16-year-old “The Voice” contestant blows coaches away as another self-eliminates in Playoffs

Tom Nitti exited the competition for "personal reasons."

With just three spots available on each team in the Live Performances, everyone left on The Voice season 24 — six contestants per team — has to leave it all out on the stage during the Playoffs. And just because Team Reba had one contestant, Tom Nitti, self-eliminate ahead of this latest Voice round (host Carson Daly noted it was for “personal reasons” but did not elaborate), it doesn’t mean any of Reba McEntire’s artists are relaxing. With Reba’s Super Save, Ms. Monét, returning to the competition, that still means only three out of five artists will make it through. Even if you’ve pretty easily sailed through the competition up until this point, the Playoffs are not the time to rest on your laurels.

Sixteen-year-old yodeler Ruby Leigh knows that and brings her A-game to this round of competition. First of all, Ruby makes the incredibly smart decision to sing Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time” as her Playoffs song. And it’s not just smart because that iconic song is having a moment thanks to its appearance in The Last of Us (but it’s also not not because of that). It’s a great choice because it allows Ruby to show off a more mature side to her vocals, and she fearlessly drops the yodel to remind people that she’s no one-trick pony. It’s a great showcase of what she can do. All of the coaches take note of this. After the performance, Gwen Stefani tells Ruby that she truly believes if “a young girl singing like [Ruby] made a record like that, the world would be saved.” Is that hyperbole? Sure, but that’s how moved Gwen was. Niall Horan calls it “the best version of that song [he’s] ever heard” and points out Ruby’s dad in the front row sobbing his eyes out. We are all Ruby’s dad right now.

<p>NBC</p> Ruby Leigh


Ruby Leigh

Niall also tells Reba that if she doesn’t send this girl through, Reba’s probably getting fired — or at least losing her Queen of Country crown and scepter. While I don’t think he has that kind of power — although The Voice does love to drop new rules on us willy-nilly — neither Reba nor Ruby have anything to worry about. An emotional Reba tells her young singer how proud she is to be her coach and later goes on to say that the “sweet, emotional cry” in Ruby’s voice always breaks Reba’s heart into pieces. According to coach, Ruby is “bringing something we’ve never seen before” to The Voice.

It’s no surprise then, that after agonizing over who to move forward into the Live Performances, Reba selects Jordan Rainer (who performed “Boondocks” by Little Big Town), Jacquie Roar (who took on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”), and yes, Ruby Leigh. We’ll see if the audience loves Ruby as much as Coach Reba does when The Voice moves into the Lives next week.

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