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During the annual Country Music Association Music Festival, about 150 people had crammed into The Stage, a bar on lower Broadway in Nashville, enjoying the AC and a cover band, when Shelton walked in the back door.
He's 6 feet 5 inches tall, so it was hard to miss him.
"When you have a broken heart -- at least, when I do -- you got to get it out of your system. I was at rock bottom, in the middle of hell." For a while, Shelton stayed with Adam Levine.
"As close as we have been, we got even closer." began to shoot season nine in the spring, he decided to tell everyone at the show.
Though he and Lambert hadn't announced their divorce, he knew it would be final by the time the blind auditions were broadcast in September, and he didn't want his producers and fellow judges to refer to Lambert as "Blake's wife."Shelton and Stefani had met two years prior, when she joined as a coach in season seven.
But she recently had given birth to her son Apollo, and Shelton "never really got to know her, other than small talk." When Stefani didn't return for season eight, Shelton assumed he would never see her again.
Amid whoops and selfies, he commandeered the stage.
For about an hour, Shelton -- country singer, star of and brand ambassador for HAVIN' A DAMN GOOD TIME -- plays unplugged, relying on the qualities that distinguish him from other Nashville singers: honesty, charm and self-deprecating wit. Blake Shelton: The Billboard Cover Shoot He instructed the Stage staff to hand out free beers while he himself drained a couple of Coronas and pulled at a vodka-and-diet-soda mix in a coffee mug.
The TV-Made Country Stars Tradition -- From Patsy Cline to Carrie Underwood"When we recorded the vocals for some of these songs, I was only six months removed from when all the crap went down," says Shelton." Shelton asks, slumping on a sofa at Starstruck Entertainment, a white-gloss, shockingly modern three-story palace in the heart of Music Row in Nashville.He's sipping from a big plastic cup of at least 12 ounces of vodka and diet soda -- a boozy Slurpee.an embarrassment to everyone involved." For years, he has been the clown prince of country, a sentimental, amiable lug who loves booze, women and sarcasm.
He's the emotional center of "He has brought star power to country music that I don't think it has seen in a while, and he has brought a bunch of new fans, too," says singer Trace Adkins, a good friend.Later that day, she asked to talk with Shelton, alone."I thought it was going to be another one of those things-are-going-to-be-OK talks," he recalls.