The Mexican spirit was heartily felt on “The Voice” Tuesday night as contestant Julio Cesar Castillo sang Ritchie Valens’ classic 1958 Mexican folk song “La Bamba” and quickly got the crowd and the judges fired up.
Just seconds into Castillo’s performance, country music star Blake Shelton spun his chair to see who Castillo was.
Like in previous seasons, the four judges on “The Voice” — all major players in the music industry— listen to (but cannot see) a contestant sing.
Based on the quality of a contender's voice, the judges push a button in front of them rotating their chairs if they think the person auditioning has a chance to win “The Voice.”
If more than one judge pushes a button and turns a chair around, the final decision is left to the singer to choose which celebrity to work with.
“Listen man, you saw how quickly I turned around,” said Shelton. “I think you have a very strong and technically great voice. It’s really good and really powerful.”
Singers Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green agreed with Shelton.
“That was so much fun!” Aguilera said with a smile.
“That was great man!” Green added. “You know what was so special about it? So many people stood up in pride for a song so cherished like ‘La Bamba.’ It was a great moment for the show and you did a great job.”
Castillo, who grew up in Chicago, revealed he developed his singing chops by performing traditional mariachi music as a kid.
“I started when I was about 3 years old, singing Mariachi,” Castillo told Green, who also expressed interest in him. “So, the majority of the stuff I sing is in Spanish.”
“Keep doing that man,” rock star Adam Levine told Castillo. “That’s awesome.”
When asked by Green if he would show off a bit of his mariachi skills, Castillo crooned a romantic tune called “El Rey,” as his proud parents cheered for him backstage with tear-filled eyes.
Castillo, who is also a skilled saxophone player and goes by the “#MariachiMan” on Twitter, chose to be on Shelton’s team along with fellow contestants Casey Muessigmann, Gracia Harrison and Terry McDermott.