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Kelsea Ballerini Claps Back After CMT Music Awards 2020 Performance With Halsey: ‘Women Can Wear Whatever We Want’

Let ‘em know! Kelsea Ballerini clapped back at critics of her sexy 2020 CMT Music Awards performance with Halsey after it divided the internet.

Related: 8 Times Female Country Music Stars Stood Their Ground

“After reading way too many comments, I’d like to remind people that there are different kinds of country music and none are more ‘real’ than others when it comes from an honest place, that women can wear whatever we want and shouldn’t be called names and criticized for it, and that if you don’t have something nice to say, politely shut up,” the “Homecoming Queen?” singer, 27, wrote via Instagram on Thursday, October 22, alongside a photo of herself giving the camera a thumbs-up.

Kelsea Ballerini Claps Back Critics CMT Music Awards 2020 Performance With Halsey 2020 CMT Awards
Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey. Shutterstock (2)

CMT defended Ballerini in the comments section of her post, writing, “We love YOU for you. Always.”

The Tennessee native made jaws drop on Wednesday, October 21, when she and Halsey, 26, performed their collaboration, “The Other Girl,” at the awards ceremony. During the Coyote Ugly-inspired number, they danced on top of a bar while wearing black leather outfits.

Related: CMT Music Awards 2020 Celebrity Fashion

After the show, Ballerini took to Instagram to share a photo of herself and the “Without Me” songstress posing together on set. “Living out coyote ugly dreams tonight with my girl @iamhalsey #theothergirl,” she captioned the post.

“The Other Girl” was released earlier this year as the second single off Ballerini’s third studio album, Kelsea. She and Halsey previously performed the track on their episode of CMT Crossroads in March.

Kelsea Ballerini Claps Back Critics CMT Music Awards 2020 Performance With Halsey 2020 CMT Awards
Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini perform at the 2020 CMT Music Awards on October 21, 2020. Kevin Winter/CMT2020/Getty Images

Wednesday was a big night for women in country music as three of the top four awards went to female artists. Carrie Underwood won Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for “Drinking Alone,” while fellow American Idol alum Gabby Barrett took home Breakthrough Video of the Year for “I Hope.” CMT also made sure to include an equal number of male and female performers on the Ram Trucks Side Stage this year.

Related: CMT Music Awards 2020: Everything We Know

Country radio has notoriously been unkind to women over the years. A recent SongData study by University of Ottawa professor Jada E. Watson in partnership with CMT’s Equal Play campaign found that female artists only accounted for 10 percent of airplay in 2019.

“It’s B.S., straight up! Carrie Underwood still struggles, and that just blows my mind because she’s got a million hits and she’s Carrie freakin’ Underwood,” Miranda Lambert told Redbook magazine in 2017. “I tell them at the radio stations, ‘Just play one of us; it doesn’t have to be me. Then we all win.’ I’ll fight for it until I can’t no more.”

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