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Hear Ruby Leigh’s “Magnificent” Yodels That Caused “Chills” During Her Dolly Parton Battle
Ruby Leigh and Al Boogie sing "Jolene' by Dolly Parton on The Voice Season 24 Battles.
The fourth night of Battles on Season 24 of The Voice began with a barnburner — a fitting turn of phrase because Coach Reba McEntire, a country legend, had two contestants on her team perform an iconic song by another country legend, Dolly Parton. And, although Al Boogie sounded great, it was 16-year-old Ruby Leigh who won the Battle.
McEntire had Leigh and Boogie sing Parton’s 1973 song “Jolene,” and she recalled her own run-ins with the icon. McEntire met Parton for the first time when she was set to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. But when Parton showed up unannounced, McEntire’s set went from two songs to one in order for Parton to have time to perform. (McEntire joked that she said Parton could have both of her slots, she just wanted to meet her!)
Leigh and Al Boogie, the latter of which was wearing a t-shirt with McEntire on it to express his fandom, had voices that complimented each other nicely. While the 16-year-old said she had never been in a relationship and thus couldn’t quite relate to exactly the song’s premise, of a woman begging another not to steal her man, she was able to identify with the pain behind it. When Leigh was a kid, she was in a tornado that ripped the roof off of her parents’ workplace, and though they all made it out okay, she was traumatized and had serious separation anxiety. Being able to perform, she said, helped heal her.
“I credit music for that,” Leigh said.
Al Boogie and Ruby Leigh sing "Jolene" by Dolly Parton on The Voice Season 24 Battles
The duo’s performance was astounding, and although everybody was deeply impressed with Al Boogie, who stepped up considerably following his One-Chair Turn performance in the Blinds, this was Leigh’s night. Coach Niall Horan said “woah” the first time her voice broke, and afterwards said there wasn’t “a foot wrong.”
“I was so excited to hear you again, because what happened here at your Blind Audition was one of the more memorable moments I’ve had on the show,” he said.
Coach Gwen Stefani echoed Horan’s praise, saying she forgot that Leigh was only 16, and that she got chills when Leigh yodeled the lyric “cry.”
Coach John Legend gave Al Boogie immense credit for “killing it,” competing both as the underdog against a Four-Chair phenomenon and for “singing a song about being a woman scorned… you don’t exactly look the part.” Still, he too gave the win to Leigh, and McEntire confirmed it.
“Love you both, but the winner of this Battle is Ruby,” McEntire said.
“Ruby has something totally different. Sixteen years old, she’s so talented,” McEntire explained afterward. “We need people like Ruby who bring a little bit of the past of country music forward. I think America’s going to fall in love with Ruby.”