Blake Shelton was trying to woo a contestant on The Voice over to his team when fellow Voice coach Adam Levine — hearing the bro-mance brewing in Shelton’s voice — asked “What is this the Dating Game or The Voice?” Shelton proceeded undisturbed by Levine’s take — he doubled down on his pursuit of singer Blaine Mitchell. Taking Levine’s insinuation and comically referring to a romantic relationship with the singer, Shelton said “Hey, the world is changing. I’m up for that too, man.”
Shelton’s humorous acknowledgement (“the world is changing”) of a new America where LGBT rights are real and where gay marriage is a national institution — according to the Supreme Court — got an ovation from all three of the other Voice coaches. It was a subtle but significant moment on national television. Shelton is one of the titans of country music — not a genre known as particularly LGBT friendly. And here was Shelton informing Americans that he lives in a changed world — and so do they. Shelton may be as comfortable in his skin as any big name in show business — and his humor and openness, on display in this single comment, are a happy bellwether for gay rights because Shelton finds his main audience among those most resistant to the change. Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine rose quickly to their feet to applaud Shelton’s statement, the way you do when the truth floats right in front of you. The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.