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See The Voice Contestant Who Brought Reba McEntire to Tears

The Voice's Dylan Carter makes all four coaches cry with his cover of Whitney Houston's "I Look to You" and story of loss in E! News' exclusive sneak peek at the NBC series' Oct. 16 episode.

By Brett Malec Oct 13, 2023 5:00 PMTags
Watch: Find Out The Voice Coaches' Favorite Road Trip Music

Break out the Kleenex!

The Voice contestant Dylan Carter delivers one of the most tear-jerking performances to date in E! News' exclusive sneak peek at the NBC competition series' Oct. 16 episode. During the 20-year-old's powerful rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Look to You" during the Blind Auditions, the South Carolina native's vocals convince all four coaches to turn their chairs in an attempt to persuade him to join their team.

And while everyone is moved, nobody feels more sentimental than Reba McEntire.

"I love that song," the country legend tells Dylan in the preview. "I love when songs when you can take it spiritual or secular, either one. So much emotion, and I saw it and I felt it and I heard it when you were singing. That's the kind of songs that..."

So choked up, Reba has to pause for a second as she starts to cry before finishing her rave review.

"That do that to me too, 'cause I saw you get so emotionally involved," the 68-year-old continued. "And that's when you know you've got a great song and a great singer, when it touches your heart."

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Gwen Stefani's The Voice Looks

The Reba star concluded by noting she believes Dylan was put on this earth to "touch people's hearts, and you did it."

Equally impressed, Niall Horan then jokes, "You made the queen cry—in the best way possible. That was spectacular. I could really feel the emotion. You only get four chairs if it really moves the room."

Gwen Stefani also vies for the young talent. "From the moment you opened your mouth I was like, 'This is my guy,'" the No Doubt frontwoman gushes. "Your voice is so warm, but you also have so much texture to your voice. Little nuances you were doing at the right exact moments that make it feel emotional."

The waterworks only intensify after John Legend's praise when Dylan reveals the meaning behind his song choice. "When I saw ya'll turn around, I saw my mom, she passed back in October," he shares. "She wanted me to sing it at her funeral. So, I did it, I tried, but I couldn't make it through it. This was the best second chance. I made her so proud." 

Tyler Golden/NBC

See all the coaches cry in the heart-wrenching preview above, and find out which team Dylan joins when The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.

And keep reading for some mind-blowing facts about Reba's iconic career.

An Early Start

Born in 1955, Reba learned at an early age that she just might have what it takes to make money singing. When she was 4 years old, she earned a nickel singing "Jesus Loves Me" while standing in a hotel lobby in Cheyenne, Wy., where her father was competing in a rodeo. According to a 2018 Wall Street Journal article, she got the idea from watching her older brother Pake earn a quarter for singing "Hound Dog" for some delighted cowboys.

Behind the Wheel

By 5, Reba was taking driving lessons out on the family ranch in Oklahoma, helping drive her father's truck while he pushed hay off the back to feed the cattle. And when she turned 16, she won the title of Miss Ford Country thanks to her winning essay. Her prize? The use of a new ford truck for six months. And in that time, she put 18,000 miles on the car.

The Family Business

Reba was born with the rodeo in her blood. Her grandfather, John Wesley McEntire, won the Steer Roping World Champion title in 1934. And her father, Clark McEntire, claimed the title in 1957, '58, and '61. "Daddy was world-champion steer roper three years. Grandpap was a world-champion steer roper," she told CMT in 2011. "So we had champions in our family, and I consider my mama a champion for just putting up with all four of us kids."

Over a Barrel

Reba's first love was barrel-racing, which involves riding a horse while attempting to complete a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in the fastest time, and competed at rodeos during her childhood. But her champion daddy got real with his daughter about her future prospects in the sport and encouraged her to pursue singing instead.

As she told CMT in 2011, it hurt her feelings, but she quickly realized she had a talent that would change her life. "When I got good attention from the singing," she said, "I knew that was probably where I needed to land."

Broadway Debut

In early 2001, Reba starred in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun, with a performance The New York Times called, "Without qualification the best performance by an actress in a musical comedy this season." The run marked her second time playing sharpshooter Annie Oakley, following the 1995 TV movie Buffalo Girls, which co-starred Anjelica Huston as Calamity Jane.

 

Big Break

In 1974, Reba was hired to perform the national anthem at the National Rodeo in Oklahoma City. During the performance, she caught the ear of country star Red Steagall, who helped her record a demo and land a deal with Mercury Records. In 2007, the pair recorded the song "Here We Go Again" together.

Backup Plan

While waiting to catch her big break, Reba enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University with the intention of becoming an elementary school teacher, following in the footsteps of her mother. Of course, it was her minor in music that wound up coming in handy.

First Love

In 1976, Reba married steer wrestling champion and rancher Charlie Battles, who was a decade older than her and who had two sons from a previous marriage. Until their divorce in 1987, the couple shared a ranch in Oklahoma. Upon splitting, Reba left her home state and made her way to Nashville to further her career.

A Rocky Opry

When Reba made her debut performance at Nashville's iconic The Grand Ole Opry at the start of her career in 1977, she almost wasn't let in the door. Her booking agent had to make some calls after her name was erroneously left off security's list of performers. And then, despite the fact that her parents and older sister drove 1,400 miles to see her, the performance was cut to a mere three minutes.

Why? A surprise appearance from Dolly Parton. Despite the rocky start, her relationship with the Opry remains an important one. She was inducted into the Opry in 1986. "The Grand Ole Opry is a home," she said at the time. "It's a family. It's like a family reunion, when you come back and get to see everybody."

A Fancy Story

Reba's 1990 hit "Fancy" may be one of the most beloved tracks in her discography, but did you know it's actually a cover? The song, about a poor woman who turned to prostitution to build a better life, was actually first written and recorded in 1969 by Bobbie Gentry, one of the first female artists to compose and produce her own material.

"'Fancy' is my strongest statement for women's lib, if you really listen to it," Bobbie said about the track in 1974. "I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all the serious issues that they stand for—equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights."

Tragic Loss

While on tour for her 1990 album, she suffered a great loss when one of her band's two charter jet planes crashed near San Diego, Calif. on March 16, 1991. Eight members of her band died in the accident, along with the pilot and co-pilot.

"She was very close to all of them," a spokeswoman said at the time. "Some of them had been with her for years. Reba is totally devastated by this. It's like losing part of your family."

Despite the tragedy, she took the stage at the 63rd Academy Awards just days later, on March 25, to perform her Best Original Song nominee. Her sixteenth album, For My Broken Heart, was released in October and dedicated to those who perished in the accident.

No Faith

Back at the beginning of Faith Hill's career, she auditioned to be one of Reba's backup singers and didn't get the gig. The woman who did, Paula Kaye Evans, was one of the eight people to lose their lives in a tragic plane crash in 1991.

"Well, I didn't get it because I wasn't good enough. I don't think it was because—I don't think fate had anything to do with that for me. I wasn't a great background singer and I didn't get the part," Faith told Larry King in 2006. "But the first thing I thought when that happened obviously is I thought about the families of those that were lost and I thought about Reba and Narvel."

A year after that interview, Faith and Reba released a duet, entitled "Sleeping With the Telephone."

Acting Debut

Bit by the acting bug thanks to her music videos, Reba made her film debut in the 1990 cult classic horror comedy Tremors, alongside Kevin Bacon. She played Heather Gummer in the film, which told the story of a group of people living in Nevada fighting for their lives against subterranean worm-like creatures, and developed such a strong interest in acting as a result that she made it her second career.

A Reba by Any Other Name...

When Reba's eponymous sitcom debuted on The WB in 2001, it almost did so by a different name. When the show was developed and pitched to the singer, it had been originally written with her character named "Sally." She then convinced producers that fans would respond better if the show used her real name, and Reba Nell Hart was born. (Nell is also Reba's actual middle name.) The show ran until 2007, so looks like she was right.

Missed the Boat

Reba's acting career almost took off in a huge way in the mid-'90s when director James Cameron cast her as the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown in his epic blockbuster Titanic. However, when it became clear that production on the film would extend well beyond initial plans, she was forced to turn the role down as she had previously scheduled concert engagements that conflicted. The role, of course, went to Kathy Bates. A decade later, Reba and Kathy teamed up for the 2006 adaptation of Charlotte's Web, lending their voices to Betsy and Bitsy.

My Son, the Race Car Driver

Reba's son with ex-husband Narvel, 33-year-old Shelby Blackstock, began began a career as a race car driver in 2011. A decision that made his mama want to pass out. 

"When I first went to the Daytona Speedway and he was racing at Daytona, you know, they drop that green flag and here they come, racing around," she said during a 2018 interview on The Rachel Ray Show. "And I was sitting there filming him, and all could see was his car, and then underneath the helmet was this little bitty baby face! It just broke my heart! I was like, 'Ahh!'"

What a Hoax

In 2012, Reba found herself the subject of a bizarre story circulating on the internet that claimed the icon had plunged to her death while filming a movie in a mountainous region of Austria. "There is a rumor going around that I died after falling off a mountain in Austria yesterday while shooting a movie," she wrote on Twitter. "While I would love to be shooting a movie in Austria, I definitely did not fall off a mountain! Nor am I dead! I am alive and kicking!!!"

"Oh well," she added. "Have a great day."

When Friends Become Family

When Kelly Clarkson married now ex-husbad Brandon Blackstock in 2013, the OG American Idol became family with Reba, as the country icon had been married to Narvel Blackstock, Brandon's father, since 1989. "Thrilled to death, to have my buddy as my daughter-in-law," Reba told E! News at the time. "I mean, who could ask for more?"

She and Narvel have since split.

A New Kind of Colonel

In early 2018, as Kentucky Fried Chicken was introducing their new Smoky Mountain BBQ Chicken, Reba was recruited to become the franchise's next—and first female—Col. Sanders. "I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It's part of my story, and I'm so excited to now be part of theirs," she said in a press release. "I've held a lot of roles in my life—sort of like the Colonel himself—but this is certainly the most unique one yet."

An Historical Career

Reba bears the enviable distinction of being the only solo country female artist to achieve No. 1 across four decades, beginning with 1982's "Can't Even Get the Blues."

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family)

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