Kelsea Ballerini Delivers Dazzling Debut Performance On CMT Stage

By Kelly Fisher

April 8, 2024

2024 CMT Music Awards - Show
Photo: Getty Images North America

Kelsea Ballerini delivered the debut performance of her reimagined version of “Love Me Like You Mean It,” offering an updated perspective on the “starry-eyed” love song 10 years after its original release.

Ballerini, 30, confirmed days ahead of the 2024 CMT Music Awards that she would share a revamped rendition of one of her first hit singles as she readies fans for her next era of music. In her initial announcement (which followed a few teasers on her social media pages), Ballerini credited producer Alysa Vanderheym — who worked with her on the deeply personal EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat — with “helping me add some 2024 spice and your brilliance to this little song that could,” and spotlighted Reid Johnson with “cooking up this lil teaser track.”

Kelsea Ballerini performs "Love Me Like You Mean It" | 2024 CMT Music Awards

We LOVE Kelsea Ballerini's #CMTAwards performance (and we mean it!!) 💛

Posted by CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 7, 2024

Ballerini wrote in her announcement: “ten years ago, i was twenty, naive, starry eyed, and absolutely relentless on putting my music out into the world. i’m proud to say, nothing has changed…except a DECADE of this wildly beautiful journey we’ve gotten to share full of tours and sing alongs, wins and losses, and growing up together. soooo, before we move into new music (yes, it’s coming i swear) i wanted to celebrate the beginning with you. the song that started it all, love me like you mean it (reimagined and ten years later) comes out tomorrow night at midnight. oh, and i’ll be performing it on the [CMT] awards sunday. see you there. love you, mean it. ❤️”

Rolling Up The Welcome Mat — and its extended edition, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat (For Good) — is Ballerini’s latest collection of music. The surprise EP and its accompanying short film quickly followed her full-length album, Subject To Change, a 15-track project that included “HEARTFIRST,” “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” “Love Is A Cowboy,” a collaboration with Carly Pearce and Kelly Clarkson, and more. Ballerini has since teased her forthcoming chapter of music, including with the debut live performance of an unreleased ballad, “To The Men That Love Women After Heartbreak.” Ballerini teamed up with surprise guests and the songwriters who joined her on the song, Karen Fairchild and Hillary Lindsey, to perform it for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee.

“The reality is, I’ve been singing about a chapter of my life that is far past me now,” Ballerini said on the Opry stage. Rolling Up The Welcome Mat shared her story of heartbreak and healing after divorce, and Ballerini has since embraced her relationship with Outer Banks actor Chase Stokes. They celebrated their one-year anniversary earlier this year. “And I’m writing about the chapter of life that I’m in, and it looks very different, and I kind of wanted to share a bit of it now. I’m very gently and slowly starting to make the next record. I really want to take the time to handle it with care.”

Ballerini returned to the CMT Music Awards stage to solo host the show, held for its second year at Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Other performers included Jason AldeanDashaBailey ZimmermanCody JohnsonJelly RollKeith UrbanLainey WilsonLittle Big Town with SugarlandMegan MoroneyNEEDTOBREATHE with Jordan DavisOld Dominion with Megan MoroneyParker McCollum with Brittney SpencerSam Hunt, and Trisha Yearwood, who was revealed as the first-ever June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award. CMT also announced an all-star tribute to late country legend Toby Keith, who died earlier this year after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 62.

Presenters include Amber RileyBilly Bob Thornton (Landman), Carly PearceCody AlanCody JohnsonEmily Osment (Young Sheldon), Emma RobertsGayle King (CBS Mornings), James Van Der Beek, Jane Seymour, Jelly RollMax Theriot (Fire Country), Megan MoroneyMelissa EtheridgeMickey GuytonMinnie DriverMontana Jordan (Young Sheldon), Parmalee and Paul Walter Hauser, per a press release issued Wednesday.

See the list of winners here.

Kelsea Ballerini
Advertise With Us
Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.