Nick Jonas Recounts the Tragic ACMs Performance with Kelsea Ballerini

Nick Jonas Recounts the Tragic ACMs Performance with Kelsea Ballerini

In a recent interview on the Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard podcast, Nick Jonas, the renowned singer-songwriter and member of the Jonas Brothers, shared an intimate story about a distressing incident that occurred during a live performance with country star Kelsea Ballerini. This on-stage mishap had a profound impact on Nick, leading him to seek therapy. Let’s delve into the details of this memorable event and its lasting effects.

The Unforgettable Performance

During a tribute to Cole Porter, Nick Jonas experienced what he considers to be his “worst moment” on stage. Reflecting on this incident, he vividly recalled the time when he joined Kelsea Ballerini at the 2016 ACM Awards to perform a duet version of her hit song, “Peter Pan.” Little did he know that this collaboration would prove to be a challenging ordeal.

A Traumatic Guitar Solo Debacle

Nick Jonas, now 30, described an unfortunate guitar solo mishap that unfolded on live television during the performance. While he can now find some humor in the situation, he admitted that the incident had far-reaching consequences. The mishap occurred three years after the Jonas Brothers’ breakup in 2013, as Nick prepared for the release of his second solo album, “Last Year Was Complicated.” Meanwhile, Kelsea Ballerini, 29 at the time, had just released her debut album, “The First Time,” featuring the aforementioned hit, “Peter Pan.”

A Momentary Lapse

Recounting the events, Nick shared how he had rehearsed the performance extensively and approached the stage with confidence. However, as he walked towards Kelsea, an unexpected turn of events transpired. Suddenly, Nick’s mind went blank, and he hit a wrong note, causing a momentary blackout. Despite realizing his mistake, he found himself unable to correct it.

The impact of this experience was profound, leaving Nick confused and shocked. Soon after the performance, he was rushed away in a car and immediately boarded a plane. It was during this tumultuous time that he turned to his manager and expressed his realization that something had gone terribly wrong. This traumatic incident left an indelible mark on Nick, shaping the intense pressure he subsequently placed on himself to achieve perfection and maintain constant excellence.

Nick Jonas Recounts the Tragic ACMs Performance


Overcoming Self-Imposed Pressure

In the aftermath of this incident, Nick Jonas embarked on a personal journey of growth and self-discovery. Gradually, he learned not to burden himself with excessive pressure. However, during that period, this incident remained etched in his memory as one of his “worst moments” on stage.

Remarkably, Kelsea Ballerini seemed unaffected by the mishap. In fact, after the 2016 country awards show, she expressed her excitement about fulfilling one of her childhood dreams. In an interview with PEOPLE, she joyfully recounted her experience, describing it as “awesome” and expressing her admiration for Nick, whom she had considered one of her favorite artists since her early teenage years.

A Reunion and Redemption

Despite the unexpected turn of events during their initial collaboration, Nick Jonas and Kelsea Ballerini found an opportunity to reconcile and create new memories together. In 2021, Ballerini had the honor of opening for the Jonas Brothers on their Remember This Tour. During their joint performances, they even performed a duet of Nick’s 2016 single, “Close.” This reunion allowed them to mend any lingering effects of the past and showcase their musical chemistry once again.


Nick Jonas’s recollection of the traumatic on-stage mishap with Kelsea Ballerini sheds light on the vulnerable side of performers. Despite the intense pressure to maintain flawless performances, even renowned artists like Nick Jonas face moments of imperfection. The incident served as a catalyst for Nick’s personal growth and a lesson in not succumbing to excessive self-imposed pressure. With their reunion on the Remember This Tour, Nick and Kelsea found a way to move past the mishap and create new musical memories together.

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