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When Blake Shelton needed tried and true friends to help mentor his new team on this season of “The Voice,” he knew just where to turn: Rascal Flatts.

Why? Because, “Little Big Town was booked,” Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus quipped.

You can always count on Jay for a comeback.

But Blake gave as good as he got, joking that in order to get Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney to participate, he had to invite the whole band.

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Each member of Team Blake had a chance to come in and meet with Blake and Rascal Flatts in their first mentor session, and everyone seemed so excited to see Jay, Joe Don and lead singer Gary LeVox.

“I’m a big fan of Rascal Flatts,” contestant Ryan Scripps said. His buddy and team mate, Red Marlow added, “Gary LeVox is the singin’est fool ever. He’s got more licks than a basket of lollipops.”

No truer words, Red.

One team member, Anna Catherine Dehart, hugged Joe Don extra long, admitting, “He’s always been just so cute to me.”

But everyone was just as excited to learn from Blake, too.

Team member Esera Tuaolo said, “One think I love about Blake, just watching him on the show and seeing how he interacts with people on his team, he doesn’t try to change their style, he tries to enhance it.”

RELATEDA handsome crooner on “The Voice” lands on Team Blake after channeling Darius Rucker

Although Noah Mac isn’t a country singer himself, he’s pumped about the chance to learn from Blake.

“He’s an amazing person to work with. There’s something genuine about him,” Mac said.

Teammate Keisha Renee chimed in, “He cares!”

Nashville’s own Natalie Stovall said of Blake, “He’s one of the guys that’s taken country music and introduced it to a whole new audience because of ‘The Voice.’”

And while everyone is singing Blake’s praises, he’s singing theirs right back.

“We’ve got some good ol’ country singers in here,” Blake told Rascal Flatts as the session got underway.

As for the Flatts guys, they were equally impressed with the crop of talent Team Blake is serving up.

“This show in particular, to see the growth in such a short time period is amazing,” Joe Don said.

Gary added, “Every single person who’s been on team Blake throughout the years has been like, ‘Blake is the greatest guy in the world.’”

Samantha Stephens absolutely lives for music. When she's not making it, she's talking or writing about it. She's worked in all arenas of the country music world for nearly a decade, from syndicated radio and television to print journalism. She's even been known to crash a red carpet or two, true story.
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