She was No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes chart the same night that she was crowned the Season 3 winner of The Voice, but Cassadee Pope says that she didn't expect to win the competition. She actually thought that she was going to get the boot weeks ago.
"I kind of thought at the knockouts that I was done. I was not happy with that performance," the 23-year-old told reporters backstage after winning the singing competition. "That was probably my lowest moment as far as my performance, but I think seeing iTunes has helped me get through this season with a little bit more ease. It gave me a little bit of a heads-up for what was going to happen."
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Her coach, Blake Shelton, never shared her criticism, but admitted that he had doubts that she would be able to hold on to the front-runner status she gained with her memorable performance of "Not Over You" more than a month ago. "The hardest thing to hold on to is if you peak too early in this competition and that's what so special about Cassadee," he said. "To be able to hold on to that type of momentum is impossible and you have to be somebody special."
Shelton might have been her mentor throughout the competition, but he said Pope was always her toughest critic. "I don't know anybody who's ever beat themselves up more than Cassadee does week after week. Last week, she did 'Stupid Boy' and she was like, 'Oh my God, it sucked so bad. It's over. It's over.' And I held up my phone and she was already No. 1 on iTunes," Shelton recalled. "She's an artist. She's never going to be totally happy with what she does, but I hope she's really happy that she won this."
Pope was beaming backstage after her win, but she was hardly alone. Her win marked Shelton's second triumph as a coach, following Jermaine Paul's victory last season. Additionally, Shelton's other finalist, Terry McDermott, finished second for the season. "He's a great guy. He does the little things that the media doesn't know about," host Carson Daly said of Shelton. He hired Season 2 singer Gwen Sebastian to sing back-up for him, and Season 2 finalist RaeLynn is "practically living" at the house that Shelton shares with wife Miranda Lambert, according to Daly. "I think America knows that. If you go with Blake, you may not win, but you may get some help."
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It sounds like Shelton's help may come in handy for Pope very soon. Although she demonstrated a strength for performing pop-rock songs by artists such as Avril Lavigne all season, she also impressed Shelton's main fan base, the country community, many times. "She's got a lot of options. She's adored by pop fans, rock fans, country fans now. So the door is wide open," Shelton said. "If there's two artists I can think of, that I can put Cassadee in the category of, it would be Kelly [Clarkson] and Sheryl Crow, because they both are accepted by the country audience, but their home is pop-rock. ... It's just a handful of people that can get away with it."
Looking ahead, Pope sounded ready to embrace her new country fans. "I would love to do the pop-rock thing, but I also know that I've gained some amazing country fans and I know how hard it is to get into that world, so I would love to add a little country element to it," Pope said. "I used to cover country music a lot when I was kid, so it's definitely a part of me. It's stylistically part of my voice somehow and also when I write, I tend to go a little more country."
The biggest prediction Shelton had for Pope's upcoming record? Big sales! "I think she's going to sell at least one million more records than Kelly," Shelton said with a laugh.
Are you glad that Cassadee won? Will you buy her record?