At times, West Palm Beach singer Cassadee Pope’s march to victory Tuesday night on “The Voice” seemed inevitable.
More than 14 million viewers watched the 23-year-old get crowned the winner of NBC’s popular singing competition, beating out runner-up Terry McDermott and third-place finisher Nicholas David. The big announcement arrived at the end of a third season finale that featured performances from Rihanna, Bruno Mars, the Killers, Smokey Robinson and Peter Frampton. (She even performed with a few of them.)
A graduate of Wellington High School, Pope cemented her frontrunner status early on in the season, says local music promoter Chrystal Hartigan, who operates a monthly Songwriter’s Showcase at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
“I’m totally not surprised she won,” says Hartigan, whose longtime singer-songwriter showcase has featured budding local talent. Her next program, on Jan. 14, has 17-year-old Boca Raton singer Michaela Paige, eliminated from “The Voice” last month, tentatively scheduled to perform.
“I know it was shocking to Cassadee, judging from her post on Facebook,” Hartigan says. “But Cassadee was so emotional with her performances and her life’s story that you know she touched the hearts of many people. You could see her improvement from the audition, and in the maturity of her look. It’s overwhelming that a South Florida artist won. It brings recognition to us.”
Pope’s path to winning “The Voice” was preceded by several key early victories. All four coaches wanted her on their team (she eventually picked country singer-songwriter Blake Shelton), and her cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You,” performed on “The Voice,” was so successful it dethroned PSY’s viral-hit “Gangnam Style” last month as the No. 1-selling single in the iTunes Store.
Pope, who until a year ago sang lead vocals for the West Palm Beach pop-rock band Hey Monday, departed from the group to pursue solo stardom earlier this year.
The move apparently worked: For winning “The Voice,” Pope collects $150,000 and a major-label deal with Universal Republic Records.