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This guy is new to me, but he made a nice appearance this week on Saturday Night Live.

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The rap influence was interesting, even throwing signs. Justin Bieber throws signs too while rapping about "please be my girl friend and don't leave me because I love you." Like getting tanned at the beach: as long you are not born that color.

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Blake Shelton is definitely aware of music and culture outside of the country-and-western world, including rap. His song is probably a bit too simplistic and cliched to be called great, but I think it shows a wonderful amount of self-confidence and pride in being who you really are -- even a Southerner or country boy. It reminds me of Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic Sweet Home Alabama.

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It's very trendy in country music right now to include rap influences. It's been slowly building over a few years, but seems to have reached a tipping point. Many country artists are incorporating it now.

Regarding Blake Shelton, I wonder where you've been, Kyrel, to have never been introduced to him. He's everywhere! :smile: He's one of the original judges on the popular singing competition The Voice. I think this is where he started getting widely influenced by other genres since many are covered in that show, and it has given him opportunities to work professionally with artists from other genres.

That said, I've always thought he was only a mediocre singer. In my opinion, his success relies heavily on the personal brand he has developed for himself and his ability to choose songs suited to his voice and style.

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Deanna -- This is hardly the first time, in the past 20 years, I've run across some ultra-successful singer on a popular t'v' show which I've never even heard of. I read Rolling Stone like it's a foreign publication. I remember back about 15 years ago checking out the old-time t'v' ratings and observing that nothing in the Top Twenty seemed any good, and that of the bottom 8 of about 112 network shows maybe five were my favorites. Talk about being out of touch with the current zeitgeist! And now even those are gone.

I agree that Blake Shelton's voice is mediocre. So who are the great country-and-western singers of today which might appeal to an Objectivist?

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Kyrel, I started watching The Voice myself because my sister loves it and wanted to "share" it with me. It's a sister-bonding thing. I'd consider giving it up except that it introduces me to music I might not otherwise have known existed but really really enjoy.

Anyway, I'll have to think on your question. Country music is full of independent-minded folks, and their music leans in that direction. However, a lot of them are very religious, too. I'm not sure where that would put them in the minds of Objectivists. I'll get back to you.

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