In hindsight, Blake Shelton was an unlikely choice for one of four high-profile coaching jobs on NBC's The Voice. Ten years later, he's the face of the show, to the point that it's impossible to imagine the reality show continuing without him. How did that happen?

In 2011, Shelton was a rising star with potential, but his commercial success was far short of historic. Musically, he was hit and miss over the first decade of his career. No. 1 hits like "Austin" and "Some Beach" were separated by songs that barely cracked the Top 40 (anyone remember "Heavy Liftin'"?) or even the Top 20. Sonically he'd flip-flop between powerful ballads that paid homage to the greats, and tongue-in-cheek, easy rockers that were good for a laugh. In short, he was all over the place.

That began to change when Shelton covered Michael Buble's "Home" in 2008, and as his relationship with rising star Miranda Lambert began to heat up. So, when it was time to choose a country judge to join Adam Levine, CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera on The Voice, he was on a major upswing. But that's not why he got the gig.

Shelton's path to becoming country music's most famous (and in some cases, sexiest) male artist started with not one, but two reality show jobs he had early in his career. Looking back, both were short-term warm ups for a television gig that would put the focus squarely on him and his fellow coaches. We don't tune in to see the contestants each year — they're new, and after each season ends, mostly forgotten. But Shelton's banter with Levine, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani is must-see television.

On the Secret History of Country Music podcast, Taste of Country's Adison Haager and Billy Dukes explore how Shelton got here and how it has affected his career, for better and worse.

Believe it or not, despite a massive paycheck and all of the exposure, there are significant sacrifices. Is it worth it? Listen, click "follow" on your favorite podcast platform, and decide for yourself.

Season 1 of the Secret History of Country Music Podcast is an extension of the popular video series of the same name, and a part of the Townsquare Media podcast network.

Top Blake Shelton Songs: His Greatest Hits + Best Deep Cuts

Taste of Country staff opinion, and the commercial success of tracks from Shelton's 12 studio albums were certainly considered in making this list of the top Blake Shelton songs. More than anything, we sought fan input, via sales and direct input. What's your favorite Blake Shelton song, and does it agree with our No. 1?

Below are the The Voice coach's 50 best songs. Lyrical integrity and production were also considered in this ranking. Really it's hard to argue against any of the Top 5, but we understand if there's a debate about placement. Heck, we encourage it!

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