regret it one bit.
We're told Kelsea fully stands by her decision to feature the drag queens ... which some folks in conservative circles have gone ballistic over -- accusing CMT of going woke.
FWIW, the drag queens' appearance was fully planned. Production sources tell TMZ ... both CMT and CBS were extremely supportive of the cameo and knew about it from the get-go ... we're also told they'd been part of rehearsals since Friday.
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One of the drag queens, Manila Luzon, says it was actually Kelsea's idea to involve them -- and she did so cause she's an ally. Manila says the drag queens were super happy with how things went and appreciate the network heads for giving them a platform in front of a new type of audience.
ML adds ... country music is moving forward with the rest of the world. The performance was a celebration of love and a celebration of artistry.
The drag queens weren't the only controversial part of the CMT Awards -- Kelsea's comments on gun control also drew the ire of some on the right.