A shot at the big time

It was a whirlwind of a summer for former Frazee resident Cassandra Mae Jopp. First, she was invited to audition for the ABC summer television series, "Karaoke Battle USA." She made the cut, and subsequently made her television debut under her ne...

Cassandra Mae Jopp
Cassandra Mae Jopp (center) with her parents, David and Aleisa.

It was a whirlwind of a summer for former Frazee resident Cassandra Mae Jopp.

First, she was invited to audition for the ABC summer television series, "Karaoke Battle USA."

She made the cut, and subsequently made her television debut under her new stage name, Cassandra Mae.

Week after week, Jopp continued to advance, until she made it to the finals.

Then, she won.


"I competed to the very end, and I walked away with the title of being the queen of karaoke in the U.S., which was pretty bizarre," Jopp said in a recent interview.

The title also came with a recording contract. Jopp is still waiting to hear from Hollywood Records regarding what she will be recording for her first album with them, but she expects a phone call "sometime this week."

In addition, the national title came with an invitation to compete in a worldwide karaoke championship, which was held in Ireland.

"I got first place there too," Jopp said. "It was a feeling I can't even describe.

"Honestly, I had my goal when I won here in the U.S. and got my recording contract. When I got the chance to go compete in Ireland, I thought it was just a bonus."

To actually win the whole thing? "It was awesome," Jopp said. "At the very end of it, when they called my name as the champion, I started crying. It was pretty amazing."

Since the final episode of the televised competition aired in mid-September, Jopp said she's been doing a lot of media interviews and waiting for word on when she can start recording her first album.

"It's been so much fun!" she said. "I've just been kind of relaxing after everything that's happened. It's been almost like a roller coaster ride these past three months."


It was a roller coaster that almost didn't get off the ground, however. Jopp didn't find out about the opportunity until the last minute.

"I had (someone calling me from) this weird telephone number for the longest time -- almost two months," she said. "I never answered it.

"But then my boyfriend called me at work one day to say he was contacted by someone from ABC.

"They were doing this brand new show for karaoke singers and they saw my performance (online) from when I opened for Tim McGraw at WE Fest in 2009," said Jopp, referring to the opportunity she had to take the country music festival's main stage after winning the WE Fest Karaoke Roundup.

Because Jopp found out about the competition so late in the process, however, "I only had two days left to audition," she said. "So I submitted my (video) audition online, and a week later I got confirmation from them, saying that I'd qualified to go compete in Chicago."

Jopp made it through the regional competition and advanced to the semifinals in Los Angeles, and then the finals, where she eventually won the title.

Since the initial whirlwind of media interviews, Jopp said, "things have slowed down a little bit. I'm taking it easy, waiting to hear from (the record company) to see when I have to go to work."

As for what her debut album will include, Jopp said she's not exactly sure, but she hopes she might be able to get a few of her own songs on there.


"It would be really cool to write some of my own songs," she said. "Whatever they have in mind for me, I'll take it. The sky's the limit, basically."

Before she auditioned for the competition, Jopp had been working as the manager of the Hot Mama store in Fargo's West Acres Mall. Though she still works there part-time, she decided to resign her position as store manager and shift her career focus to her true passion -- music.

"They (the store owners) have totally supported me through all this, so I didn't want to leave completely," Jopp said. "But I'm focused on my music now, for sure."

Cassandra Mae, as she is now known professionally, is the daughter of Aleisa and David Lee Jopp, who still live in Frazee. She and her three siblings -- two brothers and a half sister -- are all musically inclined as well.

"I come from a very musical family," she said, noting that her dad performs professionally with local favorites The Fat Cats.

She and her brother David also perform regularly in the Fargo area, as an acoustic duo.

"We're doing a couple shows here and there," she said. "Wherever we can get a gig, that's where we'll go."

Though she no longer lives there, Jopp is also tremendously grateful for the support she has received from family and friends in the Frazee area.


"I want to thank my friends and family, and the whole community, for standing behind me and supporting me all these years," she said. "Having people who believe in you really helps, especially in the music business, which is a tough business to break through in.

"Without all the support I've received from everybody, I wouldn't be where I am right now."

Those who are interested in keeping track of Jopp's future career and upcoming performance dates are invited to visit her fan page on Facebook (she's listed as Cassandra Mae).

"I try to keep everybody updated on where I'm going to be playing next," she said.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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