Why Does Reba McEntire Serve Contestants Tater Tots On ‘The Voice’?

Hint: the crispy potato snacks hold a sentimental meaning for the country icon.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

September 26, 2023

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Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy X

On Monday night, the first round of The Voice auditioners sang their hearts out in hopes of landing a spot on one of the four teams lead by Reba McEntire, Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan and John Legend. While each of the coaches tried their own clever pitches in an attempt to scoop up their desired contestants, McEntire unleashed some extra special (and delicious) bribery in the form of tater tots.

Prior to the Season 24 premiere of the singing competition show, all four of the new and returning coaches sat down with TODAY contributor Kaylee Hartung to discuss what fans can expect throughout the season. At the end of the segment, host Carson Daly shared that “Reba loves tater tots. LOVES tater tots” before explaining that whenever a hopeful artist makes it onto her team, they will be rewarded with some tater tots “right then and there, right on the set.”


Following the Monday night airing of The Voice, McEntire further confirmed Daly’s statement as she took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to show off her fast food cart with the name “Reba’s Tots” on the front. 

Her caption read, “I’ve never met a tot I didn’t like.”

Sentimental Meaning

While this acts as a delicious treat for the lucky contestants, it also holds a sentimental meaning for the “Fancy” singer. McEntire has previously made it known that she and her boyfriend, actor Rex Linn, have adorable nicknames for each other that have stuck ever since the beginning of their relationship.

The pair of lovebirds first met in 1991 when they met while working on the movie, The Gambler Returns with Kenny Rogers. During this time, their friendship blossomed, but their romantic connection didn’t come to the surface until January of 2020 when they reunited on the set of the popular TV show, Young Sheldon. 

Their time on set eventually led to a dinner date and not only was this the start of what would become a loving relationship, but that particular moment also inspired their nicknames for each other. 

Rex Linn, Reba McEntire; Photo via Instagram
Rex Linn, Reba McEntire; Photo via Instagram

Rex Linn

“We all went to dinner, had a good time, went down the street to a wine bar, and they said, ‘Well, I understand you’ve already had dinner, but we do have some good appetizers,’” McEntire began while discussing their love story on a recent episode of The Jennifer Hudson Show.

She continued, “I said, ‘What do you have?’ They said, ‘Well, we have tater tots.’ I went, [raises hand], and so Rex said, ‘That’s your nickname from here on out — Tater Tot.” 

McEntire also revealed to host Jennifer Hudson that she created a similar pet name for Linn, whom she now calls “Sugar Tot.”

“We’re the tots — sugar and tater. So, we’ve been together ever since,” she added. “He’s a sweetheart.”

Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton; Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC
Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton; Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Season 24 Underway

The current season of The Voice marks McEntire’s first time serving as a coach on the singing competition show. She was tapped to join the star-studded panel of coaches following Blake Shelton’s decision to step down after 23 Seasons. He currently holds the title of the longest and winningest coach in the history of the show with nine wins. 

Reba McEntire may be joining as the newest coach, but she is certainly no stranger to the show. She was originally supposed to be cast in the inaugural season of the Emmy Award-winning musical competition series, but ended up turning down the opportunity before it first debuted in 2011. 

The Oklahoma native later joined the show briefly as Shelton’s battle round advisor and most recently appeared on the latest season of the show as a Mega Mentor

“When I was doing the mega mentor, it was so much fun. I was totally interested in the kids when they would come in and sing. So talented. That is just a refreshing thing to be around talented people,” the country icon told Access Hollywood. “I love it. And if I can help anybody with anything I’ve learned over the last 48 years, then I think that’s my duty to do that, and I’m going to enjoy doing it.”

Niall Horan is currently serving his second consecutive season on The Voice, alongside Gwen Stefani and John Legend, both of whom have made their comebacks to the show following a brief hiatus. 

Season 24 of The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.