Cassadee Pope wins "The Voice" season three. (Photos) - Reverb

Cassadee Pope wins “The Voice,” and here are four tips to make next season even better (photos)

Before “The Voice” season finale started on Tuesday night, I looked at my girlfriend and said, “I don’t always like Cassadee Pope’s voice. But she’s definitely going to win.”

And she did.

Pope beat out finalists Terry McDermott and Nicholas David, who took second and third place respectively on the popular NBC show on Tuesday night. It was the third season’s last episode and the final show for judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green before they’re replaced by Usher and Shakira next season.

The night was entertaining, including the best vocal pairings of the whole run. Seeing David sing with Smokey Robinson was really special, and McDermott’s duet with Peter Frampton was particularly well-matched. Pope fulfilled the dream of singing with her idol Avril Lavigne, and while they sound quite similar, it was fine.

But back to Pope’s voice. It’s not as versatile as it needs to be. Oddly her voice hits its most poignant notes when she sings pop country songs. It was smart of Pope to sing Faith Hill’s “Cry” in Monday’s penultimate episode. But it’s also clear that her heart is in the pop vein popularized by Lavigne and others – and it’s choices like that that lead her vibrato into an uncomfortable, strained territory.

That said, Pope’s shining moments connected with the audience like nobody else’s this season. And it was also time “The Voice,” now in its third season, had its first female winner.

In writing about the show last week, we praised the show for its ability to change the format when something wasn’t quite working. So a suggestion or two for next season:

At some point, take the judges out of it: How many times do we want to hear coach Blake Shelton hem and haw over somebody’s vocal merits? How many times do we need to see coach Adam Levine try to make a thought he’s expressed five or six times already sound original or new? By the time we get to those last few episodes, they’ve said everything they’re going to say. Give them a break. (Give us a break, too.)

Present fewer unnecessary duets: Let’s learn from the Grammys. Years ago, the Grammy team started pairing artists for mostly ill-conceived duets, making for uncomfortably forced collaborations. Music’s a strange thing in that when two artists come together, they have to click on some level. If it’s not clicking – the voices, the aesthetics, the harmonies, the tones – scratch it.

Keep up the diversity, and then some: Most people watching “The Voice” aren’t fans of every type of popular American music. But like it or not, the show throws each popular genre into the mix by having the contestants sing a wide range of material and also hosting a number of artists who come in for a song or two. This season alone we saw Jason Aldean, the Muppets, 50 Cent, Kelly Clarkson, Peter Frampton, Rascal Flatts and others. Can any other show brag about such diversity? Not likely.

Watch the corporate sponsorship: After performing, the contestants get interviewed in the Sprint Skybox. While they’re being interviewed in the early stages of the game show, they’re surrounded by Starbucks cups, signs and memorabilia. During Tuesday night’s show, automotive sponsor Kia – which is almost synonymous with host Carson Daly’s smiling visage now – gave all three finalists a new model of their choosing. We get it, guys. They help pay the bills. But now that you’re drawing 10 millions viewers per show, can’t you scale back a bit?

Pope’s runaway popularity this season begs the question: Will somebody finally break wide open from this show? None of the past winners have become A-list stars a la Clarkson, Kelly Underwood and their ilk. But with the right management, songwriting and direction, Pope could very well become a household name in the years to come.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and editor at The Denver Post.

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  • Name

    Take Christina Milian out of the mix. Awkward and annoying.

    • http://www.denvereverb.com Ricardo Baca

      Agreed. She’s not great in that context.

  • Snapps izking

    Cassadee Pope’s one of my favorite contestants and I knew
    she was going to win this season. It’s going to be hard to deal without the
    show for a bit but season four’s going to be the bomb. I enjoy The Voice, and
    it’s turned into one of my primetime favorites.
    I mainly watch primetime and it’s hard to get all my shows recorded
    since I work in the evenings. The family gets stuck watching prerecorded events
    since I have all the DVRs tied up. This was always a huge issue until my
    coworker at DISH told me about the DISH Hopper DVR. I can enable the PrimeTime
    Anytime feature and it will record all four major networks every night on one
    TV. This was some of the greatest news I heard and it allows the family to
    watch all their shows while my shows record without timers and conflicts. I’ve
    enjoyed using this feature for the past few months and it’s been a great way to
    enhance my TV enjoyment.