Former teeny boppers the Jonas Brothers have accrued plenty of mishaps and cringeworthy moments throughout their almost two decades in the spotlight (remember the purity rings?). Now, the youngest of the trio, Nick Jonas, is opening up about one “tragic” incident at an awards show that pushed him into therapy.
On the latest episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, which featured Nick and his brothers Joe and Kevin, the 30-year-old recalled his infamous guitar solo at the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards. Nick, who at the time was performing as a solo act, joined country singer Kelsea Ballerini on stage for a duet of her hit song “Peter Pan.” While his vocals were solid, his guitar playing was noticeably off.
“Kelsea and I had a couple performances together,” he explained on the podcast. “And this was one of them. 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.
“As I walked towards her, I just went completely blank,” he continued. “And I hit a wrong note and blacked out, basically, and clocked that it was wrong and I couldn’t stop.”
Nick said he was “rushed to a car and rushed to a plane” right after the disastrous performance, though he couldn’t escape the online criticism that quickly bubbled up. Like most awards show flubs, his guitar solo immediately went viral; an “Expectation Vs. Reality” video someone made of the performance has over 4.2 million views on YouTube.
On the podcast, Nick said he still “can’t figure out what exactly happened” to make the performance go awry, but it was apparently traumatizing enough that he sought out mental health treatment.
“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 added: “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.”
In hindsight, the guitar solo definitely could’ve been worse. On the other hand, Nick has previously admitted to having stage fright and has been characterized as the “shy” brother among his older siblings, so his initial reaction makes sense. Good to know that particular performance is no longer agonizing him.