Cassadee Pope, the pop-punk lead singer from Hey Monday who connected with TV audiences via pop-country songs, was declared the season three winner of "The Voice" on Tuesday. Terry McDermott, a Scotland native based in New Orleans, was the runner-up; Nicholas David was third.
"I'm feeling amazing," she said after host Carson Daly called her name. "Thank you to everyone who voted for me and all the fans and Blake."
Pope concluded her run on the NBC show singing Faith Hill's "Cry" and reprising Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's "Over You" in the final competition round on Monday. "Cry" was the No. 1 seller on iTunes when the voting polls closed Tuesday at 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET.
It was little surprise that Pope emerged the winner. With a new system in place that gave America the vote instead of the coaches, Pope's music consistently charted higher than the recordings of her competition. Her first version of "Over You" was the show's first bona-fide hit single in its three seasons; her rendition of Keith Urban's "Stupid Boy" remained in the iTunes top 100 a full week after it was performed on the broadcast, a feat no other "Voice" competitor achieved.
Pope's story, as well as that of McDermott, continues the throughline that has defined "The Voice" for its three seasons. The singer has success as a professional, formerly signed with a label, issued recordings, never quite made it to headline status, and decided, almost on a whim, to give the show a whirl.
Unlike previous seasons, this year's cast had little air of desperation among the singers -- none of them were saying they would quit the music business if "The Voice" did not pan out. Pope is the show's first female winner and the first victor without a family to support. Last year's winner, Jermaine Paul, and the first season champ, Javier Colon, are both married with children and their stories played significant roles in garnering votes from the American public.
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From the start, Pope spoke about the importance of finding songs that reminded her of the types of songs she writes, specifically ones with stories. By and large that led her to numbers recorded by country artists. As a strategy, whether planned or not, it worked: She sounded more contemporary than her peers and her appeal rested in the vocal performance rather than the emotional or historical connection she felt with a particular song.
Pope, an assured 23 year old from West Palm Beach, Fla., founded Hey Monday in 2008 and befriended Fall Out Boy, with whom they toured, and signed with Columbia Records, which released two of their albums. She also appeared in one of their videos. Prior to appearing on "The Voice," Pope spent part of the year touring as a solo act and released a four-song EP in May.
"You were in a band of boys and you don't need those boys anymore," Daly told Pope at the end of the show on Wednesday. "You're all alone, congratulations."
Last year's runner-up, Juliet Simms, had a similar story with her band Automatic Loveletter -- the two were even on the Vans Warped Tour together.
"What she is doing is spot on -- it's what she has wanted to do since she was a little girl," Simms told Billboard. "It's so different watching her sing live as opposed to when we were touring together on the Warped tour. She was phenomenal then, but I feel like she gets to show the world her heart, the kind of person she is (on 'The Voice.') She's the sweetest, most loving person and that shines through when she sings."