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How Reba McEntire “Cheated” to Get Ruby Leigh After Her 4-Chair Yodeling Audition
Winning The Voice is all about getting the audience on your side.
The 4-Chair Turn is a coveted honor for contestants who take the stage on The Voice. It means your performance was strong enough to attract the attention of every single Coach on the show, and more importantly, it means you get your pick of any of the four musical icons waiting to guide you to stardom.
But of course, 4-Chair Turns aren't just about the contestants. For the Coaches, it means the competition suddenly got tougher, as you must face down not just one or two of your fellow Coaches, but all three, and when all four Coaches are interested enough to turn their chairs, the arguments can get...interesting.
Just check out what happened when new Voice Coach Reba McEntire pulled out all the stops to win over one young contestant.
Watch Ruby Leigh Perform Patsy Montana's "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" on The Voice Blind Auditions
Ruby Leigh emerged from the wings on The Voice as a 16-year-old musical hopeful from a tiny town in Missouri of fewer than 75 people. As she took the stage, she explained that she's playing not just for herself and her family, but for the entire town where she grew up, hoping that her success can be uplifting and fun for them all.
Clad in Western wear and carrying an acoustic guitar, Leigh immediately got the audience's attention when she launched into an energetic rendition of "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," a Country & Western standard originally performed by Patsy Montana way back in 1935. Almost immediately, chairs started turning, as John Legend was first to hit his button, followed closely by Reba McEntire, then Gwen Stefani and Niall Horan. Things got particularly thrilling when Leigh revealed that she could nail the song's signature yodeling parts, prompting Legend to give her very high praise when the song ended.
"I've truly never heard anything like what you just did," he said, adding, "You could win The Voice."
Horan chimed in, "Your energy is just insane. You've got four chairs for a reason."
But as the award-winning Reba McEntire has already proven this season, she's got an edge when it comes to country performers on The Voice. Mentioning her upbringing as a "third-generation rodeo brat," as well as her love for Patsy Montana, McEntire tied Leigh's performance to her own heritage in country music.
"I'm very proud of my heritage that you're singing this song," McEntire said. "Matter of fact, my mama could yodel, and she taught me how to yodel."
Leigh, of course, asked McEntire to show off her yodeling skills, prompting the Queen of Country into a little impromptu performance that further cemented her bona fides. But Reba wasn't done.
"I think it would be a great idea if we got the audience's opinion," McEntire said.
Instead of simply cheering, though, members of The Voice studio audiences responded by holding up cutouts of bright red hair, mimicking McEntire's signature locks to signal that they had already taken her side in signing Leigh to her team. By the end of it all, Leigh of course went with McEntire, adding another rising talent to the Queen's pool of singers.
"I didn't know what I was looking for when I came on The Voice, because I'm new to this," McEntire explained at the end of the segment. "When Ruby started yodeling, it was like 'Holy crap, I really want her on my team.' Ruby can be a star and have a huge following, because she's not afraid to kind of go against the grain of nowadays."
How far will Ruby Leigh go? Find out by watching The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.