OFFSTAGE: Goodness Gracia! Country Yodeler Kicks Off The Voice

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Gracia Harrison, 18, from Virden, Ill., can yodel. Man, can she yodel. And she can sing the kind of classic country from 1935 that would make you turn your chair around. She was one of the best standouts from Monday night’s (Sept. 10) premiere of The Voice, and her voice had all three male coaches vying for her attention.

But wait. In trying to convince her to join his team, I think Blake Shelton might have just criticized his country music brethren. “I know, as a fellow country artist, that you can’t fake your way through that particular song,” he said. “And country radio today is full of country artists that can’t do what you just did.” What she did — beyond the pure, sweet, genuine yodeling — was sing the 77-year-old song “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” Suzy Bogguss’ cover has all that great yodeling, but I also loved the Dixie Chicks’ version from their 1990 debut album.

Adam Levine told Harrison, “By far, you are the best country singer we have ever heard on this show. By far. It has transcended the genre itself. It makes no sense for you to be on my team, and that’s exactly why you should be.”

To which Shelton replied, “For God’s sake. What is wrong with you? Gracia, you know what the right thing to do here is. I mean, I actually hate the thought of what would happen to you in the long run if you were influenced by one of these two.”

As for the yodeling, Harrison said, “I think it’s more of a reason for them to turn around. It definitely is a big risk to yodel in my performance because there could be a possibility they might not like it.” But they did like it. And another blond star in a sundress and cowboy boots was born.