From the moment she set foot on the "Voice" stage during blind auditions, Cassadee Pope was dubbed "a star." Since then, the 22-year-old songstress has consistently proved herself as the show's front-runner and has emerged as the breakout star of the season.
Her status has only grown in the last few weeks, as the only female in the coveted top four. So is Pope's success inevitable? One expert seems to think so.
"She really seemed to hit her stride," TVLine senior editor Michael Slezak told MTV News. "I think the hype-to-talent ratio has evened out, and so it's made her look really good. When you combine that with the fact that I think her two biggest competitors, at least as far as I saw it, went home," Slezak said, referring to Team Adam's Melanie Martinez and Amanda Brown, both of whom were eliminated last week. "I think it almost makes her a mortal lock to win this season."
Let's take a closer look at why Pope seems so untouchable this season:
The first sign of a pop star is an army of fans. Much like Demi Lovato's Lovatics or Katy Perry's KatyCats, Cassadee Pope addresses her fans as "Cassettes." "She brought a pretty sizeable fanbase in with her, so she's had some advantages over her competitors without a doubt," Slezak said. Her Cassettes loyally march to Pope's drum on Twitter by creating spin-off handles to promote her success, and her army has grown exponentially following her appearance on the series.
She Is a Stage Vet
Before Cassadee appeared on "The Voice," she was the frontwoman of the up-and-coming rock band Hey Monday, touring with one of her industry mentors Pete Wentz. But Slezak believes her friendship with current mentor Blake Shelton further adds to her appeal. "She's a very likable contestant. She's got a great personality, she's got a real stage presence about her, and I think her interaction with Blake is very appealing. Blake is arguably the most popular coach on the show. Just being in proximity of him benefits whoever he's around, and they seem to have a real camaraderie, a real chemistry, so that helps," Slezak said.
She Beat Psy
Pope doesn't just bring intangible qualities to the table; she has proved her success by consistently landing in the top 10 of the iTunes pop charts. She even achieved the seemingly insurmountable feat of knocking Psy's "Gangnam Style" out of its #1 spot for a full 24 hours with her emotional rendition of Shelton's "Over You." Slezak called it "a snowball effect. The show hypes her, but then her success on the chart helps the show. It gives her immediate relevance."
The Show Loves Her
It seems like from the get, attention was being focused on Cassadee, and Slezak believes that is not a coincidence. "Cassadee having a built-in fanbase, having a stage presence, having a really solid voice, and a voice that you could envision being popular on radio right now, it's understandable why this show, as a production, has favored her a little bit," he said. "It makes sense. She does have a very current sound to her." In last week's performance episode, even the hard-to-please Aguilera jumped on the Cassadee Pope bandwagon, calling the singer "an all-around true star of the show."
While Slezak thinks Cassadee has this thing in the bag, he advised her to proceed with caution. "I think her biggest danger is she can't be a copycat, Avril Lavigne type. ... Originality still counts," he said of her spot in the top, which also includes Trevin Hunte, Nicholas David and Terry McDermott. "I think if somebody can beat her this season, if there's an upset, and I don't think there will be, but if there's anybody with a chance of beating Cassadee Pope, I would say it's Nicholas David."
Do you think Cassadee Pope is this season's breakout star? Share your comments below!