Screengrab of Orlando Mendez's blind audition on 'The Voice.'
Screengrab via YouTube

'The Voice': 'Cuban Cowboy' Faced Tough Decision After Luke Combs Cover


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Ahead of his blind audition on The Voice, self-proclaimed "Cuban Cowboy" Orlando Mendez wrestled with a potential choice between city pride and country allegiance.

"If Camila and Blake both turn their chairs, it's gonna be a tough choice, man!" the 26-year-old Miami resident said before taking the stage. "I got my country roots growing up from Blake Shelton, and then I got Camila Cabello, a pop star from my hometown, someone who I definitely connect with her story. If they're both there, vying for me, that's going to be a game-time decision."

Mendez's cover of Luke Combs' "Beer Never Broke My Heart" earned a four-chair turn, with John Legend and Gwen Stefani positioning themselves to steal a country artist away from Shelton. Yet the contestant remained steadfast about his Team Camila versus Team Blake conundrum.

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"Country music's my passion. I've been listening to [Shelton's] songs since I was little, but I come from Cuban roots," he shared, adding that his brothers attended the same Florida high school as Cabello.

Though Team Legend pushed for Mendez to make an "unpredictable choice" and either Team Blake or Team Gwen would've been no-brainers, the cowboy chose to ride with Team Camila.

"It was really exciting to win a country artist, especially over Blake," the series' new coach shared. "I'm really feeling myself."

"The Cuban Cowboy" wasn't the only country-singing contestant lured away from Team Blake by Cabello. The first-time coach (and replacement of Kelly Clarkson) also scored Nashville's Morgan Myles.

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Shelton lost a couple of country talents to Team Gwen, as well: Jay Allen and a fellow Oklahoman, Kate Kalvach. However, Team Blake scored big by adding David Andrew, a seasoned background vocalist from Tennessee.

NBC's The Voice season 22 debuted Monday night (Sept. 19).

READ MORE: Common Criticisms of TV's Most Popular Singing Competition Shows, Answered

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