USMagazine, Thursday, June 16, 2011, 11:28am (PDT)
America may have been surprised when Blake Shelton voted to save Xenia from elimination on The Voice, but the country crooner says there was no doubt in his mind she'd stick around to sing again.
"It blows me away" that fans were shocked he saved her over male contestants Jared Blake and Patrick Thomas, Shelton told Jay Leno in a Wednesday night interview. One day earlier, during The Voice's results show, Shelton defended his decision, telling The Voice's audience that he couldn't "affect change with Jared or Patrick like I can with Xenia."
Convinced Dia Frampton would be saved by the public vote, Shelton tells Leno he thought long and hard about who to save as he assessed his remaining team members.
"I looked at Patrick, Jared and Xenia up there, and I don't know about ya'll, if you're watching, but I love Xenia," says Shelton, who wed fellow country crooner Miranda Lambert in May. "I'm protective of her."
In the last moments before revealing his choice, Shelton says he went with his gut -- and let his kind, Southern roots be his guide.
"All three of them are talented, but here's where the Oklahoma guy [in me comes out]," Shelton says. "Like, there's two grown men, and then there's Xenia. And I'll be damned if I'm going to be the guy to send that little girl home. I'm a fan of hers, and I'm not going to tell her no."
Letting the two country guys go, Shelton will now guide Xenia and Frampton into next week's semi-final round, with the winner of The Voice pocketing a $100,000 prize and a record contract at the conclusion of June 29's finale.