After taking off the spring cycle to make way for the American Song Contest, The Voice is back on NBC for its 22nd season. Gwen Stefani returned to the panel after a season off and new coach Camila Cabello proved she’s here to contend, bringing great energy to the panel with thoughtful pitches. Her energy is truly needed with Kelly Clarkson absent this season. (Read our Recap)
The theme of the episode featured Blake Shelton continuously losing out on artists, many of whom were in his wheelhouse. Camila stole two 4-chair turns that were right up Blake’s alley. One of those was Orlando Mendez, also known as the Cuban Cowboy. Orlando is a 26-year-old from Miami, Florida (Camila’s stomping grounds).
Orlando sang “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs. The singer’s tone stood out as Camila noted in her pitch. His sound is a bit nasally, with a little rock edge, that seems to be influenced by gritty old-school southern rock. It wasn’t the best vocal or even the best country vocal of the night (Jay Allen delivered that). He pushed his vocals to the limit 100% of the time. He could have used more restraint. Nevertheless, Orlando was fun to watch on stage. His infectious energy came across in his vocal and stage performance. Receiving a 4-chair turn was a bit surprising, but it’s clear the coaches want to beat Blake at his own game by getting country singers on their teams.
Blake and Camila battle it out
After Orlando’s performance, Blake and Camila battled it out. John joked that the singer didn’t have the country accent he was expecting. Blake noted his own achievements, both on the show and in country music, as he tried to woo Orlando to his team. The singer revealed that his brothers attended the same high school as Camila. She fought hard for Orlando, as she and Blake bickered back and forth. Blake promised to keep Orlandon inside the “country box,” while Camila would steer Orlando in different directions.
Gwen believes that Orlando’s “star came out” when the coaches turned around. She declared, that as the wife of a country singer (Blake), she’s country now. More seriously, she stressed that she could help him navigate working the cameras and aspects of his live performance. Camila reminded everybody that she started her career on a singing show. John joked that he never gets to talk and said he would be the non-obvious choice that would surprise everyone.
Orlando makes a surprising choice
In the end, Orlando went with his Miami roots and chose Camila.
Orlando, being a country singer as well as having an energetic presence, could end up being a threat on Team Camila, especially if she wants to take a country artist far and beat Blake at his own game. Team Camila is off to a strong start, gaining both Orlando and 4-chair turn leak Morgan Myles.
The standouts of the night were vocal beast Morgan Myles, Team Gwen’s refreshing indie singer Ian Harrison and closer/cliffhanger of the night Kate Kalvach who made several tasteful vocal choices. Honorable mention goes to Team Gwen’s country singer Jay Allen whose audition was heartfelt and came across as uber professional.