Kelsea Ballerini made her Saturday Night Live debut this weekend, performing during an episode that featured NFL star Travis Kelce (yes, they noticed how similar their names sound) as host. Ballerini’s two songs included “Blindsided” and “Penthouse,” selections from her recent surprise EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat.
For her “Blindsided” performance, Ballerini came out in a zebra-like black jumpsuit and stood in front of a flashing screen displaying a spooky silhouette that looked as though it was trapped inside, at one point touching the specter. She also tacked on a new ending to the tune that referenced her recent split and subsequent tabloid drama (“Now you’re singin’ it loud on the radio like you’re the only heart that breaks / You would’ve searched the whole world over? Yeah, sure, OK.”) On “Penthouse,” she came out in a stunning white dress and, standing in front of a matching white piano, belted out the lyrics, “We played the part five nights, but we were never there on the weekends, baby.”
Ballerini’s been a fixture in the news of late, both for releasing new music and for going public about her messy divorce. The country-pop star split from singer-songwriter Morgan Evans in August 2022 after nearly five years together, about which she said little at the time. Afterward, Evans released a song called “Over for You” that touched on him being blindsided by the end of their relationship.
In response to Ballerini’s new EP and short film, Evans went online to express his disappointment. “It’s really sad for me to see this person, who I spent so much of my life with, and loved with all my heart, saying things that aren’t reality and that leave out what really happened,” he wrote on Twitter. Ballerini wasn’t having it. On a new episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast, she let loose on how messy things had gotten.
“Who you marry is not who you divorce,” she said. “As he’s putting out a song about being blindsided, he’s taking half the house that he didn’t pay for.” In return, Evans decided to put out an entire docuseries about their relationship and split.