Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey rocked the CMT Music Awards this week with a Coyote Ugly-inspired performance of their song “The Other Girl.” And while the vocal powerhouses were received mostly with praise for their nostalgic, leather-clad duet, critics called out the song for not being “real” country music.
Ballerini had no time for the haters, taking to Instagram on Thursday (Oct. 22) to share a selfie with a fittingly blasé thumbs up. “After reading way too many comments, I’d like to remind people that there are different kinds of country music and none are more ‘real’ than others when it comes from an honest place,” she wrote, “that women can wear whatever we want and shouldn’t be called names and criticized for it, and that if you don’t have something nice to say, politely shut up.”
Halsey and Ballerini originally debuted their genre-bending collab during CMT Crossroads in March. “I love the idea of a female collaboration,” the country singer said of the team-up. “You don’t see it so much.”
“I’ve never had a collaboration on an album before,” she continued. “I only wanted one if it was someone that I was real-life friends with, because you end up spending so much time with them, with the music video and the performances and the press and all that. I was like, ‘I just want to do it with someone that I enjoy spending time with.’”