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Usher, Sam Hunt to heat up 2017 State Fair Grandstand

Usher is not blonde here. But he is now. Will he be on August 31?

Usher is not blonde here. But he is now. Will he be on August 31? Photo courtesy of Minnesota State Fair

This year's Minnesota State Fair Grandstand lineup has been severely lacking in men you want to see shirtless.

That all changed this morning, when we woke to learn that longtime R&B heartthrob Usher and beatwise Nashville hunk Sam Hunt will be elevating late summer temperatures at the Grandstand, on August 31 and September 4, respectively. Bring a great Minnesotan you want to get together with, if you know what I mean. (I mean sex.)

For more than two decades, Usher has been generating lust with well-crafted R&B hits, accumulating a body of work that's as impressive as his body itself. And that's saying something -- his abs even have their own (recently somewhat neglected) Twitter account. Usher's most recent Xcel show, in 2014, was disappointing and under-attended, but his long-delayed Hard II Love, which finally materialized in 2016, was a solid effort. He's now blonde apparently?

A former college quarterback from Georgia, Sam Hunt has been talked about as the first post-bro-country star and as Nashville's answer to Drake. (I'd really like to hear how that question was phrased.) He showed off his impressive trick of gliding mid-line from speaking to singing on his first hit “Take Your Time,” from his 2014 debut Montevallo. I think his new single, “Body Like a Back Road,” a slinky little number about slowly cruising along your curves, is pretty hot, but your mileage may vary.

Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, May 5 -- Hunt at 10 a.m., Usher at noon -- at etix.com. Usher tickets range from $72 way up in the bleachers to a $97 general admission. (Jeez, that's a whole lotta cheese curds.) Sam Hunt tickets are $58/$68.

2017 Minnesota State Fair Grandstand Concert Series lineup (so far)

8/24 Nickelback, Daughtry
8/26 Jim Gaffigan
8/27 Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down
8/28 Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
8/29 John Mellencamp with special guest Carlene Carter
8/30 Pentatonix
8/31 Usher
9/3 Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest Finals
9/4 Sam Hunt