Why RaeLynn Was “Hell on Heels”

The Strategy Behind Her Success on The Voice

Whenever I sit down to watch a reality singing show, which is far more often than I care to admit, I always wonder how the contestants choose the songs they are going to introduce themselves with.

It has to be torture knowing that this one song could make or break you. But when RaeLynn auditioned for the second season of The Voice in 2012, she thought long and hard about what to sing.

And it worked.

“I was actually nervous about singing a Miranda Lambert song,” she told me when she was in Chicago recently. “That’s why I ended up going with a Pistol Annies song and not a Miranda song.”

Her choice for the blind audition was “Hell on Heels,” the title track from the girl group’s 2011 debut album. The song didn’t do that well on the charts, but it did go platinum, so I think that made it a hit for Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley.

In selecting the right song, RaeLynn thought about one of the judges — Blake Shelton.

“I watched the first season, and everybody who sang a Miranda song would get compared to her,” Rae Lynn told me. “And Blake never turned around for them. So I thought, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do his wife’s band’s song.’”

It’s a decision she still stands by today, nearly three years later.

Not only did Adam Levine and Shelton both turn around, Shelton was able to convince RaeLynn to stick with him.

“I can make you a country star,” he’d promised.

RaeLynn didn’t win The Voice that season, but she walked away with the passionate support of Shelton. Last April, Shelton went to Twitter to shame a TV.com blogger for criticizing her performances.

“What kind of person is low enough to write mean things about a 17-year-old girl just trying to do her best?” Shelton tweeted. “This one.”

RaeLynn still has Shelton and Lambert in her corner and loved learning from Lambert during their recent tour together.

“I feel lucky and blessed that they’ve picked me to be in their family,” she said. “Miranda is such amazing woman, and I want to be all of that.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.