Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC © 2011 NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: Cassadee Pope on the Live Shows, Nov. 19, 2012

The Voice Season 3 had its best episode ever last night, with the Top 10 bringing out all the stops for their performances. Although plenty of clear front runners emerged, one performer stood out of the crowd with a surprising and touching performance: Team Blake’s Cassadee Pope.

Typically, we see Cassadee rock out on stage with pop rock songs — Gavin DeGraw, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne, among others — but she recently told Wetpaint Entertainment that she wanted to “take it down a notch and do a ballad” so people could connect with her. And last night, she did just that.

Her heart-wrenching rendition of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You” — which her coach, Blake Shelton, co-wrote about the tragic death of his brother — immediately caused us to tear up. It wasn’t the beautiful string duo behind her or even the softness of her voice that wowed us. It wasn’t even the fantastic balance of belting powerful notes and the smoothness of the rest of the song. The most incredible part of her performance was the emotions she brought to the table, making a truly personal connection to the song.

Credit: STILL Photo: STILL: Blake Shelton Reacts to Cassadee Pope's Emotional Performance

We were already rooting for her to win, but this song was a game-changer. It is now clear that Cassadee succeeds most when she emotionally connects to a song, just like her performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes” last week. She told Wetpaint Entertainment that she was overwhelmed and “on the verge of tears the whole time,” but she “went out there and gave it everything,” and clearly, that mindset pays off.

With tears in her eyes last night, it was clear that she didn’t hold back, commanding the stage in an entirely new way than usual. Even just listening to the song (on repeat after we purchased it last night) makes us tear up, and to us, that solidifies that, in the words of her coach, she’s a “true artist” that is incredibly versatile.

“This seemed to suit you the best,” Adam Levine said, adding that he wants to “see more country music” from her, and we couldn’t agree more. With Cassadee putting her own pop rock spin on it, she could easily be the next Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, or Kelly Clarkson — three artists who have transcended the country genre.

We could go on and on about how amazing she was, but instead, we’ll close it out with Blake’s tearjerker commentary: “You just sang, easily, the most important and most personal song that I’ve ever been a part of writing in my life, but you made me feel like I was hearing it for the first time, and words can’t express what that means,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re looking at an artist standing up here.”

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Alyse Whitney is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @AlyseWhitney.

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