I most certainly had high hopes for The Voice’s Blake Shelton SNL debut last night as the country superstar was booked to both host and perform as the musical guest. While the show got off to a strong start with a cold open about the NFL’s “Deflate-gate” and Shelton’s “Hee-Haw” style opening monologue, the show appeared to feel off a cliff after this weeks more disastrous than usual “Weekend Update” segment. It wasn’t all bad though and Shelton’s episode had a lot of strong segments, so let’s focus on those for now.
Patriots Press Conference Cold Open
Probably the funniest sketch of the night opened the show as the cast of SNL addressed “Deflate-gate” with Taran Killam playing Patriot’s QB Tom Brady and Beck Bennett as coach Bill Belichick. You know a sketch works when you’ve been out of town for a week and have no idea what it’s in reference to (this was me as I watched this morning) and it’s still really, really funny.
Blake Shelton’s Hee-Haw Monologue
Saturday Night Live isn’t known for its country music presence but Blake Shelton has formed a good working relationship with NBC having been one of the coaches on The Voice for four years and been featured in his own Christmas special so it was only natural for the sketch comedy show to book him to host one of these days. Being from the south myself, I thought his “Hee-Haw” monologue was a great way to introduce Shelton to those who might not be so familiar with his music and poke a little fun at the perception of the country music fan at the same time. Also, the always wonderful Leslie Jones steals the sketch once again.
Another fun and almost risque sketch, “Farm Hunk,” a delightful swipe at ABC’s The Bachelor saw the female cast vying for the affections of Shelton’s handsome Iowa farmer. The ladies shined and the sketch was one of the strongest of the night.
One of the things that Shelton’s episode had going for it is that it wasn’t afraid to have a little fun with the perception of mainstream country music. “Wishin’ Boot” was a song that could totally be played in heavy rotation on country radio that fans would eat up. The joke pays off at the last line of the song and I enjoyed the always outspoken Shelton being a part of it.
The last sketch of the night, “Magician” saw Shelton put down the guitar and rely on his charm and personality to make the scene work. While the execution was a little bumpy, there was something I really liked about this one even though it wasn’t perfect…