Country superstar Blake Shelton pulled double duty on Saturday Night Live last night, making his debut as both host and musical guest. Naturally, the singer/television personality combined his comedic and musical chops.
As host, Shelton had more than a couple musical moments. He kept the audience in stitches with an appropriately hokey take on Hee Haw in his opening monologue; he did an impressive Alan Jackson impersonation on a mock music video for a country parody called “Wishin’ Boot”; he gave a twinkle-eyed nod to his most well-known TV gig in The Voice vs. American Idol “Celebrity Family Feud” sketch; and he crooned a “Topeka Today” tune about domestic weirdness. But the singer’s straight-ahead musical performances were, save for a little call-and-response banter with Gwen Sebastian, no laughing matter.
As musical guest, Shelton showcased a near-year-old single from 2014’s Bringing Back the Sunshine and, perhaps making up for lost time with this being his SNL debut and all, performed one of the biggest hits from his 2013 album, Based on a True Story….
Certainly Shelton’s 2013 bro-country standard “Boys ‘Round Here” is by no means a new tune, and there was nothing necessarily new about the singer’s SNL performance of the song. As such, Shelton decked out in denim, winking, shucking and jiving while singing the salute to “red-red-red-red-redneck” partyin’ in a woozy bellow-rap. It’s familiar territory to country faithful, but no doubt was a first look for many American households who only know him from The Voice.
Sporting his charcoal-vest-on-black-button-up-shirt bartender’s look and fittingly bathed in blue neon, Shelton and his band also performed an equally straightforward rendition of his sprightly 2014 chart-topper, “Neon Light.” (Watch below.) Aside from the elite group of musicians he joins as an SNL host, the Oklahoma native is one of only five country stars to have performed on the legendary show since 2007.