December 19, 2012 10:12am PT by Rebecca Ford
'The Voice' Winner Cassadee Pope on Blake Shelton, Avril Lavigne Duet and What’s Next
When Cassadee Pope was announced as the season three winner of The Voice, she was at a loss for words. Host Carson Daly asked her how she felt and her first response was: "I don’t know."
"I really had no words," Pope told The Hollywood Reporter backstage after the show. "The first thing I thought of was, I need to thank everybody, so I just started spewing off everybody I could remember."
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Pope, who told THR a couple of hours after the show that the news still hadn’t sunk in, had worked closely throughout the season with coach Blake Shelton, who helped her choose some country songs to blend into her pop-rock genre.
The 23-year-old singer says her coach felt like a "proud papa" after her win.
"He’s a really respectful man, so I think that characteristic tends to be a little more protective over girls or women," Pope said of Shelton. "He was like that with a lot of the girls on team Blake in the beginning. I was just lucky enough to spend a little more time with him and get to know him on a personal level."
Shelton helped Pope pick some of her most successful songs this season, including "Over You," a song by Shelton’s wife, Miranda Lambert.
"We click so well," Pope said. "We have the same sense of humor and we’re goofy, we talk about silly things that they were never able to air."
On Tuesday’s finale, Pope got to sing with The Killers, Kelly Clarkson and her personal idol, Avril Lavigne. The show featured each of the three remaining contestants -- Pope, Nicholas David and Terry McDermott -- pairing up with a singer they admired.
Pope, who has sung several of Lavigne’s songs throughout the competition, says she immediately told the producers that he dream duet would be with Lavigne.
"It was so nerve-wracking because all I wanted was her approval and for her to like me," she said. "She was very sweet and kind. And she was saying congratulations even before I was announced the winner."
As the winner of season three, Pope has won a record deal with Universal. The petite singer says she plans to move quickly and hopes to release a single by January. She has several songs that she’s already written, but she adds that she isn’t sure if any of them are the right one for her single.
Pope, who was in a band called Hey Monday that toured with Fallout Boy, says her experience has prepared her for the road ahead.
"I feel like I’ve been through the ringer already so I know how to spot the B.S. and the real stuff," she said. "I am going to stay clear of people who might not have my best interest in mind."
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford