Why Nick Jonas’ Performance With Kelsea Ballerini Caused Him to Go to Therapy

Nick Jonas recalled his "worst" performance—when he messed up playing guitar while performing with Kelsea Ballerini at the 2016 ACM Awards—and how he felt after the "debacle."

By Lindsay Weinberg May 23, 2023 2:00 AMTags
Watch: Nick Jonas Says He Ended Up in Therapy After ACM Awards Performance

Nick Jonas would've preferred if this performance had stayed in Neverland. 

The Jonas Brothers singer admitted that his 2016 ACM Awards appearance with Kelsea Ballerini—during which he had a "really tragic guitar solo" while performing her song "Peter Pan"—was his "worst moment" on stage.

Recalling the "debacle" during a recent interview, Nick said he sought professional treatment to help him process the mistake.

"In retrospect, I can kind of laugh about how big I thought it was," he told host Dax Shepard on the May 22 Armchair Expert podcast episode. "But it did travel more than I wish it would have, and it did cause me to go into therapy."

So, what went wrong exactly? Nick, who said he had rehearsed the song a "million times," remembered feeling "really confident about it—not even really thinking about it like it's a thing that's going to be problematic."

"I started off, it's fine and as I walked towards her, I just went completely blank and I hit a wrong note and blacked out basically and clocked that it was wrong and I couldn't stop," Nick, 30, shared. "To this day and hours after unpacking it, I can't really figure out exactly what happened, but I was rushed to a car and right to a plane right after." 

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's Family Photos With Daughter Malti

The Jumanji actor—who hasn't been shy about confronting his past public snafus—said he was in "shock" after the ACM flub. "I looked at my manager and said, 'I think that was bad,'" he continued. "It was a really traumatic moment that shaped the pressure I put on myself to be perfect and to always be on."

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For her part, Kelsea didn't seem to take issue with the performance and was nothing but gracious. 

"It was awesome," she told People at the time. "It was my first big kid award show performance and I was so excited to do 'Peter Pan.' It's my favorite song I've gotten to release so far, and then to be able to share it with Nick—who is one of my favorite artists since I was like 12—it was just super cool."

Of course, Kelsea has also jumped heartfirst into some candid confessions of her own. Read on for her top social media moments.

Fighting for What's Right

After a Michigan country music radio station revealed that they can't play two female artists in a row, Kelsea had to speak up. 

"To all the ladies that bust their asses to have half the opportunities that men do, I'm really sorry that in 2020, after YEARS of conversation of equal play, there are still some companies that make their stations play by these rules," she wrote on Twitter. "It's unfair and it's incredibly disappointing."

"I say this having been one of the few women who have been really embraced by country radio and having watched some of the bigger networks (and some of my friends that are pd's and high up) make real changes in their programming to make it look more balanced. I am grateful. BUT. There is still inequality in airplay for women and tweets like this prove it," Kelsea added on Instagram. "And it's my job to say it out loud and post about it, because of the girls moving to Nashville ( or wherever) that are ready to outrun and outwork and outplay everyone."

Body Positivity

Back in July 2020, Kelsea sparked an honest conversation about body image.

"I don't know about you but WOW I have been pretty hard on myself," she wrote. "Between the stress of the unknown, the heaviness of reality, and being home not knowing what to do with all this time off tour...my body and weight have gone back and forth a lot these last few months."

"I'm sharing this, not because I'm feeling 100%, but because I'm remembering the things I'm control of—my health and the way I feel being one of those things," Kelsea continued. "If you've been silently insecure about the way your body has handled this year, you're not alone and I'm sending you a big hug. Have the best weekend, and know you're beautiful just as you are."

Can't Stop the Beat

In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Kelsea proved to fans that she was getting creative in making new music. "Makin' music the 2020 way," she wrote on Instagram while in her closet. 

Crazy for Chick-fil-A

"Have I been taking myself on a weekly date to the @chickfila drive thru? Yes. It's my highlight of 2020," Kelsea confessed on instagram

But wait, there's more! The singer also loves some McDonald's. "I would just like to casually throw my name in the hat for the next collab you do," she tweeted to the chain. "I've been working on my rendition of the 'I'm lovin it' theme song for years and would truly challenge anyone to a nugget eating contest with complete confidence."

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

On Sept. 1, 2020, Kelsea learned she didn't receive any nominations for the 2020 CMA Awards. She turned her disappointment into a motivating message to her fans.

"Last time this happened, I wrote 'homecoming queen?' the next day about the feeling," she wrote. "Something beautiful will undoubtedly come from the current disappointment. nonetheless, congratulations to my friends & peers that got nominations. proud to be a part of the country family, always."

Slowing the Spread

When Chase Rice performed a concert during COVID-19, Kelsea wasn't afraid to speak out and tell fans she was waiting to return to the stage when it was safe. 

"Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people's health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now," she shared on Twitter. "@ChaseRiceMusic, We all want (and need) to tour. We just care about our fans and their families enough to wait."

Best Dressed

When dressing up for Halloween 2019, Kelsea didn't disappoint. "Happy Halloween from Napa, where I have never felt more myself," she wrote on Instagram.

Date Night Done Right

While fans love the shots of Kelsea with husband Morgan Evans, their date nights are pretty irresistible. "Drive ins aren't cancelled, and that's the tea. (they played Grease)," Kelsea wrote to her fans who immediately received FOMO. 

Burnin' Up

Sure, Kelsea has met countless musicians in her long career. But hanging out with the Jonas Brothers? Unforgettable! "Only took 12 years to win the JoBro meet & greet," the country singer shared on Instagram. "Swipe for my 2008 contest entry from DEEP IN THE ARCHIVES OK GOODBYE."


Where's the Beach

When it was time to pose in a bikini for two million Instagram followers after working out with celeb trainer Erin Oprea, Kelsea chose a purple bikini from Target. Stars: They're just like us!

Award Show Prep

Hours before the 2019 Grammys, Kelsea had one thing on her mind: Where's the Starbucks coffee?

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App