Blake Shelton is a busy guy, to say the least. As fans well know, he's currently in Los Angeles hard at work coaching the new season of "The Voice," as well as tweeting sarcastic/joking comments suggesting he's working on his last record ever (we hope that's not the case, at least the part about it being his last). So, what does the Grammy-nominated country superstar reach for when he needs a quick hit of energy?
Pizza. Shelton is such a fan of the stuff that he's agreed to partner up with Pizza Hut to launch their brand-new line of barbecue pizzas, which come in three varieties (one named specifically after Shelton, the "Blake's Smokehouse"). He'll appear in a national commercial for the chain, which — true to form — plays off the singer's well-documented sense of humor. In the ad, Shelton advises a panel of celeb chefs on the proper way to backyard barbecue... something the Oklahoma native assures us he knows a thing or two about.
Our Country was one of a few select luckies who got to actually visit Shelton while filiming on the set of the commercial. Shelton sat down with us to relate stories from his past (including one about stuffing a deer carcass in his buddy's car years ago), discuss his present activities, and — of course — get all cheesy about pizza.
Our Country: Tell us about your decision to work on this commercial. You haven't done too many advertisements to date; what drew you to Pizza Hut?
Blake Shelton: I'm actually a fan of this idea, barbecue pizza. I'm having a lot of fun working with the Pizza Hut people. They're so much fun to be around. Their headquarters is in Dallas, and that's basically right outside of where I live anyway, so we already have a lot in common. I wish all my work days were this much fun!
So how much pizza have you eaten during this shoot?!
They're not letting me have too much, because they want to keep them looking pretty. I've had two and a half — no — one and a half slices today.
Have you tried all the varieties?
I haven't had the chicken. But I had the smokehouse barbecue, and what's the one with pineapples? Hawaiian barbecue. It's delicious.
Are you allowed to endorse one as your favorite?
Hell yeah, I like that smokehouse. It's like a meat-lover's version of barbecue pizza.
In this ad, you're poised as a barbecue expert, showing professional chefs how barbecue is meant to be done. Are you as talented a griller in real life?
That might be a little bit of a stretch, barbecue expert — I am good at building fires and putting meat on the fire. [Laughs]
What's your favorite type of meat to barbecue?
I like doing ribs because you don't have to wait as long. And you can do a lot of different rubs.
I thought for sure you'd say venison. I heard you talking earlier about a prank involving a deer... you didn't grill up that guy later, now did you?
Mmm! That would have been delicious, with all the bloating going on... Ha. No, I actually have never tried barbecuing or smoking deer. That's a good idea. I haven't done that. I'm gonna now.
Shifting gears, how do you feel about Gwen Stefani joining "The Voice"?
I love her. I've never met her, but clearly I'm a fan. You can't help but respect what she's done as a hard-working individual; the success of her band, her success as a solo act, and all the other — the fashion stuff, that I know nothing about but I know it's a big deal because I hear about it from my wife all the time! I'm anxious to be around anybody like that, I think. I admire her work ethic and think she'll be good for the show. I feel sorry for her, because she's going to lose— to me —but I'll be nice about it.
And what about Pharrell?
Oh my gosh, the first time I met Pharrell, he performed "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke on "The Voice" ... the way they launched that song — I was blown away. He has as much to do with that record as Robin did. I thought who is this guy, he isn't just a behind-the-scenes guy. Pharrell's going to bring back that element of what Cee Lo did, which is the all-around hands-on musician.
One of the things that makes you so popular with fans on "The Voice" is the fact that you really, genuinely care about your team. Even if they aren't the ultimate winner of the season, you take them under your wing; you don't just abandon them. Your duet with Gwen Sebastian on the 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards, for example, was really touching.
It's hard not to… I don't know how you just walk away after the season's over and you worked with these people and created these relationships. You want to see them do well.
Gwen [Sebastian] still holds it over my head: "You know, you kicked me off 'The Voice,'" and I'm like, "Yeah, but I hired you." [Laughs] I want to help them when I can, and more importantly I just want to be a friend to them. I know what it's like to be a new struggling musician, and you need all the friends and help you can get.
One last question. Is Purrfect the Cat coming back?
Ha ha ha! I hope not. See, I don't like cats. Smelly cat!