Shania Twain Says She's 'Blown Away' After Kelsea Ballerini Wears Her 1999 GRAMMYs Dress (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
August 24, 2022
Shania Twain is all for giving her iconic dress a second life! On Wednesday, the 56-year-old stepped out for the 15th Annual Academy of Country Music Honors in Nashville, Tennessee, and was delighted to find Kelsea Ballerini wearing the gown she donned for the GRAMMYs in 1999.
"I am so blown away," Twain told ET's Cassie DiLaura of seeing Ballerini in the gown. "... She looks stunning. She looks like an absolute angel. It's very flattering to see her in the dress, and that she even wanted to wear it. I said, 'I hope it's not too dusty after being in the [GRAMMY Museum].'"
Twain wore the long-sleeved, white gown the year that she won Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for her track, "You're Still the One."
"It was an incredible night for me at the GRAMMYs. That dress represented that experience, so I'm just happy to see it alive again," Twain said. "Now it has a new life, and it has new memories, and it's really great to be able to share that with other people, with another women. Obviously it's a huge compliment to be admired enough that someone would want to step into my dress."
And Ballerini certainly did want to wear the dress. The 28-year-old singer saw the gown as an opportunity to pay tribute to Twain, who's being honored with the ACM Poet’s Award at Wednesday's ceremony.
"It's Shania's night! When I was asked to be a part of it, to honor her, we were just thinking about every possible way that we can highlight every stage of her career," Ballerini told ET. "One of the things that I think she's an icon because of is her fashion, and the way she's always pushing boundaries. I wanted to honor that part of her too."
Ballerini was hopeful she'd be able to don the gown, but worried it may not happen since alterations were not allowed.
"It's only allowed to leave the museum for 48 hours, so I tried it on yesterday. I had back up just in case," she explained. "We're not allowed to obviously alter anything so I am. I am just a little bit taller, and so far that's the only thing we noticed."
Twain noticed the height difference too, recalling to ET, "I said, 'Isn't it too short for you?' She's quite a bit taller. And she goes, 'Oh, I just changed the shoes. I just wore lower shoes.'"
The dress fit and the shoes worked, but Ballerini was still "so scared" to wear the gown, especially because of how much Twain means to her personally.
"You grow up finding people that you're like, 'If I ever get the opportunity to be an artist, I wanna be like that.' Shania, she's that for me," she said. "To be able to honor her is one thing, but to be able to honor her and have her blessing, this kind of feels like she's continuing to be that. It's like, 'I like what you're doing enough to let you wear my dress that I won my GRAMMYs in.' It's just also very affirming and reassuring, so it's sweet."
The gown isn't the only way Ballerini is honoring Twain, she's also opening the ceremony by performing the superstar's 1997 hit, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman."
"I'm living my best fan girl life," Ballerini gushed. "I can't even. I am, like, out of body."
For Twain, earning the ACM Poet’s Award, a distinction that is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, is "a huge, huge honor."
"The song writing is everything to me, the storytelling. This is really where I began telling stories," she told ET. "... It's just probably the most meaningful compliment. It's at the depth of the work that I do."
The 15th Annual Academy of Country Music Honors will air Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.