Season 22 of The voice debuted on Monday night (September 20), and we just might have a contender for this year’s title. As one of the premier performers of the night, Omar Jose Cardona wowed the coaches, winning a four-chair turn with a powerful vocal performance on Journey’s ’80s hit “Separate Ways.”
Even before Cardona sang his first note, coaches quickly realized the singer was making a bold song choice, as Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello let out audible “Oh’s” as the song’s opening keyboards blared. .
It didn’t take long into the performance for Cardona’s talent to shine. John Legend was the first to shoot after hearing just 12 seconds of the singer’s vocals on the song. Blake Shelton was the second to shoot, 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 her to participate for sale to be the singer’s trainer.
While not only banging out some of those Steve Perry vocals, Cardona was also showing his mastery as a performer, ending the set by raising his mic stand skyward and earning a standing ovation from the crowd and several of the coaches. .
As you’d expect, the 33-year-old from Orlando, Florida wasn’t new to show business, revealing he’s been singing professionally for 15 years. A deeper dive into his background reveals that he has a band called the Epic Party Band and performs mostly on cruise ships and at sporting events. Cardona started his professional singing business after graduating from high school in 2007, and he was associated with Disney as a session singer.
After the performance, Cabello opened up about why she waited so long to shoot, explaining, “What can I creatively add to this that excites me?”, but added that she could tell he was a energetic performer and commented, “I turned around and saw you with the mic stand and I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s my guy, obviously.'”
“I haven’t heard such a voice since the 80s,” added Gwen Stefani. “You never hear men singing like that again.”
“You have a crazy range that most male singers could never pull off. There was something interesting about the little twists in your voice that were very moving to me. It sounded at times like a church singer singing from rock music,” John Legend added, telling Cardona then that he’s 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 from the angle you’re coming from. I think there’s a demand for it and in the country lane I’m rocking pretty hard added Blake Shelton, trying to sell himself as a coach at Cardona.
Midway through the pitch, Cardona revealed to the coaching panel, “It’s really hard because there’s not a lot of real rock ‘n’ roll anymore, and even though I’m a pop artist, I really respect 80s music, so I would like to create a kind of old school pop and rock.” So it looks like The voice could have a competitor who will defend the rock during its run.
Eventually, Cardona chose John Legend as their coach for the season. Take a closer look at the audition performance below.