Charlie Prince is an orphan living in his late mother's old karaoke bar, The Palace, which she willed to his acerbic and unloving stepfather Arthur. Arthur makes Charlie do most of the work cleaning the bar; the other employees, couple Diego and Martha, love Charlie like their own son while his stepbrothers, the selfish Andrew and the nicer but simple-minded Lloyd, only annoy him. All three boys dream of being singers, and while Andrew and Lloyd lack talent (which Arthur is blind to), Charlie is vocally talented and can write music, though he can't seem to catch a break. In the beginning, Charlie is seen performing on the streets of New York City, and the narrator Shawn tips him, telling him: "Next time I see you, it better be on an album cover."

Kadee Worth, on the other hand, is the daughter of music mogul Reginald Worth, president of Majesty Records, and is an international pop phenomenon. While the world knows her as a glamorous superstar, she is secretly frustrated with singing other people's songs and wearing clothes other people choose for her. Just adding to her annoyance is her self-centered "boyfriend" Finn, who she is dating because her father believes it will help her sell records. Meanwhile, all Kadee wants is for the world to hear and see her true talent. When she and Charlie meet, she learns that Charlie may be the one to finally get her on the road to talent.