HOT DISH: Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Glee Star and More

Keith Urban, Julianne Hough, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain Also in the News

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at CMT.com.)

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are engaged to be married in the spring. What in heaven’s name are they waiting for?

Miranda celebrated her 27th birthday at the CMA Awards . What sort of gift would you give her? As her “financy” (that’s what she calls Blake) says, “She’s freaking rich!” So Blake bought the winner of three CMA Awards an iPad. Apparently, she did not have one.

The CMA’s male and female vocalists of 2010 are about the cutest couple we’ve ever had in country music. For five years, they’ve been a pair. I understand Blake has a tour bus in Nashville that’s fueled and ready to roll and another in his home state of Oklahoma to travel in any direction his vocals are needed.

Glee Star Is Paul Overstreet’s Third Child
You probably know Paul Overstreet‘s songwriting credits, including “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” He scored No. 1 singles as an artist in the ’80s and ’90s with “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” (recorded with Tanya Tucker and the late Paul Davis) and “Daddy’s Come Around.” He had another No. 1 hit with “Baby’s Got a New Baby” while he was a member of a trio with fellow songwriters Thom Schuyler and Fred Knobloch.

I knew Paul and his wife, Julie, had a passel of children. So when Chord Overstreet’s name kept popping up when I’d visit Hollywood websites, I wondered if it was Paul’s third child. And I’ve learned it is.

Chord now stars in the role of Sam Evans in the hit TV series, Glee. In his photos, Chord has his dad’s red hair and his mom’s brown eyes. I have to admit I haven’t seen the show, but I’ll be making it a point to tune in now.

Country Radio Demands Brad Paisley’s Anthem
Reigning entertainer of the year Brad Paisley debuted his self-penned song, “This Is Country Music,” on the recent CMA Awards. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but the truth, honesty and humor of the song blew me away. Country radio is so very smart — smart enough to enthusiastically demand Brad’s record label send them copies of the song to play on the air. It sounds like the anthem of country music to me. Thanks, B.P.

Keith Urban on the Rails
On Tuesday’s (Nov. 16) street date for his new album, Get Closer, the always-wonderful Keith Urban showed up at New York City’s Penn Station, tuned up his guitar and performed four songs for the surprised crowd. The fans mobbed him as he grabbed a train headed to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station for another informal performance. During his five-song stop in Philly, he sang Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom.”

“It was either Elton’s song or a Philly cheesesteak theme song,” Keith laughed.

Julianne Hough Update
Julianne Hough finally confirmed to Ellen DeGeneres and People magazine that she and Ryan Seacrest are dating. They attended an L.A. Lakers game and were spotted holding hands while they were driving around in his convertible. (Texting is not safe while driving. And neither is holding hands.)

The 22-year-old country singer said of the 35-year-old Seacrest, “We are very compatible.” Hough has been busy promoting the new movie, Burlesque, which marks her film debut. The movie stars Cher and Christina Aguilera.

I see where Seacrest flew to Nashville where he met Hough’s parents and family. While in Music Town, they celebrated sister Katherine Hough’s 27th birthday. If I was as young as Julianne, I’d have to look long and hard to choose Seacrest over the gorgeous Chuck Wicks, who dated her for a long while.

And a Jessica Simpson Update
Former country singer Jessica Simpson is engaged to former NFL player Eric Johnson. Some of those close to Johnson say he cannot afford the $100,000 engagement ring on Simpson’s finger because he’s apparently unemployed at the moment. However, they add that he comes from a wealthy family. Those close to Jessica are speculating that she bought the $100,000 Neil Lane engagement ring herself.

With some people close to Simpson estimating she’s worth as much as $100 million, you wonder if she’ll get a prenup. When all was said and done, she had to shell out a bundle to ex-hubby Nick Lachey because she had no prenup.

Of course, in all of these reports, I keep looking at the word “close.” Here in Tennessee, “close” means friend. Lord only knows what it means in Hollywood.

Forbes Women With Nashville Connections
At No. 1, Oprah Winfrey out-earned everybody in showbiz between June 1, 2009 and June 1, 2010. She raked in $315 million, according to the Forbes list of the top-earning women in Hollywood. Oprah resided in Nashville with her dad (who is a barber) and graduated from Tennessee State University while working as a newscaster on the local CBS affiliate, WTVF-TV. Oprah’s earnings for the 12 months are almost the worth of Queen Elizabeth!

Miley Cyrus, born and raised near Nashville, was No. 8 on the Forbes list with $48 million in earnings. Sitting at No. 9 was Taylor Swift with estimated earnings of $45 million.

Garth Delivers
The great Garth Brooks sold more than 140,000 tickets to raise more than $3.5 million for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in its continuing flood relief efforts. Garth will appear at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 16-17 and Dec. 19-22. The bighearted Garth has never failed to lend a helping hand wherever he’s needed.

Garth will be playing the Nashville shows with his full band, but he’ll also be continuing his solo dates at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 3-5, Jan. 21-23, Feb. 11-13 and Feb. 25-27.

More News
Shania Twain is reportedly negotiating a deal to have her own show in rotation at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. I hear it’s almost a done deal.

Bluegrass legend Curly Seckler will visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Dec. 4 to celebrate his 91st birthday and his 75th year in music. The North Carolina native was a member of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs‘ Foggy Mountain Boys band for many years. He recorded more than 130 songs with the duo, and his razor-sharp tenor vocals remain classics.

Lee Greenwood will perform and host an auction at Operation Never Forgotten, an event taking place Jan. 7 in Big Sky, Mont. The five-day event supports awareness, education and healing programs for U.S. veterans needing assistance after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Bill Monroe in Times Square
The late Bill Monroe, the inventor of bluegrass music, is featured on a full-motioned billboard on display through Jan. 1 in New York’s Times Square. The 15-second commercial publicizes Kentucky’s celebration of Monroe’s 100th birthday on Sept. 13, 2011.

The ad will run 18 times a daily, including the days of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square. The state of Kentucky footed the bill for this marvelous promotion. I knew Mr. Bill Monroe well enough to say he’d “be so proud.”

Pardon Me While I Brag
During the past week or so, I’ve spoken with new artist Joanna Smith in my kitchen and visited with wonderful Alison Krauss in my living room and over breakfast at the kitchen table. I’ve talked face-to-face with the terrific Jamey Johnson, and I’ve also spoken over the phone to handsome and perfect entertainer of the year Brad Paisley, the equally handsome and precious Josh Thompson and the always-wonderful Cheryl White of the Whites.

Am I bragging? Dang right, I am!

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: [news id="1652709"]Super Brownies.[/news]