When Blake Shelton and Dan + Shay were both nominated in the Single of the Year category – Shelton for "God's Country" and Dan + Shy for "Speechless" – Shelton threatened to physically harm the duo if they won, but thankfully it was all in good fun. Shelton ended up winning the CMA Award, and Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney walked away without a scratch
"They were sitting directly behind me, and I said, 'Hey, if you guys win this award, I'm gonna kick your a––, because I haven't been nominated for any stuff in, like, a hundred years," Shelton said at a media event (via PEOPLE).
"Thank God we didn't have to fight," Shelton added. "I think that might have helped with the ratings if they thought there was actually a chance that people were gonna throw down and fight on the CMAs."
Shelton wasn't expecting to hear his name mentioned when the nominations were announced, and admits he had more or less given up on even going to awards shows.
"We're doing The Voice," he used to think. "I don't want to take up somebody's seat."
Before "God's Country," his two previous singles didn't land at the top spot on the charts, making Shelton wonder if his best days in country music were behind him.
"Especially for me, having been on a roll at radio, it's like, 'Oh, s—. We knew this would happen eventually, right?'" said the singer. "I'm not the new guy anymore. … You always wonder what it'll feel like whenever that starts slipping away a little bit. I think about that stuff a lot, and I always wonder, like, 'Man, how am I gonna feel when this kind of goes away, and I'm not that hot any more in the industry?'
"And I was kind of okay with it," he maintained. "I thought, 'My God, I've got a lot more out of this than I thought I would.' I was having that kind of a pity party."
Shelton reflected on the surprising success of "God's Country" backstage at the CMA Awards after being declared the winner.
"For me, it was a little bit of a throwback with a little more of a rock edge," Shelton told PopCulture.com and other media. "I knew that there were at least some people out there that were starving for a song like that, because I was one of them. But I had no idea that it would do everything that it did for me, and [I'd] stand up holding one of these things, because you can never see that coming.
"But I'm really happy it did because it shows me that there's still an audience out there that's starving for music like that," he countered, "and radio, it still gives it a chance and it works for all of us."
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt