Kelsea Ballerini: Thanks and Giving and Allie Allen

Singer's Friend "Reunited" With Justin Timberlake

Kelsea Ballerini brought her friend Allie Allen to the CMA Awards three weeks ago, but I think it’s just starting to sink in what an unforgettable night that was. For both of them.

So on Tuesday morning (Nov. 24), when Allen was on NBC’s Today to kick off the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign and she talked about her CMA experience with St. Jude’s Marlo Thomas and Today host Matt Lauer, you could tell how much the whole Nashville night really meant to her.

Ballerini and Allen met when the country singer was making an appearance at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and thought Allen was there for the same reason. But then she realized she wasn’t a fellow singer, she was a patient. Allen, 17, was first diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a malignant brain tumor, in 2013, then with a neuroepithelial brain tumor in 2015. She’s been through 33 rounds of radiation therapy.

“We were best friends immediately,” Allen said about the moment she met Ballerini. And as for the CMA Awards, she added, “It was the best night of my life.”

When Lauer asked about the little viral video Allen made while she was there, singing the 1978 Peaches & Herb song “Reunited” with Justin Timberlake, she gave the backstory on that.

“The last day of my radiation at St. Jude’s, Justin Timberlake was taking a tour, and I just happened to be there,” she said. “And we reunited at the CMAs, and we sang ‘Reunited.’”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.