Blake Shelton caps huge 2011 by playing Thackerville concert tonight, NBC’s New Year’s Eve show Saturday
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Blake Shelton looks to top breakout 2011 in coming year
BAM: The Oklahoma country star will play a sold-out home state show Friday at WinStar World Casino, followed by a national TV performance Saturday night on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly.”
It’s hard to imagine Blake Shelton surpassing his chart-topping, award-winning, inroads-paving 2011.
But the way his New Year is looking so far, the Oklahoma country music star just might pull it off.
The Ada native will ring in 2012 with a national TV performance Saturday night on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly,” airing at 9 p.m. Oklahoma time on the network home of the hit reality show “The Voice, which stars Shelton as a celebrity coach and Daly as its host.
Along with Shelton and Daly, the special will feature fellow “The Voice” celebrity coach Cee Lo Green, rapper Drake, British pop star Jessie J, hip-hop band The Roots and legendary crooner Tony Bennett.
Shelton also will close out 2011 closer to home: The Tishomingo resident will play a sold-out show Friday night at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville. The home state concert will be his last before he launches his hotly anticipated “Well Lit & Amplified Tour” headlining tour Jan. 12 in Toledo, Ohio.
On the cover of its Jan. 2 issue, Country Weekly magazine declares 2011 “The Year of Blake!,” while Billboard recently named Shelton one of the top country artists of 2011.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Although the innovative TV vocal competition “The Voice” was ostensibly intended to launch the career of a relative unknown, Shelton became the true breakout star of the surprise hit show.
“I really am having a lot of fun with it. I’m glad I did it. You know, being just a redneck from Oklahoma, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a different world to step into that Hollywood spotlight and be on television once a week in front of that many people,” Shelton told me in a phone interview back in May during the show’s successful first-season run.
“I think ‘The Voice’ has set a couple of records for viewers, and however they spun it, it’s a lot of people watching. And it’s scary to be in that situation because you know my mouth, I’ve already got myself in trouble a few times just because I’m a redneck and I’m gonna tell you what I think and that’s never gonna change. I think that’s gonna be an adjustment for the network and producers and for me a little bit.”
But Shelton’s shoot-from-the-hip frankness made him a fan favorite on the series, which introduced the colorful Okie star to a whole new audience. As Billboard noted, he “may not have crossed over in the traditional sense, but he surely paved some pop culture inroads.”
Other highlights from Shelton’s 2011: He won a fistful of industry awards, including his second straight Country Music Association male vocalist of the year title; notched his fourth and fifth straight No. 1s on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, continuing a streak dating back to 2009; and saw his summer album “Red River Blue” debut atop both the country album list and the cross-genre Billboard 200.
Oh yeah, he also wed fellow country star and Tishomingo resident Miranda Lambert a star-studded ceremony back in May. He recorded his latest No. 1 hit, the earnest ballad “God Gave Me You,” in honor of her.
The chart-topper, penned by contemporary Christian singer Dave Barnes, recently earned a 2012 Grammy nomination for best country song, an award presented to songwriters. Shelton also garnered Grammy nods for best country album for “Red River Blue” and best country solo performance for the album’s first single “Honey Bee,” a multi-week No. 1 smash that set a record for the fastest-selling digital platinum single for a male country solo artist.
“It’s one thing to be acknowledged by the Grammy voters for one of your songs, but to have two songs nominated, and the album that they’re both off of, is an emotional experience. I may never have something like this in my career again and I’m darn well going to enjoy it!” Shelton said in a statement.
With the Grammys airing in February, his headlining gig at Wisconsin’s huge Country Thunder festival in July and his plans to set sail on a country music-themed cruise next October, Shelton’s stunning career momentum could continue into 2012, particularly with the refined second season of “The Voice” premiering Feb. 5 after what’s traditionally the biggest TV event of the year.
“We’re gonna make the Super Bowl look small,” Shelton recently told Billboard.
Get ready for another Year of Blake.
When: 9 p.m. Friday.
Where: WinStar World Casino, Interstate 35, Exit 1.
Tickets: Sold out.
Information: (800) 622-6317 or www.winstarworldcasino.com.