How this 16-year-old yodeling sensation — from a town of 68 — ended up faring on ‘The Voice’

ByQuyen Anne

Jan 15, 2024

She’s from a town of 68, but roughly 6 million people tuned in to “The Voice” each week and heard 16-year-old Ruby Leigh. The country singer/yodeler from Foley, Missouri, was a standout contestant all season long, and now has finished as the Season 24 runner-up, the “The Voice” revealed during the finale Tuesday night.

Leigh was one of five finalists competing for the Season 24 victory. Here’s a look back at her run on the show.

Ruby Leigh reaches ‘The Voice’ finale

Leigh quickly won over all four coaches during the blind audition round with her performance of Patsy Montana’s “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

Surprisingly, John Legend — not country legend Reba McEntire — was the first to turn his chair for the singer. Legend was so emphatic about the performance that he predicted the teenager could win.

“I’ve truly never heard anything like what you just did. I loved how clear and precise and piercing and beautiful your tone was. … How is a human being able to do the things that you’re doing?” he said, noting her impressive yodeling skills. “You can win ‘The Voice,’” honestly.”

Gwen Stefani added that she was “blown away” by Leigh, and even did a little yodeling of her own in an attempt to woo the teen to her team. McEntire followed up with her own yodeling when it came time to offer her pitch as a coach.

“I can’t believe what’s going on in this audition,” Niall Horan said with a laugh, calling Leigh’s energy “insane.” “You got four chairs for a reason.”

Leigh ultimately chose to join McEntire’s team, and has stayed on the singer’s team from start to finish.

Other performances from Leigh throughout the competition featured LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver and Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time.”


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More about Ruby Leigh

Leigh began exploring music when she was 9, taking it upon herself to memorize Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues.” By the time she was 11, she won in the country and gospel categories of the World Championships of Performing Arts competition.

“Me and my wife were driving home silent, and stunned,” Leigh’s father, Casey Pearson, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I turned to my wife and said it’s obvious Ruby has more talent than we realized or knew. We would be the biggest idiots if we didn’t give her every opportunity, get her out there to different venues and places, do as much as we can afford.”

Over the years, with support from her family, Leigh has played a number of local gigs. While she’s had her fair share of gigs where no one has even applauded or paid attention, she’s also had big opportunities like sharing the stage with Vince Gill.

Now, Leigh has caught the eyes of millions of viewers and, likely, people in the music industry thanks to her time on “The Voice.”

“Honestly, we are feeling like she’s getting her just rewards, especially knowing how hard and how long she has been doing this,” Pearson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “She gave up her childhood to pursue this dream. She worked like no one I’ve ever seen to get where she’s at. It’s very rewarding to see her enjoy it, rewarding to see America say, ‘Hey, this girl is talented.’”

Watch Ruby Leigh’s performances on ‘The Voice’

Below are some highlights from Leigh’s run on “The Voice”:

Blind audition — ‘I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,’ Patsy Montana

Battle round — ‘Jolene,’ Dolly Parton

Knockouts — ‘Blue,’ LeAnn Rimes

Playoffs — ‘Long, Long Time,’ Linda Ronstadt

Top 12 — ‘You Lie,’ Reba McEntire

Top 9 — ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads,’ John Denver

Top 5 — ‘Desperado,’ The Eagles

How to watch ‘The Voice’ Season 24 finale

The first part of “The Voice” finale aired Dec. 18. The two-hour episode featured the top five contestants performing a ballad and an up-tempo song.

“The Voice” will crown the Season 24 winner, based on overnight audience voting, during a two-hour episode that airs Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. MST on NBC.


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