He’s only human! Nick Jonas revealed how a duet with Kelsea Ballerini at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2016 became his all-time “worst moment” on stage.
“A really tragic guitar solo debacle … happened on live TV,” Jonas, 30, recalled during the Monday, May 22, episode of “Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard” of the event, where he joined the country star, 29, for a duet. “In retrospect, I can kind of laugh about how big I thought it was. But it did travel more than I wish it would have, and it did cause me to go to therapy.”
The twosome — who had previously had a “couple performances together,” according to the “Levels” singer — were there to perform Ballerini’s hit single “Peter Pan” off her debut record, The First Time.
“I come out for my thing. I rehearsed it a million times. I’m feeling really confident about it — not even really thinking about it like it’s a thing that’s going to be problematic,” he continued. “I started off, it was 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.”
Jonas made headlines immediately following the flub, with fans taking to social media to poke fun at the musician for his mishap. Some social media users even made tutorials on how to play the wrong version on the guitar. The New Jersey native, however, tried his best to respond to the jokes with good humor.
“Just landed in London to all these posts from Sunday nights performance,” he tweeted at the time. “So funny. Yes, I screwed up the solo thanks to a huge brain fart.” The JoBro then followed up his post with a fan-made page of sheet music with the incorrect notes, writing, “We’re all human and s—t happens sometimes, but whoever made this is a genius.”
Revisiting it years later, the Camp Rock star told host Dax Shepard he still “can’t really figure out exactly what happened” to cause the error, adding that he was “rushed to a plane” right after the incident with little time to process what happened.
“I looked at my manager and said, ‘I think that was bad.’ I was, like, in shock kinda. It was a really traumatic moment that shaped the pressure I put on myself to be perfect and to always be on,” he shared.
While Jonas may look back on the 2016 ACMs with regret, Ballerini doesn’t hold it against him. The Rolling Up the Welcome Mat songstress opened for the Jonas Brothers on their Remember This Tour in 2021 and even duetted the “Waffle House” artist’s 2016 single “Close” during the show.
“I’m a huge fan of him. I was a huge Jonas Brothers fan, unapologetically, when I was 12 or 13. His solo stuff is just incredible and it was really cool to collaborate with him on the awards. I’d totally do more with him if I could,” Ballerini told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 following the ACMs, noting that Jonas “eased her nerves” on stage during her first big awards show. “I thought, ‘If I mess up, he has me.’ It kind of eased my nerves a bit. He’s such a sweet dude. We’ve known each other for a year, so it wasn’t a weird, ‘Hey, I’m Kelsea. Hi, thanks for singing.’ It was a little more casual, which was good.”