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Hoda Kotb, Blake Shelton Puppy Love; Brad Paisley Scavenger Hunt + More: Country Music News Roundup

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The Boot rounds up today’s country music news from around the web.

On Wednesday (March 27), “Today” show, host (and major Blake Shelton fan) Hoda Kotb adopted a rescue dog, a Cockapoo, from PAWS Chicago, promising to reveal the name she had chosen on the following day’s show. Hoda’s niece Hannah suggested the names Blake, Ninja, Boom Boom and Charlie, and Hoda went with Charlie, so as not to be “stalkerish” with Blake. But on Thursday’s show, she received a call live on the air from the country star himself, who said, “You didn’t name your dog after me?”

“Wait a second,” the shocked host replied, “It’s only been named for 30 seconds, you can unring the bell. Is Miranda [Lambert] OK with me naming the dog Blake?”

“Let’s pretend like I asked her and she said yes,” Blake answered. Thus, Hoda’s new best bud will be called Blake! [E! Online]

Casey James will debut his new single, “The Good Life,” on “American Idol” Thursday, April 4 (8:00 PM ET on FOX). The tune is the third single from his self-titled debut, following the recent “Crying on a Suitcase” and “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night.” “This is a dream come true,” says the 2010 “Idol” contestant (he placed third for the season). “To be returning to the show as an artist, to sing and play music that I wrote, co-produced and poured myself into, it doesn’t get any better for me!” Season four “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood will also perform on the April 4 show.

Brad Paisley joins the anchors of ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday, April 1 as a special guest, one week before the April 9 release of his latest album, Wheelhouse, and the “Building a Wheelhouse” interactive book. Given the timing (April Fool’s Day) and his status as king of the country music pranksters, there’s no telling what he might have in store.

Brad also has something special for fans to do online, to get them excited for Wheelhouse. The Wheelhouse Scavenger Hunt is currently underway here. Each day during the contest, Brad is posting — via Facebook or Twitter — clues to the location of a hidden icon, photo or video to be found by contest entrants. The first eligible entrant each day who locates the hidden item, returns to the promotion site and follows the prompts will win a prize. The interactive journey provides insights into the making of the new album. The grand prize is airfare and hotel accommodations for a Brad Paisley concert, along with a meet-and-greet with the star.

Tune-in alert: Gretchen Wilson will guest on the “Today” show Tuesday, April 2, the same day her new album, Right on Time hits stores.

Brantley Gilbert just returned from a life-changing experience: his first USO tour. The singer-songwriter performed for thousands of troops and military families stationed in Italy and Kuwait during his eight-day trek. “Returning from my first USO tour I am both honored and humbled, by having had the chance to spend time with the men and women who serve our country and their families,” he says. “It means so much to me knowing that I was able to bring them a distraction and to take their minds off all the things they are missing back home, even if just for a few hours.”

Easton Corbin, Charlie Worsham, Jerrod Niemann, Jewel, Katie Armiger and Tate Stevens are among the artists to be featured during the free three-day ACM Experience at The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas April 5-7. Fans will also have the opportunity to view scenes from Jewel’s upcoming Lifetime film “Ring of Fire,” in which she portrays June Carter Cash. The men behind the music will participate in the ACM Songwriter Show hosted by Dallas Davidson and Don Schiltz. ACM Song and Songwriter of the Year nominees Phil Barton, Johnny Bulford, Will Hoge, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Jon Stone will perform. See a full schedule here.

Watch Brad Paisley’s ‘Beat This Summer’ Lyric Video

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