Los Angeles Christmas shoppers received an early gift on Saturday when a special guest visited the Westfield Culver City mall--no, it wasn't Santa Claus! It was, however, country music star and Voice coach Blake Shelton, who likely didn't care if anyone was on the "naughty list"--he spread the holiday mood with a free concert for all in the mall's parking lot.
The show was the last stop on Shelton's jcpenney Holiday Giving tour, a philanthropic 12-day trek of free shows across the U.S. Accompanying Shelton was his former Team Blake mentor from Season 2 of The Voice (and newly minted Republic Nashville recording artist), RaeLynn.
Shelton had a few minutes to chat before the show, and shared some thoughts on a very productive 2012 and holiday season.
When asked what his career highlight of the year was, Shelton touched on November's Country Music Association Awards, where he scored the top honor of the night. "It's hard to beat that Entertainer of the Year win," he admitted.
However, "I'm still having so much fun with the Voice," he noted. "It's hard to put into words how exciting and gratifying it is. You see these people when they start, and what they become by the end of the show, and just to have a small part in their life in that way--that' s hard to replace."
Shelton, of course, is married to fellow superstar Miranda Lambert, who revealed last month that all she wants for Christmas this year is...exotic livestock. A llama and an alpaca, to be exact. Did Shelton actually get them for her? "I didn't," he laughed, adding, "Just so you know, I've been keepin' up with that. Every month, I'm like 'Are you sure that's what you want for Christmas?' And finally this month she said 'No, I don't want one now, 'cause I don't know where I'm gonna put it, and I don't wanna mess with it.' And I was like, 'Thank God. Thank You, God. I don't have to go search for an alpaca somewhere.'"
He also had a few fond words for his special guest RaeLynn, whom Shelton and Lambert have unofficially "adopted" into their family. "I tell you what. If there is anybody who can wear me out, it's gotta be RaeLynn. She's staying at the house; she always stays with us when she's in Los Angeles. She is a handful! People wonder why I drink so much? It's because I spend a lot of time around RaeLynn--that's why!"
Handful though she may be, Raelynn kicked the show off sweetly with a kittenish version of "Santa Baby," prancing about the stage in a festive white strapless gown with red lipstick and a red flower in her hair. She then treated the audience to something special: the live premiere of her first single, "I Want Your Boyfriend," a soulful ballad which she'll debut on national TV during Tuesday's episode of The Voice.
The crowd gave RaeLynn a warm reception, but there was no doubt whom they were hankering to see--earsplitting cheers welcomed Shelton as he made his way on stage. "I think y'all thought Adam [Levine] was gonna be here--it's just me," he deadpanned, then treated the audience to a stripped-down set of favorite tunes, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. He led off with "Drink On It," then offered up "Home" from his new Christmas album, "God Gave Me You," and "Honeybee."
In between songs he held up a cup filled with pink liquid, and joked, "This is what you get when you ask Miranda Lambert to make you a drink."
Before exiting, Shelton implored the cheering crowd to "vote for Team Blake" on The Voice. "It'll ruin my Christmas if you don't!" he insisted.