Some thought it was a foregone conclusion that Florida singer Cassadee Pope, 23, the protege of judge Blake Shelton on NBC's The Voice, would nab top honors on the reality show's season three finale as the first female winner after Javier Colton of season one and Jermaine Paul of season two, but Pope, who recently stepped out on her own after performing for over three years with the band, Hey Monday, was only cautiously optimistic on last night's two-hour finale, when she beat out Nicholas David and runner-up Terry McDermott.

"I mean, the closer I got, the more I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this could happen,'" Pope told USA Today after her victory for Team Blake. "But, at the beginning, with all those big voices and all those people, I just felt like I was getting swallowed in the group. The further I got, I felt like I was starting to stand out a little bit, which is great," she said.

Shelton also believed in his protege. "She's become comfortable in front of the camera. She's always been a great singer. But more than anything, she's figured something about herself that she's really, really, really good at, which is telling a story in a lyric and having people understand it and react to it in a very special way. And you can't teach that to anybody," he said.

But Pope wasn't the only star who shined on The Voice season finale. Singers and acts Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Peter Frampton, Smokey Robinson and the Killers treated the audience to guest performances, and Avril Lavigne sang a duet with victor Pope.

Watch the tearful victory on last night's season three finale of The Voice here:

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