The Voice wouldn’t be the show it is without Blake Shelton. There are many great country music artists, but there’s only one Blake: talented, but also a capable and dedicated coach, a great person, and so hilarious that it’s impossible not to smile around him. Recently, Blake talked with me about what Season 3 has been like for him, and how he’d describe himself as a coach.
There are only two of Blake’s artists remaining in the running this season – Cassadee Pope and Terry McDermott – meaning that under Season 3’s new rules, the entirety of Team Blake could go home in one night and leave him without a finalist. Asked if that increases his stress level, “Damn right it does,” Blake said. “No coach wants to be a douchebag sitting there with nobody left in this competition, just sitting in a chair for no reason. I don’t want that to happen. That’d be a crushing blow to my ego,” he added with a laugh.
He has plenty to have an ego about, especially after he won three CMA Awards earlier this month, including his third straight Male Vocalist of the Year trophy and the top prize, Entertainer of the Year. But the hardware isn’t going to Blake’s head. Before our interview, he pulls me into a hug and tells me that he’s glad to see me. That’s a kindness many artists wouldn’t extend, but it’s typical for Blake.
He’s not coasting through the competition, either. Each season of The Voice has seen significant changes to the rule book, from Season 2’s instant eliminations at the end of performance shows to Season 3’s steals during the battle rounds, and Blake thinks it’s a good thing that the show has evolved. “I like that they change it up. I don’t know, as a viewer, how people feel about it. I know that they tell me ratings-wise this is the biggest season that we’ve ever had, so something’s got to be working,” he reflected.
“When you raise the stakes and you put us in that situation, the coaches, there’s a part of people that want to see us be humbled,” he continued. “And it’s humbling when you’re sitting there, going ‘Oh my God, I could be not having anybody in this thing, just sitting here like an idiot?’ It makes me step up my game and make sure there’s no stone unturned. I think of everything I can.”
Whatever he’s thinking, it’s working. Blake has proven that he’s an excellent coach, not only in that he’s the reigning champion after his finalist Jermaine Paul won Season 2, but also because his artists have thoroughly praised how he supports them not just as artists but also personally.
“I get on tremendously well with Blake,” said Terry McDermott of his coach on the red carpet earlier this season. “I like him as a person, I think he’s a great coach. It turns out that Scottish country and American country really aren’t that far apart. They’re very straight talking, down to earth and I think there’s a connection there that really made it easy for me to get on and enjoy being on his team.”
Added Season 2 semifinalist Erin Willett: “Blake and I have a really great personal relationship, through all the things that we’ve been through. After I was eliminated, I ended up getting together at Blake’s house and we had a great conversation, and it wasn’t even about the show. I’m so thankful and lucky that I got to be on his team.”
It’s clear that the artists he’s worked with admire him, but how does Blake evaluate himself as a coach? “I’ve never had really a style of coaching,” he explained. “I just kind of approach it with each artist is a different artist, and they have different things they need to work on. Some artists just need me to stay out of their way, and some of them maybe need a little guidance here and there. But I’m not a music teacher. I’m just a guy that has some advice for them and hopefully it’s right and hopefully they listen.”
If you’re not getting enough of him on The Voice, there’s even more Blake on NBC this season as the network airs his first holiday special, Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas, on December 3 (10 PM ET/PT, right after The Voice) with an encore on December 14 (9 PM ET/PT). The hour-long show includes an appearance by Christina Aguilera, as well as three of Blake’s Voice advisors – Reba, Kelly Clarkson and Miranda Lambert – and, if that wasn’t enough for you, Blake’s mother. The special ties in with the release of his recent CD, Cheers, It’s Christmas.
You should also be following Blake on Twitter (@blakeshelton). He’ll be back in his big red chair tonight at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC, as The Voice prepares to cut its Top 8 to Top 6 this week.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.