Point/Counterpoint: Blake Shelton: American Idol?

Blake Shelton recently won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award for 2012. Shelton is a judge on NBC’s “The Voice” and released a hit album in 2011 entitled “Red River Blue”. Shelton is praised for his take on traditional country music, but is his style original enough to merit an award?

Point by Kia C. Turner

Blake Shelton is the man. Shelton is everything you could ever want in a country singer, from the lovable cowboy on “The Voice” to the bad-boy in his classic rugged country song “Good Ol’ Boys.” Shelton’s rural background, which is prevalent in all of his songs, is what gives him such a great fan base and why he was named Entertainer of the Year 2012.

Shelton brings country to a new level in songs like “Hillbilly Bone,” in which he gets that classic country guitar riff going in a way that can inspire his listeners to put their cowboy boots on and take their trucks down to Alabama. The way he highlights being from a small town may help a lot of people feel proud of where they come from, even if it is considered “hillbilly.”

Shelton is probably most popular for his sweet and tender ballads like “God Gave Me You,” “Over,” and “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking.” These are the emotional songs that can really pull on the heartstrings of his fans. We fall into his trap when he uses his distinct Southern twang to serenade his country sweetheart. His lyrics are heart-melting and the perfect thing to sit down, kick back, and relax to.

Another reason that Shelton is a lovable artist is because his persona is not complete without his woman—Miranda. The perfect country duo boosts Shelton’s image, and fans go crazy when they perform together. With her, Shelton’s words come to life and make fans only want more of his distinctly country, distinctly American music.

Rebuttal by Camila Victoriano

Shelton hasn’t managed to bring country to a “new level,” especially with his ballads. Specifically, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” leaves a lot to be desired, with lyrics like “But I’ve not tasted all your cooking / Who are you when I’m not looking?” What does her cooking have to do with her mysterious and attractive being? Also, the fact that Miranda plays such a big factor in who he is as an artist and how valuable he is to country music isn’t a good thing. An artist should stand alone, and Shelton—because of his reliance on his wife and overdone country techniques—most definitely does not

Counterpoint by Camila Victoriano

Blake Shelton is most definitely not the man. Following the typical country pattern of twang, hillbilly pride, and daddy’s girls, his songs fall into the generic, ’murica-loving music that we hear from most other country artists. In the song “Austin,” he sings, “If it’s Friday night I’m at the ballgame /And first thing Saturday, if it don’t rain / I’m headed out to the lake.” These lyrics have no meaning. All they are telling the audience is what he did on some weekend. The next thing he’ll say is “Yesterday was Thursday.” Shelton’s music follows such basic country music convention that in one of his songs he actually yells out “Yee-haw!” However, it is not too much of a mystery as to why Shelton managed to grab Entertainer of the Year. Shelton, compared to the other judges in the hit series “The Voice,” is obviously the most amiable character. Adam Levine is the bad boy, Cee-Lo Green plays the wild card and Christina Aguilera is the female powerhouse, leaving Shelton with the easy task of playing your generic country sweetheart. He is aided by the cuteness factor that his blonde, bombshell wife Miranda adds to the mix. As a country couple, they’re the equivalent of a white picket fence: the typical American ideal. It would be nearly impossible to find a man that exemplifies stereotypical country values more than Shelton does.

Shelton’s award is not due to how musically talented he is—voices and lyrics like his have been heard for decades already—but rather to how he has suddenly become America’s “poster-boy.” With his cowboy boots, acoustic guitar, twangy voice, and TV show, he’s got all that national audiences want. They only needed the award to make it official.

Rebuttal by Kia C. Turner

“Hillbilly” pride and daddy’s girls are uniquely American, and so is Shelton. Though his lyrics may seem petty to some, they really do show day-to-day life. Most people’s lives aren’t filled with the glitz and the glam that rappers talk about, nor are they filled with the over-hyped angst that rockers sing about. Most people are going to ballgames and thinking about going to the lake if it doesn’t rain. It is this simplicity that makes Shelton so brilliant. Between his words, his marriage, and his commitment to country, Shelton can’t be beat.

Tags