Eric Church doesn't hate the players; he just hates the game. The acclaimed singer-songwriter has found himself having to clarify controversial statements made to Rolling Stone -- statements that landed him in hot water with his friend and fellow tourmate Miranda Lambert, and with her husband, Blake Shelton.

"It's become 'American Idol' gone mad," he told the magazine of today's reality competition show craze. "Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green f---ing turn around in a red chair, you get a deal? That's crazy. I don't know what would make an artist do that. You're not an artist."

Naturally, Blake and his wife, who was a 2003 finalist on the TV show "Nashville Star," were offended. But Eric sent a statement to The Boot tonight, via his publicist, saying he did not mean to slam his fellow country stars.

"The comment I made to Rolling Stone was part of a larger commentary on these types of reality television shows and the perception they create, not the artists involved with the shows themselves," Eric clarifies. "The shows make it appear that artists can shortcut their way to success. There are a lot of artists due to their own perseverance that have gone on to be successful after appearing on these shows, but the real obstacles come after the cameras stop rolling. Every artist has to follow up television appearances with dedication towards their craft, but these shows tend to gloss over that part and make it seem like you can be ordained into stardom. I have a problem with those perceived shortcuts, not just in the music industry. Many people have come to think they can just wake up and have things handed to them.

"I have a lot of respect for what artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and my friend Miranda Lambert have gone on to accomplish," continues the "Springsteen" singer. "This piece was never intended to tear down any individual, and I apologize to anybody I offended in trying to shed light on this issue. I am grateful for all of the artists and fans that have supported me along my journey and certainly did not mean for my comments to undermine their talent and achievements."

Eric did not mention Blake in his statement, nor did he retract his stance that reality show judges are tarnishing their legacy. "Once your career becomes something other than the music, then that's what it is. I'll never make that mistake. I don't care if I f---ing starve," he told Rolling Stone.

Miranda was quick to call Eric out on the interview via Twitter Monday, writing, "Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist. Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. Your welcome for the tour in 2010." (Eric opened for Miranda on her Revolution tour.) Blake also tweeted about the controversial interview, writing simply, "I wish I misunderstood this."

Read more about Eric Church's Rolling Stone controversy here.

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