The 2023 MTV Video Music Awards was the biggest birthday party country star Kelsea Ballerini could ever hope for, as she turned 30 years old on September 12 when the event was held at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. The “Miss Me More” singer wowed on the red carpet in her first appearance at the VMAs in a stunning outfit to celebrate her new decade of life.

The songstress opted for a stunning red halter gown featuring a keyhole cut out at the bust. She paired the look with chunky gold bangles and a simply hairdo, proving that sleek and simply is the most effective.

Kelsea will make her debut as a performer at the VMAs despite breaking though as one of country’s most promising artists with 2015’s “Peter Pan.” She’ll be giving fans a world premiere performance of one of the songs from part two of her EP Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, which included “(For Good)” in the title and dropped on August 11.

The VMAs shared an Instagram post on August 31 announcing  Kelsea’s appearance, which was met with a thrilled response from fans. “Boots: On Welcome Mats: Rolled OUT @kelseaballerini is making her #VMA DEBUT!! Watch her perform LIVE on Tuesday, September 12 on @mtv!” caption read.

“Time for our country-pop queen to have her MOMENT,” country singer Hayden Joseph wrote in the comments, while one fan added, “I AM SO EXCITED!!!!! THAT’S MY GIRL!!!!” One of Kelsea’s fan accounts chimed in stating, “Y’ALL BETTER SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HER,” as a fan told the singer, “I’m sure it will be special since you will be celebrating your special birthday as well! I won’t mention the number,” with a laughing emoji. 

Kelsea initially released the six-song virtual EP Rolling Up The Welcome Mat in February and went on to perform the song “Blindsided” during her Saturday Night Live debut on March 4. The EP featured songs about her divorce from fellow country singer Morgan Evans and was released amid her budding romance with Outer Banks star Chase Stokes.

The couple is still going strong, having just returned from a romantic late summer vacation in Italy. Kelsea posted two carousels of photos from their trip to her Instagram page on September 4 and 5, showing highlights from their trip, including a sizzling moment of the pair cuddling. The Tennessee native also spent time next to the pool, going on boat rides and getting plenty of rest and relaxation ahead of her MTV VMAs debut.

One of the new songs on Kelsea’s just-released EP is “How Do I Do This,” which she told Us Weekly is “about the first date after” a breakup.

“It’s about the nerves of going into a very unknown world,” she told the publication. “And, to me, I felt like since I hadn’t really gotten to share my story in my perspective on what had happened in my life yet, that needed to come second. That is part two. I felt like I really wanted to talk about, you know, the breakup, and let that kind of live in one piece. And then if I ever decided to do what we’re doing now — Rolling Up the Welcome Mat (For Good) — then that would be kind of the extension of the story.”

“And especially now, I’ve been in a new relationship for a while now, and people have seen that,” Kelsea continued, “So I feel like it’s a really appropriate time to catch everyone up and to be able to move the narrative from the past to the present.”