Season 22 of The voice debuted Monday night (Sept. 20), and we might just have a contender for this year’s title. As one of the first performers of the night, Omar Jose Cardona impressed the coaches and got a four-chair ride with a powerful vocal performance on TripThe 80s hit “Separate Ways”.
Even before Cardona sang her first note, the coaches quickly realized the vocalist made a bold song choice as Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello both let out audible “Oh’s” as the song’s opening keyboards rang out.
It didn’t take long in the performance for Cardona’s talent to shine through. John Legend was the first to flip after hearing only 12 seconds of the singer’s vocals on the song. Blake Shelton was the second to turn around, soon followed by Stefani, with Cabello being the hardest sell as she waited until the very end of the performance when one of Cardona’s power notes led to her joining the sales for to be the singer’s coach.
While Cardona didn’t just hit some of those Steve Perry vocals, Cardona also showed his command as a performer, ending the set by raising his mic stand to the sky and earning a standing ovation from the crowd and several of the coaches.
As you’d expect, the 33-year-old from Orlando, Florida was no stranger to the stage world, revealing he’d been singing professionally for 15 years. A deeper dive into his background reveals that he has a band called the Epic Party Band and has performed primarily on cruise ships and at sporting events. Cardona started his professional singing venture after graduating high school in 2007, and he has been associated with Disney as a session singer.
After the performance, Cabello spoke about why she waited so long to turn, explaining, “What can I add creatively to this that gets me excited?” but added that she could tell he was an energetic performer and commented: “I turned around and saw you with the mic stand and said, ‘Yeah, of course that’s my guy.’
“I haven’t heard a voice like that since the ’80s,” Gwen Stefani added. “We’ll never hear men sing like that again.”
“You have a crazy range that most male singers could never tap into. There was something interesting about the little twists in your voice that were very soulful to me. It sounded like a church singer singing rock music sometimes,” added John Legend and then told. Cardona that he is the kind of artist who could win The Voice.
“We’re going to see a lot of super talented people, but we’re not going to see a lot of people coming at it from the angle that you’re coming from. I think there’s a demand for it and in the country lane, I rocks pretty hard,” added Blake Shelton, who tried to sell himself as a coach to Cardona.
In the midst of pitching, Cardona revealed to the coaching panel, “It’s really hard because there’s not a lot of true rock’n’roll anymore, and as much as I’m a pop artist, I really respect the music of the ’80s, so I want to create a genre of pop and old school rock.” So it looks like The voice may have a challenger who will gain rock during his run.
In the end, Cardona chose John Legend to be his trainer for the season. Check out the audition performance below.