It’s official – this year’s PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive title has gone to country heartthrob Blake Shelton. The news of his moniker broke Tuesday night (11/14) when the publication teamed up with Shelton and NBC’s The Voice to make the big reveal.
While the Oklahoma native was shocked by the honor (“That y’all must be running out of people,” he told PEOPLE), his friends in country music couldn’t help but express their support for the superstar.
“I mean, he’s a sexy man, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a big goofball too, which is even better,” Brett Eldredge told Sounds Like Nashville and other media at a recent event in Nashville of his Country Music Freaks tourmate. “He’s just Blake: He’s honest, he’s real, he’s unapologetically himself. He’s as real as he is on ‘The Voice’ or onstage — if you see him, he’s the same offstage as well, and I think that makes somebody more charming, honesty and being who you are … He’s doing it right, and we love him for it.”
“I’m not surprised. I don’t think I would be surprised by anything that Blake does or any honor he receives at this point in his career,” added Chris Young. “I know that’s probably a little more sentimental than the reaction that you wanted out of [me] about him being the Sexiest Man [Alive], but I love that guy and I love his music. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and gotten to know him as well as an artist, so it’s just really, really cool to see so many good things continue to happen.”
Luke Bryan, however, couldn’t resist taunting his dear friend after being surprised with the news just minutes before it broke.
“I’m speechless. He’s taken so many things from me. And now this,” he laughed. “Who in the hell is choosing these? Am I being punked? And we’re sure that y’all didn’t Photoshop [his] face over [my] face and change the name? … I guess we’re all stuck with it.”
Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook also razzed the “I’ll Name The Dogs” singer with a hilarious photo of Shelton, drink in hand and laid out on the beach, with fans on Twitter. Westbrook continued his string of tweets by sharing fan contributions that featured photos of Shelton in wonky costumes or with disheveled hair.
Despite the shenanigans, Shelton soaked in the announcement by tweeting throughout The Voice, adding the hashtag #donthatemebecauseimbeautiful.
This year’s Sexiest Man Alive will continue his run on NBC’s The Voice, before embarking on his Country Music Freaks Tour in early 2018. Joining him on the run will be Eldredge, Trace Adkins and Carly Pearce.