At just 16, Cole Criske has already had a long journey to The Voice stage, but now his dreams are coming true. The pop singer has officially joined Team Blake after wowing the crowd with his honest performance of John Mayer’s “Dreaming With a Broken Heart."

Criske got his start in music as young as 8, when his father gifted him with a ukulele. Sadly, just two years later, his father passed away the day before Father’s Day in 2009. Criske used music to navigate the difficult time in his life, pouring himself into singing.

Now the young artist has reached a bright spot in his story, making it to The Voice stage to perform for four potential celebrity coaches. His pure, raw vocals and effortless pitch made for an emotional, memorable performance, causing three of the four to spin their chairs.

Though it was clear Gwen Stefani made a connection with the singer, Blake Shelton swayed his vote, noting that Season 1 star Xenia was from the same hometown of Temecula, Calif., and also on Team Blake — not to mention the fact that he complimented the town’s balloon festival.

When Stefani questioned Shelton’s approach after the performance, his explanation was simple. “He’s 16! Kids like balloons!” he joked.

Criske joins Team Blake alongside several country artists, but Shelton is no stranger to coaching singers in other genres, including Dia Frampton, who made it to the finale round on Season 1. View Criske’s full performance in the clip above.

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