Reba McEntire is second to only Dolly Parton when it comes to female country legends being impersonated on stage after drag show stage. But it’s not every day that you see one of the Queen of Country Music’s fellow artists actually do a spot-on Reba impersonation. That’s just what Trisha Yearwood did, however, during a 2013 episode of her Food Network cooking show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.
Taking the mic at Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Renegade (now the New Age Renegade), the city’s premier showcase for female impersonators for more than 25 years, Yearwood dons a red wig and sparkly high heels, along with one of the strangest combinations of orange top and bell bottom trousers that Reba surely has never even thought about wearing in her life. Fashion disaster aside, Yearwood gives a flawlessly delivered, minute-long performance of McEntire’s 1986 breakthrough hit, “Whoever’s in New England.”
In addition to her fellow country star’s facial expressions – and one hilarious tilt of her flaming red head – Yearwood matches some of the country icon’s patented vocal affectations – for instance, turning the singing of “you” into a five-syllable word. Occasionally, she can’t help but slip back into her own distinguishable voice, but it’s clear the influence McEntire has had on her through the years.
It’s also clear that Yearwood doesn’t want to risk offending the Country Music Hall of Famer, as she finishes her stint on stage with an apology. McEntire, however, most likely took the impersonation as a compliment. After all, it’s not the first time she’s been impersonated by a TV star.
Yearwood and McEntire’s friendship (and musical kinship) dates back decades. In 1995, Yearwood joined McEntire, Martina McBride and Linda Davis on “On My Own,” the first single from McEntire’s Starting Over album. In 2007, the two swapped lines on “She Can’t Save Him” for McEntire’s Duets album. And just last year, they formed a trio with Kelly Clarkson for a spine-tingling rendition of “Silent Night” at a Nashville holiday fundraiser.