Here’s How Kelsea Ballerini Pulled Off That Houdini-Like Wardrobe Stunt at the VMAs [Watch]
It happened like magic: While she was in the middle of performing her emotional "Penthouse" onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday night (Sept. 12), a bright light flashed around Kelsea Ballerini. When it faded, she was wearing a completely different dress.
The moment came at the emotional climax of the song, right before she sang the line, "I kissed someone new last night / And now I don't care where you're sleeping baby." Ballerini had been wearing a flowing, strapless — almost bridal — white gown, and after her dramatic wardrobe change, she was wearing a short black mini-dress: A swap that reflected the song's message of experiencing and recovering from the emotional separation of a divorce.
From the camera's perspective, it was almost impossible to tell how Ballerini pulled off the wardrobe swap, though some eagle-eyed fans did peg the white gown as a tearaway dress, since you can see just a little bit of the train being pulled offstage when Ballerini starts to sing again.
But in a TikTok she shared after the show, Ballerini offered fans a full reveal into how the moment happened, posting video of herself practicing for the stunt.
Ballerini wears her stage outfit in the clip, barefoot with her hair wrapped up in a towel, and talks herself through the stage directions of the big moment.
"Dramatic pause. A light goes in front of the camera. And I go ... wait, how do I go? I press it in?" the singer says, reaching over the left side of her dress to test out the tearaway function.
It's a good thing she practiced, because in her first attempts, Ballerini was a little shaky on the logistics of getting the dress off. But finally, it all works, and she rips the white gown away to reveal the black outfit she's wearing underneath.
"Telling my future children I was once Houdini," Ballerini jokes in the caption of the video.
Ballerini was the only country artist to take part in the VMAs this year, unless you're counting Taylor Swift, who won a whopping nine trophies on Tuesday night (Sept. 12), including major awards like Artist of the Year, Video of the Year and Song of the Year.
Ballerini also walked the red carpet for the show with her actor boyfriend Chase Stokes.