Shontelle, "Impossible"

Barbadian singer Shontelle shines on "Impossible," giving one of the year's standout female vocal performances and recalling the poignancy and technical precision of Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable." Shontelle already earned a top 40 entry in 2008 with "T-Shirt," but this arresting midtempo ballad is now the bigger hit of the two. The 24-year-old's vulnerable delivery demands attention when she sings, "Tell them all I know now, shout it from the rooftops/Write it on the skyline/All we had is gone now," releasing the pain of a broken heart. A gentle piano melody, acoustic guitar line, simple drumbeat and light synth production support a stunning melody co-written by Swedish producer Arnthor Birgisson (Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson) and Norwegian singer/songwriter Ina Wroldsen, who also supplies backing vocals. Nothing is impossible when a vocal sounds as effortless and anthemic as this. --Michael Menachem

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