Team Reba’s Dolly Parton Battle Sends Coaches Into Tizzy

Reba McEntire paired two country singers on her team for an epic fourth night of Battles on The Voice. Team Reba’s 16-year-old Ruby Leigh and Al Boogie, 37, took on one of the biggest songs in country with a duet of Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene” on Monday (October 30).

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Opening Parton’s 1973 hit harmonizing on the opening chorus, Boogie—who previously auditioned on for season 23 of The Voice—took the first verse with Leigh seamlessly coming in at And I cannot compete with you, Jolene.

“That is so good, so fun,” said Niall Horan. Looking over to McEntire, Horan added “Great song choice.” Speaking to Boogie, first, Horan complemented the singer’s tone. ‘This tone is so infectious,” said Horan. “It’s like a different man that was here last year. And the way you held some of those low notes alongside Ruby’s different range was so impressive.”

[RELATED: Yodeling Contestant Ruby Leigh Wows ‘The Voice’ Judges, Gets Four-Chair Turn]

Horan turned his attention to Leigh and added, “Your tone is so beautiful. I was so excited to hear you again because what happened here at your Blind Audition was one of my most memorable moments.

The Foley, Missouri native first captivated the coaches during the Blind Auditions and earned a four-chair for yodeling on her rendition of the 1935 Patsy Montana song “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart.”

Gwen Stefani concurred on Leigh’s Blind Audition moment while praising the teen’s vocals during the Battles. “I had chills up and down my body when you [sang],’ said Stefani, “because you yodeled it, and it was stunningly perfect.”

Stefani didn’t forget to praise Leigh’s other half during the Battles, and added, “Al Boogie, you are amazing.”

During the rehearsals, Leigh admitted that she had never been in love, so she couldn’t initially relate to the sentiment behind “Jolene” directed at another woman trying to steal her man. Instead, she related the pain in the song to the severe separation anxiety she once experienced after her parents survived a tornado that hit their workplace. Leigh said music and performing helped her work through the traumatic event.

“I credit music for that,” said Leigh.

Ruby Leigh (l) and Al Boogie during Battles rehearsal (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC)

Though Horan and Stefani leaned more toward Leigh in the Battles, John Legend was drawn to both singers’ vocals. “You started out as an underdog: one because you were a one-chair turn and she was a four-chair turn, two because you’re singing a song that’s about being a woman scorned,” said Legend to Boogie. “You don’t exactly look the part. The inclination would be this is all pointing to Ruby, but you killed it.”

To Ruby, Legend said “I love how much character your voice has. You just feel so in possession of your identity as an artist.”

When the tables turned to McEntire to choose a winner of the Battles, she highlighted the “versatility” of both singers. “You performed magnificently, you made me very proud, stepped up to the plate, and knocked it out of the ballpark,” McEntire said to both singers before choosing Leigh as the winner.

Leigh will move on to the Three-Way Knockouts round.

“Ruby has something totally different—16 years old, she’s so talented,” said McEntire after the Battles round. “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.”

Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC

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