It’s hard to believe in the first two seasons of NBC’s The Voice not a single potential-contestant had auditioned by singing a completely Spanish song.
But that all changed during the second episode of the hit reality show’s third season…
During Tuesday night’s blind auditions, Julio Cesar Castillo—a lifelong mariachi singer—performed Ritchie Valens’ iconic hit “La Bamba.”
“I started singing at the age of three, when I was around six, I fell in love with mariachi,” Castillo told the cameras before his audition. “For the last couple of years, I’ve been playing in a mariachi band three nights a week to support my family. In my family, me, my mom and my younger sister are the only one’s working right now. My dad was diagnosed with epilepsy. But it’s my time to do something more.”
The self-proclaimed “Mariachi Man,” who hails from Chicago, performed the entire song in Spanish… a big risk that paid off. Not only did Castillo bring the audience to its feet, he inspired a bidding war between The Voice coaches Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green. (Surprisingly, Christina Aguilera didn’t turn her chair, even though she performed some air-maraca moves while listening to Castillo’s performance.)
Shelton immediately turned his chair around, and Green followed suit at the very end.
“You saw how quickly I turned around. I just think you have a very strong and technically good voice, it’s very powerful,” Shelton told Castillo. He then went on to talk about how Castillo’s letterman-like jacket reminded him of being in a school gym, and told Castillo to picture a banner hanging on the side of a gym saying “Blake Shelton, Season Two winner” to motivate him to pick him over Green, which Castillo did.
The Voice’s social media correspondent Christina Milian seemed to appreciate Castillo becoming the first contestant to audition with a song entirely in Spanish.
“I love that we’re showing some #LatinLove on #TheVoice this season!,” tweeted the Latina singer. “@JulioCCastle is killing it with the Mariachi vocals!”
Castillo, who learned to play the guitar at 10 and also plays the saxophone, writes on his Twitter page: “Madly in love with music and hope to some day live the dream I’ve had my whole life.”
It appears he’s officially living the dream as part of Team Blake on NBC’s The Voice.