‘The Voice’ Finalist Ruby Leigh Reflects On Her Incredible Journey, Working With Reba, & Reveals What’s Next
The rising star says “being on the show has definitely been an answered prayer.”
Ruby Leigh; Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC
Ruby Leigh stole the hearts of The Voice viewers from coast to coast throughout season 24, instantaneously captivating the coaches, the contestants, and country music lovers nationwide with her blind audition, which aired on September 26.
Ruby Pearson – known professionally as Ruby Leigh – was born and raised in a tiny Missouri town called Foley, relocating to Los Angeles to compete on The Voice at just 16 years old. Despite her age, Ruby’s musical style is inspired by some of the biggest names in country music, from Hank Williams to Loretta Lynn to Ernest Tubb to Patsy Cline to Jimmie Rodgers and beyond.
Keeping the classic in country music, Ruby ultimately secured a spot on the inaugural Team Reba – even though she received a four-chair turn during her blind audition – coasting her way to finale night and falling short to Huntley from Team Niall. The soon-to-be superstar dished about her journey on the beloved competition series, as well as what she has on the horizon, in an exclusive interview with Country Now shortly after her second-place finish.
Ruby’s Sister Signed Her Up for The Voice
Ruby kicked off the conversation by explaining how her journey on The Voice began, admitting that she “had no plans of auditioning,” and her sister “signed [her] up as a joke” nonetheless.
She explained, “Honestly, she signed me up being for real, and then we took it as a joke because I told her, ‘There’s no shot.’ I’m like, ‘There’s no way I’m getting in,’ because there’s millions of people that audition for this every year, and to be a part of like the 56 that actually make it, I’m like, ‘There’s no shot that I’m going to make it.’”
After bickering back and forth, Ruby’s sister suggested that she dress up as country as can be – fringe and all, similar to the outfit she wore for her blind audition – but try out by singing some rock songs instead. Admitting that the plan sounded “pretty funny,” Ruby followed suit until the producers stepped in and wanted her to try something different.
Auditioning with an Alice Cooper song, Ruby advanced to the next round of the casting process, admitting that she and her sister were “dumbfounded.” When the producers requested that she try a few country tunes instead, Ruby admitted that “it’s actually [her] genre,” before taking the competition much more seriously than before.
Four-Chair Turn at the Blind Auditions
When Ruby started to sing some country classics, she blew the producers away, ultimately securing a spot at the blind auditions. Taking the stage to sing Patsy Montana’s “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” all while showcasing her stellar yodeling skills, the 16-year-old blew the coaches away as well, earning a four-chair turn from John Legend, Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan, and Reba McEntire.
“Honestly, I was so shocked that I got a four-chair turn,” Ruby gushed, before diving into the details.
She continued, “When John turned first… I was like, ‘You’re Team Legend,’ but you know, I honestly wasn’t expecting anything. If anything, I thought that Reba would be my only hope for a chair turn, because of the song I sang,” but that could not have been further from the truth.
Choosing a Coach “Really Was a Hard Choice”
Given her classic country sound, The Voice viewers from coast to coast expected Ruby to pick the queen of country herself, Reba McEntire, as her coach – which she ultimately did – however, Niall Horan gave her a run for her money.
“Most people don’t believe me, but it really was a hard choice,” the Missouri native admitted.
She continued, “I was really contemplating between Niall and Reba. I almost picked Niall because, you know, they don’t air everything that happens. He was fighting really hard for me, but you know, I just had to go with Reba, because she used her trick on me, and I’m like, ‘Okay fine, Reba.’”
While she chose Reba as her coach, John, Gwen, and Niall – as well as viewers at home – could not stop obsessing over Ruby, with the soon-to-be country star revealing that both John and Gwen approached her and her family after her playoff performance, sharing with Country Now that they “turned and they both looked at [her] and they said, ‘Ruby, we just want to let you know that you’re our favorite on the show,” naturally receiving a stunned reaction from the 16-year-old.
Niall also expressed his love for Ruby Leigh prior to her performance in the knockout rounds. According to Ruby, “His mic was hot, and he didn’t know it, and he put his head down and was like, ‘Go get ‘em, Rubs!” and it went everywhere, and the producers were like doing the neck chop, like ‘No, don’t say that.’” Naturally, the former One Direction member had his microphone muted for the rest of Ruby’s performance.
Relationship With Reba McEntire
Nonetheless, choosing Reba McEntire over Niall Horan could not have been a better choice for the classic country artist, with the duo getting along great and even staying in contact with one another after the show.
Ruby spilled, “She’s just so incredible to work with. She was so amazing. She’s got such a sweet personality and, you know, she’s kind of like the mother of the show… The first thing she did was feed me after my audition, so she was really awesome to work with,” referencing the tater tots that the Country Music Hall of Famer would hand her newfound Team Reba members as soon as they made their decision.
“I still have her email. I hope to stay in contact with her throughout my career. I actually have Niall’s email too, which is funny, so hopefully, I can stay in contact with all of them, but, definitely, I’m going to try my best to keep in contact with Reba,” she concluded with an ear-to-ear smile.
Relationship With Her Fellow Contestants
Aside from having a great relationship with the coaches on The Voice, Ruby also grew close with her castmates, revealing that she “definitely keep[s] in touch with most of them,” especially the winner of The Voice season 24, Huntley.
Ruby shared in our exclusive interview, “I was closer with the minors, but unfortunately they got sent home, so then it was me and Huntley, and Huntley was really cool. I was really proud of him… I definitely wasn’t crying. I was like, ‘Congratulations, Huntley,’ so yeah, if I had to lose anyone, I’m glad it was him. He was very deserving.”
Admitting that the whole cast was “really amazing,” the talented singer-songwriter said that she is still in contact with most of the cast. Historically, The Voice contestants tend to collaborate post-show, so fans cannot wait to see what Ruby Leigh has in store.
Post-Show Plans – Music and Touring
When asked what her plans are now that she has returned home after The Voice, Ruby revealed that she is “going to put an album out this year,” which will consist of mostly original songs, as well as some covers that she sang on The Voice.
“I’m going to try to put out a mostly original album, and I’m probably going to put some covers that I did on the show on there too, because I’ve had a great response from them and a lot of people have been like, ‘Record this, please.’ I will probably put some covers on there, but probably a mostly original album, hopefully, to come out this year,” she dished.
Aside from working on some brand new tunes, Ruby revealed via social media that she is in the process of planning a tour, with hopes to go anywhere and everywhere in 2024.
“I’ve been doing this since I was nine years old… I finally just got a big break, so it’s really exciting and I’m just excited to see where all I go on this tour, and you know, where I can go,” she shared with Country Now, before admitting that performing at the Grand Ole Opry is her dream gig.
Concluding the conversation, Ruby Leigh reflected on her journey on the beloved competition series, sharing that “being on the show has definitely been an answered prayer,” as well as an amazing opportunity to show aspiring artists that no matter where you are from and no matter how old you are, you can achieve greatness.
“I’m not done yet. I feel like there’s just bigger and better things coming in the future, so hopefully it will all work out,” she shared with a beaming smile.
Fans can stream The Voice season 24 via Peacock to watch Ruby Leigh’s journey from the very beginning, and they can connect with the rising star on social media at @rubyleighofficial for updates on her tour, as well as her brand new tunes.
Melanie has been writing for Country Now since August of 2023. Originally from Southern California and currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, she graduated from Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma in 2023 with a BA in Journalism. During her free time, she loves going to concerts and music festivals, binging her favorite TV shows, spending time with her friends and family and cheering on the Oklahoma Sooners (of course).