The ‘Cuban Cowboy’ Spurs a Tussle on ‘The Voice’ Premiere Blind Auditions

NBC Season 22 blind auditions.

In a September 9 Instagram video, “The Voice” coach, Blake Shelton, holding a hairbrush like a microphone, announced, “I’m passing the mic to someone who just auditioned.” The scene then switched to Orlando Mendez putting on a cowboy hat, thanking Blake (who was no longer on camera) and introducing himself.

“What’s up everybody? My name’s Orlando Mendez, aka, ‘the Cuban Cowboy’ and I’m so excited to announced that I have auditioned for season 22 of ‘The Voice.’ That’s right! Tune in every Monday and Tuesday starting September 19th to see if I had the chance to pick a coach.”

How The Audition Went

Mendez did indeed get to pick a coach. In fact, he got to choose from all four coaches after he sang the heck out of “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs.

In his pre-audition video, Mendez described himself as a Cuban-American who loves country music and storytelling.  A clip of his family showed a fun-loving group, who Mendez described as follows: “we live life intensely, eat a lot, dance a lot, drink a lot and have a good time.”

Mendez’ mother, who attended the audition, quipped, “we went from salsa dancing to two-stepping.”

The Cuban Cowboy was concerned about what he would do if both Camila Cabello and Blake Shelton turned their chairs for him because one coach appeals to his Cuban roots while the other appeals to his country calling. Well, he ended up having to make that tough choice, along with the added pressure of having Gwen Stefani and John Legend in the mix.

The fight for Mendez mainly came down to Shelton and Cabello. It turns out that not only are Cabello and Mendez both from Miami, but Mendez’ brothers actually went to the same school as Cabello.

Noticing that the hometown connection could make him lose, Shelton joked, “I don’t actually have the country roots that Camilla has.”

After much debate and discussion, The Cuban Cowboy ended up joining team Camila, leaving Shelton to grumble, “I’ve lost my mojo.”

Learn More About Mendez

According to, Mendez is “a 26-year-old Florida-based artist who’s released music in multiple genres. He calls himself the Cuban cowboy and has most recently been performing country and southern rock music as the Orlando Mendez Band.”

On January 7, 2022, Mendez posted on Instagram a clip of him playing in front of a sign that reads, “Recording Industry Association of America RIAA sponsored event.” Mendez captioned the video with “2022 started with living out a dream and playing a couple original songs at the Bluebird Cafe. Here’s a piece of my song ‘Front Porch Heartbreak.’”

According to, Mendez “released his first country song — “3 Beers Ago” — in the spring of 2021 as The O2 Band.” Some of the lyrics go like this: “I got some records that will blow your mind/Got a big soft bed that I bought online/And I turn the hot tub on from my phone/Girl I don’t mean to come off quite this strong/I just been wishing I could take you home/Since we said hello/3 Beers Ago.”

Mendez told Voyagemia, in a June 6, 2019 interview, “Although I have always written lyrics with beats in mind, I never had a way to make them into music. Through many failed attempts, I was never able to grasp the piano or the guitar.”

Mendez further explained, “I wanted a way to make my lyrics into more than just poetry on a page. That all changed when I learned that my cousin, Trism, produced music and that he was actually damn good at it! We started recording together and now are looking forward to releasing many of our creations.”

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