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Cassadee Pope in CRS' New Faces show: Does 'The Voice' finally have a superstar?

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Cassadee Pope is on a roll. She won 'The Voice' in Season 3. She landed a hit song with her first single, "Wasting All These Tears." Then a hit album, Frame By Frame. And then she released another hit song. And, of all things, she gets named to the New Faces line-up at Country Radio Seminar's annual bash at the Nashville Convention Center. Could it be true? Could Cassadee Pope be the first superstar from "The Voice?"

Yahoo News reported Feb. 22 that Cassadee Pope was one of the five breaking country artists named to the "New Faces" show, lighting up the stage with honored colleagues Brett Eldridge, Tyler Farr, Charlie Worsham, and Thomas Rhett. The only female on the list, Pope stood out. And as the only artist in the bunch that made their way to Country Radio Seminar's annual shout-out via a television show, her uniqueness was two-fold. Her lone female presence also spotlighted the difficulty with which women have breaking into the male-dominant country music field.

But she's got her foot in the door and the Fresh Faces show highlights those that country music radio believes will be Nashville's -- and, by extension, country music's -- next big thing. The way things seem to be going, she just might turn well-placed foot into a roundhouse kick powerful enough to get inside and play with the more established country artists.

Pope sang her latest hit, "I Wish I Could Break Your Heart," the follow-up to her Top 10 debut song, "Wasting All These Tears." She also showed the Convention Center her vulnerable song, singing "11" from her major label debut album, Frame By Frame. That particular song was released prior to the album, jumping to No. 38 on the Billboard Hot Country songs chart -- the highest of four promotional singles. She told the audience it was a song about her reaction to hearing the news of her parents' divorce at the tender age reflected in the song's title.

Frame By Frame bowed in on the Billboard Country Albums chart at No. 1, at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 in October and has spent sixteen of its 19 weeks of release on the latter chart (all of it on the Country Albums chart).

"I Wish I Could Break Your Heart" is currently hovering outside the Top 40.

And it all came about via her auditioning for NBC's hit reality singing competition, "The Voice." Mentored by country music's current leading male vocalist, Blake Shelton, Pope dominated the contest and walked away with the big prize -- a major label recording contract. No stranger to the music business, though, she had recorded an album and three Eps before with her band, Hey Monday. But "The Voice" gave her a platform to take her solo career national and she connected with the voting audience, taking the title and giving coach Blake Shelton his second of three consecutive wins as a team coach.

Cassadee Pope told Billboard magazine, after being named as one of the artists for this year's show, that she remembered being at the Country Radio Seminar last year and telling Scott Borchetta (founder of Big Machine Records, Pope's label) that she hoped to be up on the New Faces of Country Music stage one day. He assured her she would be -- "next year."

"I kind of giggled and just figured that wouldn't be enough time to get out there and get everyone's support," she went on, "but after a year of touring with Rascal Flatts, and visiting radio, it came true. It's an honor to know they voted for me, and want me to be there. So, I'm going to deliver the best I can."

"The Voice" franchise is undoubtedly hoping her best produces for them their first superstar. Already making inroads into the "American Idol" territory and coming close to overtaking the Fox Television juggernaut in the ratings in the last couple seasons, the hit series just might do it this go round: Season 6. And with Cassadee Pope making waves on country radio (along with Season 4 winner, Danielle Bradbery, who also scored a hit with country fans with her first single), the NBC series just might get a chance to force "Idol" to re-word its current slogan as the "only" singing competition to produce superstars.

With the nod at the New Faces show, country radio seems rather supportive of the idea. And that's not a bad crowd to have behind you when you're trying to push open doors in country music. Not a bad crowd at all.

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