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Blake Shelton Speaks Out After ‘Lord’ Removed From Gospel Song on ‘The Voice’

Blake Shelton
Jason Davis, Getty Images

Blake Shelton says some things shouldn’t be changed — especially lyrics to time-honored songs. So when he realized the performers of the classic tune ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’ on his hit reality TV show ‘The Voice’ removed the word “Lord” from the song, he became irate over the unapproved change.

The incident occurred when Seattle’s Starbucks Chorus performed with the Top 8 contestants, replacing the word “Lord” in the line “in the sky, Lord, in the sky” with the word “oh.” Shelton admits he was unaware of the lyric change until his Twitter followers exploded with disapproval over the song’s alteration.

“I don’t know what, how it happened, I’m learning about it just like you guys are,” Shelton tells Zap2it. “I was sitting in my chair singing that song how I grew up on it, with ‘in the sky, Lord, in the sky.’ I sang it as loud as I could. And that might be why I didn’t realize until after the fact that ‘Lord’ was either taken out, or it was just performed some other way.”

The ‘Mine Would Be You’ singer immediately tried to find out why the change occurred.

“I’ve heard, in the 20 minutes I’ve had since the show ended to come in here — a lot of different reasons why it was that way,” he explains. “I know it was performed — and it’s meant for a good cause, and they’re trying to raise some money. And that’s a good thing. But I will say, that’s not the version I grew up on. And that’s not the version I was singing sitting in my chair, if that clears up anything [about] where I stand on this thing.”

The show’s executive producer, Mark Burnett, says he did not approve the lyric change, and he was just as surprised as everyone else.

“Especially for those of us who know this song from church so well … I realized immediately what had happened,” Burnett notes. “I thought I’d misheard on the sound. Then came the next chorus, and I’m like, ‘OK, it’s live TV, so I’ve got to wait until the next commercial break. I’m running over there and asking the question.'”

Burnett does explain that in order to provide the song free on iTunes, they had to use the public domain version of the song, which does not include the word “Lord,” but also doesn’t include the word “oh.” The version most people are familiar with is the version made popular in country music, which includes the word “Lord.”

When Shelton’s Twitter feed exploded, with many of his followers blaming him for the word omission, the Oklahoma native made it clear that he had nothing to do with the song’s performance. Still, he promises he will try to get to the bottom of the controversy, saying, “Will do,” in response to one person’s tweet asking him to let his TV bosses know how disappointed they were by the song’s alteration.

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