'The Voice' winner Cassadee Pope talks Blake, her upcoming album, and dealing with haters

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Going into the finale, did you think you were going to win?
Honestly, I was very optimistic because of iTunes. But when I was standing there with Terry [McDermott] next to me, I really had a feeling that he was going to win because of how popular he was and is.

Are you and Terry close?
Yes. He actually just texted me today — he was like, “I hope they’re not working you too hard. Miss you!” He’s such a good guy; he’s kind of like the big brother I never had.

Which other contestants were you close with?
I got really close to Liz Davis. She’s someone that I feel a lot of people don’t understand. People are quick to judge because she’s so gorgeous, she’s got this killer body, she’s not afraid to show her legs — but she’s just a really good person, and I feel like her time on the show was cut too short because people didn’t get to see her personality enough. Even when I first met her, people were saying so many things behind her back — not when it came to the finalists, but way back in the beginning, when there’s a ton of people there that shouldn’t have been there anyway. [Laughs] And towards the end of the show, I became closer with Nicholas [David] — he’s a really special guy, and he’s got a really good outlook on life. He’s got these crazy theories.

He seems like a wise man on a mountain.
He is! That should be his album cover, just standing on a mountain in a robe. But he’s super talented, and he just knows who he is. That’s something I really admire.

Is there anybody you didn’t get along with?
Um… there are people I didn’t mesh well with. I wouldn’t say I didn’t get along with anyone. I mean, you choose to not get along with someone. That’s your choice. I never got into any fights with anybody; I just kind of stayed out of everyone’s way. There were some fights, I just didn’t want to be a part of them.

On a similar note, some people have said that since you had a band and a fan base before you came on The Voice, you had an unfair advantage over the other artists. What’s your reaction to that?
I think it’s so dumb. At the start of the show, I had 150,000 followers on Twitter, which sounds like a lot. But if that meant I was really successful, then why was I struggling to pay rent every month? Why was I not able to get any label to sign my solo project? Being in the band and not growing was not something I was content with. And I’m young — why do I have to stop now? Why can’t I keep reaching for my goals? So it was frustrating. It hurt my feelings to think that people didn’t think I deserved to have a chance. It’s bothered me and affected me, but I feel really proud because there’s no way that my 150,000 fans got me to win The Voice. I did win it on the right terms and fairly.

The Voice’s other winners haven’t had much success in the music industry. Does that worry you at all?
I was worried about that towards the beginning. But when I started seeing how much [my music] was catching on on iTunes, it made me realize that maybe they just haven’t found the person that’s going to break into the mainstream world yet. And it’s not the label’s fault, it’s not Javier [Colon] or Jermaine [Paul]’s fault — it’s not anybody’s fault. I think they made iTunes such a huge component in the voting process [this year] because they got to see who sells the most records. As a label, what better way is there to scout? Everything that they changed about this season really made a lot of sense — it’s more about relatability than who has the best voice. It’s funny — it’s called The Voice, but I sure as hell didn’t have the best voice on the show. I’ll admit it.

Which contestant do you think had the best pure vocals?
Probably Trevin. He can just wail and not sound like he’s straining and not go pitchy or anything — when he did the right songs for him, it was like, “What am I doing here? I don’t even know how I’m still here.” It’s like vocal acrobatics. When he left, that was like, an event. He’s just a monster.

I’m going to let you go, but before I do, one last question: Did you get to meet the Muppets?
I didn’t get to meet the Muppets! I’m so sad! They were there when we were all leaving the stage. They got out of there before we got to see them. When [their appearance] finally aired, all of us were watching it backstage and just staring at the TV like a bunch of five-year-olds. It was amazing.

Maybe you can collaborate with Kermit on your album.
Maybe! I would love to have him, actually.

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