‘The Voice': ‘Cuban Cowboy’ Orlando Mendez Wins Over All Four Coaches With a Luke Combs Hit [Watch]
When Orlando Mendez took the stage for his blind audition as part of Season 22 of The Voice, he could have been comfortable on any of the four coaches' teams. But the country singer from Miami, Fla., chose to compete on new addition, Camila Cabello’s team.
Mendez, 26, scored a four-chair turn during the reality show’s season premiere, which aired on Monday (Sept. 20) on NBC. He belted out a raucous rendition of Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart" from the country superstar’s second studio album, What You See Is What You Get.
Throwing all of his energy into his performance, Mendez bounced around from one side of the stage to the other, using his free hand to work the crowd.
Cabello was first to hit her red button, but it wasn’t long before Gwen Stefani slapped her hand on hers, too. Cabello — a new coach — was so energized by Mendez’s star potential she urged Blake Shelton to turn his chair around, also. Sure enough, Shelton obliged, while coach John Legend waited until Mendez soared on the final note to try and persuade the hopeful to join his team.
“You know I’m from Miami?” Cabello asked Mendez, pointing out the similarities she shares with the contestant.
“We’re actually from the same part of town. My brothers went to your high school,” Mendez replied. “Palmetto Senior High.”
Cabello, who claimed she was seeking a contestant with a “special tone that I can hear on the radio,” then turned to Shelton to inform him that he was “not a Panther,” simultaneously namedropping her high school mascot. She also shared reasons why Mendez should choose her as his coach.
“You know the kind of artist you want to be. I would just help you on that journey,” Cabello explained. “I like things that make me feel. And, your voice made me feel today. I would love to be your coach.”
Despite both Cabello and Mendez coming from Cuban roots and having grown up in the same proximity, Shelton had some armor of his own to try and encourage Mendez to join Team Blake.
“Orlando. My name is Blake Shelton, and I am from Ada, Okla. I’m an eight-time The Voice champion. I am a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a CMA Entertainer of the Year. Thank you very much,” the long-running coach announced. “But, I am not from Miami.”
“I’m basically country now, as well,” Stefani chimed in. “I’ve gone country. I could just see how excited you were like, ‘I’m here, in front of Blake Shelton, one of the greatest all-time country singers ever in the whole world.' Blake is amazing, but I would love to be your coach. And outside of the genre, let's just talk about the show. It’s a lot of pressure, connecting with the cameras, the nerves. I feel like I could really help with that. I would love to be your coach.”
“Do you want to make an unpredictable choice today?” John Legend then asked, squeezing in his plea. “You could predictably pick that very crowded country box that Blake is tiring to cram you into. You could go with somebody because they’re from your hometown. Also, you could go with someone married to a country star, who had country No. 1 hits, or you could do something that no one would expect and join Team Legend.”
Even though all coaches gave reasonable arguments, Cabello ended up having the edge over her co-stars: Mendez chose her as his mentor.
Fans can tune into more blind auditions when The Voice returns Tuesday at 7PM CT on NBC.