Kelsea Ballerini announced she was done hosting the CMT Music Awards toward the end of Sunday night's (April 7) show in Texas. Why?

That's one of five things you missed if you only watched on television.

Taste of Country photographers were backstage to capture photos of stars palling around. We also got the real story around Sam Hunt's "Locked Up" performance, Toby Keith's kids' reaction to the tribute and more.

  • Jelly Roll won three awards at the 2024 CMT Music Awards.
  • This year's CBS broadcast originated from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.
  • Ballerini hosted for the fourth (and last, apparently) time in a row.

Why Did Kelsea Ballerini Announce She Was No Longer Hosting?

Ballerini put her two-weeks' notice in at the end of the show. She made clear she wouldn't be back, and that kind of thing just doesn't seem to happen on these stages.

The move was not a knee-jerk reaction to anything that happened during Sunday night's show or the build up to it. Talking to Variety ahead of time, she shared that hosting the CMT Music Awards for four years pushed her outside her comfort zone into new professional realms. She's simply ready to do that again in different ways.

What that means for Ballerini is not clear, but it means in 2025 you'll see a new host (or hosts) onstage for the CMTs.

Jelly Roll Kissed More Than His Wife

One of the funnier moments of the CMTs was when Ballerini started to give away hugs with Jelly Roll. They moved around his section, eventually landing on Cody Johnson, who got more than a friendly embrace.

See for yourself:

What Did Toby Keith's Kids Think of the Tribute?

Krystal Keith was first to tear up during an all-star tribute to her father. Sister Shelley and brother Stelen were more stoic, although the singer's son looked anxious throughout.

Performances from Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar and Lainey Wilson were a true celebration, not a sad remembrance. For that reason it seemed possible the trio of children could escape without bawling their eyes out.

Then Roger Clemens came back to the stage to toast Keith. He thanked Tricia Covel (Keith's wife of 40 years) for sharing her husband with the world, and that was enough to make everyone cry. Thanks a lot, Rog!

2024 CMT Music Awards
CBS via Getty Images
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The University of Texas Marching Band at the CMT Awards

As artists approached the red carpet, the Texas Longhorns marching band started to play. Ashley McBryde decided to join them.

Sam Hunt Talked About Being "Locked Up"

The song "Locked Up" is not a blow-by-blow encounter of Sam Hunt's DUI arrest from 2019, but the message certainly applies. During conversation with Taste of Country Nights last week, he called it a "wake-up call."

He also shared something surprising about how his wife Hannah reacted to his being "locked up" for real.

"One beautiful thing about Hannah is she forgives quickly," Hunt said when asked if he had to sleep on the couch for some time. "And I also have a rule that I'm not sleeping on the couch."

The set for Hunt's CMT Music Awards performance paid tribute to the music video for "Locked Up," which pays tribute to Johnny Cash's legendary prison performances.

2024 CMT Awards Red Carpet β€” See Country Music's Best Dressed

See country music's best dressed from the 2024 CMT Music Awards red carpet. The 2024 CMT Music Awards were on Sunday (April 7), live from Austin, Texas.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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