Kelsea Ballerini Confesses She’s a Little Obsessed with Her “CMA Country Christmas” Co-Star Kelly Clarkson

ABC/Mark Levine

For the second year in row, Kelsea Ballerini performs on Monday night’s annual CMA Country Christmas special on ABC. Even on a show that boasts talent like Idina Menzel, Sarah McLachlanAmy Grant, Andra Day and more, the “Peter Pan” hitmaker shows no hesitation when asked who she’s most excited to see.

Kelly Clarkson! I talk about it all the time. I have, maybe an obsession with her, probably,” Kelsea confesses. “And we met at [an awards show] two years ago, and we’ve emailed a couple times and I think we might like be on the verge of being friends — I’m not sure yet. But, I wrote her a letter, I stuck it under her dressing room door. I told her to come over to my dressing room and say hi, so we’ll see!” she laughs.

In addition to singing “The Christmas Song,” Kelsea will also do her new holiday single, “My Favorite Things,” accompanied by jazz piano prodigy Joey Alexander.

“He’s incredible,” she says of the 13-year-old. “I mean, seeing him on TV and watching him on the Grammys and hearing his stuff is one thing, but just being in the room with him and just watching him just be so passionate and so talented at such a young age is so inspiring for me as a musician. And to be able to share the stage with him, and kind of just bounce off of him is a really fun experience.”

The two-hour CMA Country Christmas, hosted by Jennifer Nettles, premieres at 8 p.m. ET Monday on ABC.

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