WATCH: Road to 2023 CMT Music Awards — Part 1: Kelsea Ballerini

The 2023 CMT MUSIC AWARDS will air Sunday, April 2, 2023 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) LIVE from Austin, Texas’ Moody Center.

Kelsea Ballerini revealed The Music CMT Awards are headed to Austin, Texas, in 2023, that she’ll return as co-host, and Carrie Underwood will perform during a trip to surprise Underwood on stage in Austin in November.

Now she and CMT are giving fans an inside look at the trip as cameras documented every step with Ballerini’s bubbly and vivacious personality on full display.

Road to 2023 CMT Music Awards — Part 1: Kelsea Ballerini is out now.

Ballerini invites viewers onto the private jet for the trip to Austin. She said she would spend less than 24 hours there and touch down by lunchtime. The singer carried an oversized surprise for Underwood the entire way. Once in the dressing room, she cut through the many layers of bubble wrap to reveal a bedazzled, over-the-top commemorative trophy belt to recognize Underwood’s 25 CMT Award wins – more than any other artist.

“I think it’s going to be really funny when I walk on stage and everybody is like, “Is that Kelsea?” Ballerini commented from her seat on the private plane. “And like, why?”

Seated in a dressing room, Ballerini explained that Austin is a “supportive, wonderful music town” and that having the CMT Music Awards in Austin will feel different and “just like, cool.”

“Austin is cool. Austin is weird, right?” Ballerini said. “That’s the good part? Are we going to make the CMT Awards weird? CMT Award 2023, let’s get weird. I like that.”

The eight-minute clip shows Ballerini hanging out with Jimmie Allen, Underwood’s opening act, and surprising Underwood on stage with the belt.

“Stunt time,” she said as she walked through Austin’s Moody Center to the stage. Underwood’s audience cheered wildly at Ballerini’s arrival while Underwood graciously accepted the large belt and agreed to perform on the show.

It is unclear if Ballerini will have a co-host, but she indicated it was possible in the video.

“Do I have a co-cost this year?” she said. “What a good question,” she added with a grin.

The 2023 CMT MUSIC AWARDS, country’s only entirely fan-voted awards, will air Sunday, April 2, 2023 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) LIVE from Austin, Texas’ Moody Center. The telecast marks the first time the event has aired from Texas or the venue. The show will air on CBS and be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.

For its inaugural year on CBS, the 2022 CMT MUSIC AWARDS delivered 5.89 million viewers, a 529% increase from June 2021, also dominating on social with 2.7 billion impressions across platforms.

The 2023 CMT MUSIC AWARDS Executive Producers are Margaret Comeaux (CMT), John Hamlin (Switched On Entertainment), Leslie Fram (CMT), and Jason Owen (Sandbox Entertainment); Patrizia DiMaria (Ladypants Productions) is co-executive producer; Jackie Barba and Heather D. Graffagnino are executives in charge of production; Shanna Strassberg and Taryn Hurd are talent producers.

For more information and news, visit and, use hashtag #CMTAwards and follow @CMT on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Tik Tok.

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