Kelsea Ballerini pays respect to the victims of the Nashville shooting at CMT Music Awards commencement

Kelsea Ballerini pays respect to the victims of the Nashville shooting at CMT Music Awards commencement

Kelsea Ballerini Honors Nashville Shooting Victims at CMT Awards Tonight’s broadcast is dedicated to the ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses, and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence,” said the singer-songwriter. 

Kelsea Ballerini opened the CMT (Country Music Television) Music Awards ceremony on Sunday with a moving tribute to the victims of last week’s shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School in Tennessee.

“On March 27, 2023, three nine-year-olds – Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs, along with Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill walked into the Covenant School and didn’t walk out,” Ballerini solemnly said right at the top of the show.

Kelsea Ballerini pays respect to the victims of the Nashville shooting at CMT Music Awards commencement

The community of sorrow over this, and the 130 mass shootings in the US this year alone, stretches from coast to coast,” Ballerini continued.

A shooter entered the elementary school with three firearms on Monday, and killed six people before being shot killed by responding police officers, according to authorities. The attack was the deadliest school shooting in nearly a year.

Ballerini also spoke of her own personal experience having witnessed a classmate die in a shooting at her Knoxville, Tennessee high school.

“I wanted to personally stand up here and share this moment because on August 21, 2008, I watched Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old classmate at Central High School, lose his life to a gun in our cafeteria.”

She added that Sunday’s broadcast was dedicated to the “ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence.”

Kane Brown and Ballerini are the hosts of Sunday’s CMT Awards. This is the first year the CMT Awards are being held in Austin, Texas after previously being held in Nashville.

This year’s CMT Music Awards will merge country, rock and blues straight from the heart of Texas, featuring performances including collaborations with Alanis Morissette, The Black Crowes, Gwen Stefani and Gary Clark Jr. and tributes to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The annual fan-voted awards show also will honor country superstar and five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain with the Equal Play Award, recognizing her for being a “visible and vocal advocate” for diverse voices in country music.

Fan-favorite and scheduled performer Lainey Wilson leads the nominations with four chances to win.

Carrie Underwood has a chance to extend her record as the most awarded artist in CMT history with 25 awards. Underwood, who also will perform, was nominated again for video of the year for “Hate My Heart.”

Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd will be honored with a tribute performance following the death in March of the last original member, Gary Rossington. ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Slash of Guns N’ Roses and the Allman Brothers’ Warren Haynes and Chuck Leavell are set to perform with singers Paul Rodgers and Cody Johnson with backup vocals from LeAnn Rimes and Judd.

Four-time Grammy winner Clark Jr. will perform a tribute to the late Texas guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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