Wednesday night’s episode of the American Idol Season 12 Finale featured the Top 2 finalists giving their final performances for America’s votes. At times, it seemed predetermined that Kree Harrison, Candice Glover and Angie Miller, would be the final three and last week millions of viewers got quite a surprise when Angie was eliminated leaving Kree and Candice to battle it out in the finale.
The program for performance night was as follows: The girls sang 3 songs each; the first chosen by Simon Fuller, creator of American Idol, the second was Kree’s and Candice’s “coronation” songs, and the third was the girls’ favorite song of the season. A coin toss decided the order in which they would perform.
First to sing was Kree Harrison. Kree’s wardrobe choice was a little more formal than what we’re used to seeing her in, but the finale is a special occasion afterall and she looked beautiful and elegant in the floor length gown she chose for her first performance. The song, chosen by Simon Fuller was “Angel”. Kree has a sensational voice, but unfortunately this song just didn’t turn out to be the best way for her to showcase it. She hit the high notes perfectly, and infused the song with her unique sound, but still the song went nowhere near where it could have gone and should have gone. However, in my opinion, the blame for that belongs squarely on Simon Fuller’s shoulders for choosing the song with so little consideration for Kree’s somewhat reserved manner of expressing emotion when that song really demands a more demonstrative style. Through no fault of her own, it was not a finale worthy performance for Kree and that is truly a shame.
Candice Glover was given “Chasing Pavements” also selected by Simon, for Round One. This was a better choice and suited to Candice’s style and range. But, it was really just okay, definitely not the standout performance I expect to see on the finale. The audience apparently disagreed with me because she got a standing ovation, but the judges stayed put in their seats.
At the end of Round One, prompted by host, Ryan Seacrest, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson offered their comments. Mariah (not at all looking like someone who had just been fired BTW) said she was “proud to have been part of, particularly this season” and that “the level of the talent was mind boggling”. She also said she was proud of America for voting for competitors from two totally different genres who are both at the top of their game. Randy said both songs were “sleepy and he wouldn’t have chosen either one”, but followed up by stating his love for his boss, Simon Fuller. Then Ryan remarked that Randy could criticize the song choices only because he was leaving the show.
Randy ultimately gave Round One to Candice mainly because she “tried to make more of the song” choice. Mariah said she liked Kree’s performance and called it “subtle and beautiful”, but Randy thought Kree’s performance was “lackluster”.
Round Two began with Kree singing “All Cried Out”, her “coronation” song and the single she would release if she does win the crown. This was by far a much better performance and a great fit for her. The arrangement allowed her to do what she excels at. The easy, effortless connection she can make when the song is the right one. In fact, it was so good it almost made me forget all about “Angel”.
Candice’s “coronation” song was “I Am Beautiful” and it was another winning performance from her. This is also the song she will release if she should win Idol and like Kree’s song, this arrangement is designed to show Candice at her best and she demonstrated how masterfully she can control every note and nuance. Candice says this particular song’s message is very personal to her which only enhances her performance of it. Candice always knows her songs inside and out and how to make any song seem like her own, no matter what the genre.
As far as the judge’s comments on Round Two, Nicki Minaj said she loved Kree’s composure and thought her second performance “made her reach down in the gut more than she’s ever done before”. Keith Urban thought both songs were “tailor made” for the girls and said Candice’s song “fit her like a Glover”. Yes he did. Keith and Nicki disagreed, politely, on who won Round Two with Keith going with Kree and Nicki siding with Candice.
Round Three started off with Kree singing “Up to the Mountain”, her pick for her favorite song of the season, previously performed during Vegas week. This was classic Kree and she was able to display her beautiful tone and range to it’s fullest extent. This one earned her a standing O from the audience as well as the judges. She had a choir backing her up which added a lot of depth and weight to the performance overall. Keith said she “tapped into the spirituality and soulfulness and her story [it was] all connected”. Nicki commented that the choir added “richness” to the song. Randy said it was her “best performance of the night”. Mariah agreed and said Kree showed both her “subtlety and power” with each of her song selections of the night.
Candice closed out the show with “I Who Have Nothing” which she performed during Top 10 week. She also took it up a few notches with her wardrobe choice and was stunning in a black knee-length dress. I was impressed the first time she did this song, but this performance was just inspired. She changed things up a bit by starting the song a cappella and then the band joined in. This was a performance worthy of the American Idol finale. It was Outstanding! Nicki Minaj couldn’t resist pointing out the debut of Candice’s legs, but then Nicki is famous for drawing attention to contestant’s physical characteristics, which I find completely awkward and inappropriate. Randy said it “was a winning performance” and added, “Baby, you got it all!” Mariah said she “has the ability to take any song and turn it into a vehicle for her amazing voice”.
For me personally, this finale is just too close for me to make any sort of prediction. I think both of the girls are deserving of the title, each for their own unique reasons. Neither Kree nor Candice had really memorable performances in Round One, but I think the song choices were largely to blame for that. They each have the ability to give a flawless performance when they have the right song to sing. Both were outstanding in Round Three, having been able to choose their own songs. Kree and Candice have a keen understanding of their abilities and how to apply them for the best possible result as they did in Round Two. This self-knowledge will serve them well as they pursue their careers. Both possess amazing vocal skills and both have established a significant fan base. Of course, no matter who ends up winning American Idol Season 12, the runner-up will have laid a strong foundation on which to build a successful career in the music industry.
Who won the night and the season for you on American Idol? Kree or Candice?