Usher, Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton hosted an emotional Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert Wednesday in Oklahoma City to benefit United Way's recovery efforts in tornado-ravaged Oklahoma.
"I'm here tonight with some of my closest friends ... to rebuild this land that means so much to me," Shelton, an Oklahoma native, said at the beginning of the telecast. "Are you all ready to start healing in the heartland?"
After opening the show with his ballad "God Gave Me You," Shelton also closed the show, performing a stirring duet of Michael Buble's song "Home" with fellow Voice coach Usher.
However, it was a performance by Shelton's wife, Miranda Lambert, that sent the most shivers through the sold-out Chesapeake Energy Arena. Lambert choked up mid-way through her performance of her hit song "The House That Built Me" — so much so that she appeared to have to push herself through finishing the song. As she held out the microphone to the audience, Lambert exhaled to calm herself down. "I love you, Oklahoma," she mouthed to the audience at the song's end, before breaking down in tears again.
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Other performers included Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and One Republic's Ryan Tedder. Many of the songs had inspirational messages, such as Rucker's "True Believers" and Tedder's "Counting Stars."
Carrie Underwood, Jimmy Fallon, Alicia Keys, racer Jimmie Johnson, Jay Leno, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and Toby Keith all provided taped messages. Throughout the hour-long show, viewers were encouraged to donate to the United Way by calling a phone number at the bottom of the screen. In the audience, people held each other by the arms, while lighting candles during the night's slower songs.
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Tornados ripped through the Midwest early last week, killing 26 and injuring more than 200. Some of the worst damage was in Moore, Okla., which is located just 100 miles from where Shelton and Lambert reside. The couple performed "Over You" in tribute to the victims of the tragedy last week on The Voice. Images showing the post-tornado damage, houses ablaze and cars stacked on top of each other were shown during the concert, which was broadcast on NBC, Style, Bravo, E! and G4.
What was your favorite performance of the evening?