Sixteen-year-old Ruby Leigh punched her ticket out of part two of the knockout rounds on The Voice on Monday night (Nov. 13) thanks to a perfect song choice by her coach Reba McEntire. The country legend suggested the 1996 breakthrough LeAnn Rimes cover of Bill Mack’s “Blue” for her charge and the Missouri native crushed it.
Opening with the song’s signature yodel, Leigh — wearing a black-and-white patterned western shirt and skirt combo — blew away the panel with her preternaturally strong breath control and steady vocals, causing Niall Horan to break out in elated laughter while Gwen Stefani could only shake her head in awe at the performance as John Legend smiled along.
“3:00 in the morning/ Here am I/ Sitting here so lonely/ So lonesome I could cry,” Leigh sang, before sliding into the elongated “blue” in the chorus, inspiring McEntire to jump to her feet and applaud the young singer. “Ruby, you’re on a different planet,” Horan enthused. “It’s amazing what you do with your voice and the power that comes out of it.” Stefani added that she thinks, “everything about you is original, yet you just remind us of something so classic.”
Leigh has been wowing the judges since her blind audition and during Monday’s performances — which featured some help from Meg Mentor Wynonna Judd — she performed alongside two other Team Reba members, Ms. Monet and Rachele Nguyen.
“Ruby is 16… oh my gosh!” Wynonna said after hearing Leigh’s voice in rehearsal and saying it reminded her of country icon Patsy Cline. “Something there is very spectacular, and I think she’s got such a a future and she’s unique in a way that country needs. She’s gutsy.”
Ms. Monet also earned praise for her cover of The Emotions’ “Best of My Life,” while Nguyen impressed with a take on Maddie & Tae’s “Die From a Broken Heart”; both were eliminated.
The Voice airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC; the playoffs begin on Nov. 21.
Watch Ruby Leigh’s performance of “Blue” below.
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