Kelsea Ballerini treated country fans to a special surprise performance at Spotify House in downtown Nashville during the first day of CMA Fest 2023.

Festival-goers flooded into Blake Shelton's Ole Red bar on Lower Broadway when news of Ballerini's appearance broke just hours before she took the stage on Thursday night (June 8). 

"Maybe I shouldn't say this, but this was my favorite part of CMA Fest last year," she told the crowd with a laugh before rolling into her current radio single, "If You Go Down (I'm Going Down Too)."

She kept the energy high, asking fans to get "a little bit sassy with me" while introducing her cutting call-out, "Blindsided." The biting track from her recent headline-making EP, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, is a direct message to her now ex-husband, Morgan Evans, and his 2023 single, "Over for You."

For this performance, Ballerini added on the fierce bonus outro, which she debuted during her March 4 appearance on Saturday Night Live

"Now you're singing it loud on the radio / You couldn't say it to my face / You would have searched the whole world over? / Yeah, sure, okay," she proclaimed, the crowd loudly singing along with her. 

Ballerini wrapped up the short but sweet set with the emotionally charged "Penthouse," another cut from Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, which she cited as her "favorite to sing right now." 

Although Ballerini was not tapped as an official 2023 CMA Fest performer, the 29-year-old country star was in town while taking a break from her ongoing Heartfirst Tour. The headlining trek will resume on June 16 with a performance in Santa Barbara, Calif., and will continue into mid-July.

8 Brutally Honest Divorce Lyrics From Kelsea Ballerini's 'Rolling Up the Welcome Mat' EP

Kelsea Balerini opened up her divorce diary in February 2023 with her Rolling Up the Welcome Mat EP, a project that follows the stages of a breakup — from grief and loneliness to anger to acceptance — in chronological order. Here are eight of the most revealing lyrics from the project.

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