I did not watch “The Voice” this season — as I said I would not in March of this year — because the show had changed into something unfamiliar and unlikable:
The way to fix The Voice — and fix it fast! — is for the coaches to be more involved in the performance preparation process. They need to require the proper tempo. They need to tell a contestant they are awful when they are awful. They need to buck up and stop picking on each other and start mentoring their singers so a new and necessary talent is anointed on the show.
Imagine my surprise when I kept hearing the name “Cassadee Pope” lingering in the mainstream media as the winner of season three of The Voice.
“Hmm,” I thought to myself, “The obnoxious spelling of ‘Cassadee’ is ringing familiar in both eye and ear. Let me look her up.”
In doing a simple Google search on “Cassadee Pope” I was presented with this right sidebar information box right on the Google search returns page. When I saw the reference to “Hey Monday” — I began to realize there was something odd afoot at the altar of the mainstream pop mindset if Cassadee was just crowned the “winner” of a singing competition.
The problem with Cassadee winning The Voice is that she is a Ringer if there ever was one. On November 20, 2009 in Urban Semiotic, I wrote about Cassadee and her band — Hey Monday — with this defense:
One of the greatest joys of living an online life is the ability to celebrate, and defend, the goodness you find in the world against the crassness crashing around us, and today, we are leaping — nay, racing — to the defense of the new smash musical group, “Hey Monday” and their delightful lead singer, Cassadee Pope.
Hey Monday — starring Cassadee Pope — was a popular and growing regional band. They recorded several albums together and made lots of professional quality music videos. They had a sponsorship deal with Fender Guitars. They had a massive fan base following. How could Cassadee NOT win The Voice with a sticky web of background support like that?
It doesn’t matter if it was mentioned on the show that she used to be in a band — she never should have been allowed to compete on the show in the first place to preserve the integrity of the competition — and even Cassadee appears to confess that now in the dimness of what certainly smells like a pre-rigged win:
Pope — a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, and the former lead singer of the Warped Tour vets Hey Monday — admits she was hesitant at first to audition for “The Voice.” Last year, while still a member of her band, Pope turned down an offer to audition for Season Two. But after moving to Los Angeles to try her hand at a solo career, struggling to pay the bills and exhausting all her contacts in the music business, Pope says she was forced to reconsider her options when The Voice came calling again. “I almost passed on it again,” she admits. “I don’t know why. . . just being in the band world, you tend to get a little proud. A part of me just didn’t want to do this show because I wanted to do it from the ground up. I really wanted to do it the old-fashioned way, which is kind of impossible nowadays — especially when everyone thinks you’re going to sound exactly like your band and no one’s interested.”
Hey Monday was not an after school garage band. Doing a search on “Cassadee Pope” on iTunes brings up all of The Voice “albums” — but when you do a search on “Hey Monday” you get no fewer than five Cassadee Pope albums, tons of songs and five high-quality, professional, music videos for purchase starring Cassadee ranging from release years between 2008 and 2011.
Certainly The Voice isn’t trying to claim they are giving Cassadee a second chance at success when her latest album and video releases for Hey Monday were just last year?
Am I missing something here? Why is The Voice using seasoned, professional, pre-sponsored singers as Ringers to “win” their singing show? Have American Idol and the X Factor taken up all the amateur singers and all The Voice is left with is picking over stars with expired record contracts?
Yes, I know other previously recorded singers have won The Voice in the past — but Cassadee’s “win” is too fresh, too pre-packaged, and too unauthentically raw to pass the smell test of credulity. Cassadee Pope “winning” The Voice is even more clear, and insensibly seasoned, evidence the show is unreal and prestaged — and, perhaps, even predetermined — but not, it seems, by actual talent or moral chance, but rather by a willful, and swindling, producer manipulation.
Perhaps for the next season of The Voice, they can get Billy Joel to compete. I also understand Sir Paul McCartney is available since the demise of the Beatles. If Cassadee Pope can compete and “win” on The Voice, then why not let true SuperStars “compete” to win the show with a celebrity coach who just happens to be less famous, and more poorly talented, than them?