Kelsea Ballerini explains her impressive mid-performance dress change at the 2023 MTV VMAs

Kelsea Ballerini “Blindsided” her audience during her performance of “Penthouse” at the 2023 MTV Video Music Award when she made a surprise wardrobe change.

To start her powerhouse ballad on the Prudential Center’s stage, the 30-year-old artist donned a sleek white floor-length gown details with a high slit and subtle ruching on the side. However, as she changed her key to hit the bridge in the newly released hit, so did her outfit.

From the prospective of viewers at home, Ballerini was covered in a thick cloud of smoke after she sang, “And it stings rolling up the welcome mat/Knowing you got half.” When the fog dispersed, the “Peter Pan” creator wasn’t in the white gown anymore. She stepped into the clear air, wearing a mini form-fitting black satin dress, leading many to be confused over how she pulled off the wardrobe change on live television in seconds.

Social media was sent into a frenzy, with perplexed fans confessing how stunned they were by her instantaneous wardrobe change.

One individual took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to question her methods. “I need someone to explain this Kelsea Ballerini sorcery to me,” they wrote.

“How did Kelsea Ballerini manage to change her dress while performing at the VMAs? We’re all still wondering,” the K105 account added.

A curious person guessed the performance hadn’t been in real-time. “It was pre-filmed the night before. She sang the song twice, once in the black dress, once in the white. It was edited together for the ‘showing’ last night at the VMAs,” they alleged.

But other online users agreed that a plausible explanation was her white dress was made to be a tearaway article. Not only did Ballerini confirm that fact in her recent TikTok posted on 13 September, but in-person individuals in the audience were able to see the quick rip of the garment through the smoke.

In photos obtained by Entertainment Tonight, the country star can be seen through the fog, shedding her white layer and chucking it to the side.

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Ballerini reaffirmed what was seen in the photographs on her TikTok page when she demonstrated her performance ahead of the show. Like she did on TV, she started in the white dress, pretending to sing on stage with a white towel securing her wet hair on top of her head. Then, you see her grab the top of her dress on one side under her armpit. Ballerini struggled before breaking it off her body.

“Telling my future children I was once Houdini,” her caption read.

“WE WERE WONDERING!! THANKS QUEEN,” an excited follower exclaimed in the comments.

Another noted: “It’s giving cinematography.”

“Thank you for answering how this was possible haha,” an appreciative TikTok user said.

Ballerini attended the star-studded awards alongside her boyfriend Chase Stokes. The OuterBanks lead accompanied his girlfriend on the night of her 30th birthday.