The normally polite and proper country music community is beginning to take sides in the drama between Eric Church and Blake Shelton. Jimmy Wayne posted a long letter to fans at his Facebook page defending both Shelton and reality television shows like ‘The Voice’ and ‘American Idol.’

It’s not that Wayne is a fan of these shows necessarily, but he appreciates how they provide another way for an artist to get noticed, and ultimately signed, in an industry where the “chances of winning the KY lottery are better” than getting a deal. Wayne recalls a conversation he had with Shelton many years ago, in which the then-long haired singer said he hoped his label would let him record ‘Ol’ Red.’

“Today’s climate is much different than it was 10 years ago and not for the better,” Wayne says in his post. “It’s harder now than it’s ever been.” The ‘Do You Believe Me Now’ singer cites the closing of labels and decreased revenue caused by illegal downloading as reasons why artists are “one song away from losing their record deal.”

“Blake Shelton was asked to be on ‘The Voice.’ Anyone in their right mind would have taken that opportunity and would have done so at half the price,” Wayne added. “This not only generates traffic for Blake Shelton but it helps the entire country music genre. That’s our guy representing us on national TV. Our spokesperson. Our ambassador.”

“The point is: there’s no formula. There’s no particular ‘way.’ There’s many ways to breaking into this business. A reality TV show is just one of many,” he continued. “A parent who has two million dollars to give the label is obviously another way. Luck is last but not least and as we all know one out if a gazillion wins the lottery!”

Wayne comes from a broken home and the foster system, so clearly he wasn’t referring to himself when mentioning the parent with $2M. While Church’s dad did finance his son’s first year in Nashville, there is no evidence that he paid a record label any money.

The debate began when Church told Rolling Stone that singers who audition on reality television shows are not real artists, causing a divide between himself and others in Nashville who have found success through reality fame — namely Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.

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