Star-studded tornado relief concert
01:55 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Blake Shelton's "Healing for the Heartland" had an all-star lineup

The event was held in Oklahoma City in front a sold-out crowd

Miranda Lambert choked up while singing "The House That Built Me"

Funds raised from the telethon will go to the United Way of Central Oklahoma

CNN  — 

On Wednesday night, Blake Shelton brought together an all-star lineup for a benefit concert to help those in Oklahoma recover from last week’s devastating tornado.

The event, called “Healing in the Heartland,” was held in front of a sold-out crowd at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena, and broadcast on NBC.

Shelton, a coach on the network’s singing competition “The Voice,” tapped fellow Okies Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic to perform alongside Usher, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts and Shelton’s wife, Miranda Lambert.

Lambert gave a particularly emotional performance during the telethon, as she choked up in the middle of her song, “The House That Built Me.” The lauded country artist made it about halfway through before tears overtook her ability to sing, and the audience cheered their support and stepped in to carry the song until Lambert could continue.

Her husband joined his fellow “The Voice” coach Usher to close out the show with another poignant performance, this time of Michael Bublé’s “Home.”

“I’m here tonight with some of my closest friends from Oklahoma and beyond to join in and help with the rebuilding and recovery of this land that means so much to me,” Shelton said during the concert, which carried on in the midst of another severe weather threat.

Vince Gill, for one, wasn’t going to let that stop him from his mission of uplift. “I told somebody tonight, I said, ‘Well, if another one comes and they tear some more stuff down, we’ll help ‘em build that back up, too!’” the country singer said with a laugh.

Gill is from the area, having grown up roughly 10 miles north of where a monstrous tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, leaving 24 dead, including nine children.

“Your heart hurts for those people and those kids who got killed. … It rips your guts out every time,” Gill said. “They’re struggling and they’ve lost everything they have, a lot of people. Their homes, their possessions, their pictures and their whole history is gone in a flash. You can’t do anything but reach out and say, ‘We’re here.’ “

Money raised during the telethon is going to the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s relief fund. If there’s a silver lining to be found, Gill said, it is in the humanity seen during a crisis.

“When times are tough like this, people step up and help each other. It’s a human element and a human touch and it’s awesome to see that,” he said.

OneRepublic’s Tedder, who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said he hopes those who watched the show “will take away just the overwhelming sense of pride in the state of Oklahoma, and the people. I mean, these are the nicest people on Earth,” he told CNN.

“I’ve lived all over the country now, and the one consistent thing that every different state says about Oklahoma is, ‘Yeah, I went there once. I drove to Tulsa, I went here, I stayed there. Nicest people I’ve ever met, they’d give you the shirt of their back.’ And that is the nature of Oklahomans. … And I think the whole country sees it.”

CNN’s Denise Quan and Nischelle Turner contributed to this report.