This past Wednesday’s performance episode of American Idol 2013 was the most emotionally charged show we’ve seen this season. We saw video clips of the Top 3 finalists’ hometown visits that took place over the weekend. All 3 girls received huge amounts of support from their fans at home and each one treated their devoted supporters and neighbors to a mini concert.
Wednesday night’s performance show featured the Top 3 finalists, Angie, Candice, and Kree, singing 3 songs each, chosen by their mentor, Jimmy Iovine, the American Idol judges, and the Idol production team.
The show opened with Kree Harrison singing Jimmy’s pick “Perfect”. Keith Urban asked her what she thought of the song choice and Kree said it contained an important message of “never feel like you’re less than” and said she was singing it for her niece. Keith said that in his mind she was a “country girl” and the song choice reflected that. Nicki’s only suggestion was that Kree should try wearing “flat boots” because her usual high-heels seemed to restrict her movements around the stage. Randy said he didn’t “love that song for her”, it didn’t have a “lot of pizzazz and was kind of flat”. Mariah talked about the importance of being able to write your own songs, rather than having someone else choose them, but said she connected well with the song.
For her second performance Kree sang the judge’s choice for her, a Rascal Flats’ hit, “Here Comes Goodbye” and it turned out to be a great choice for Kree. And in my opinion, her most convincing performance by far in this competition. She did a sensational job and got a standing ovation for her efforts. Kree’s visit home illustrated how much she and her sister struggle with the loss of both parents. Viewers, our readers as well as some of the judges have commented that she is often lackluster and not emotionally connected to her songs, but that was definitely not the case with this performance. Nicki referred to her devastating loss in her comments and assured Kree that her parents were there in spirit and were supporting her. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kree picks up a lot of extra votes this week based on how well she did on Wednesday.
Kree’s final performance of the night was “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry chosen by the Idol production team. The song was a departure from Kree’s usual style and featured lightning bolts flashing around the stage. Her confidence level was high and it came through in her voice. As unusual as the song was for her, she still delivered a good performance. The judges weren’t as impressed though and Keith said the song just didn’t feel right for him, but her other performances set the bar so high that any shortcomings would be cancelled out. Nicki agreed and said “she didn’t like that song for her at all” and it definitely wasn’t in her comfort zone. She also said that “whoever picked it should be stoned”. Randy thought her voice was too big for the song and it was just too ordinary for her. Mariah remarked that showing her rocker side was a good thing but she preferred songs that emote sorrow rather than anger.
Candice Glover’s first song of the night was Jimmy’s choice of the U2/Mary J. Blige hit “One”. For me, it wasn’t quite up to her usual standards. Her voice, at times had that screeching quality that our readers have pointed out, not the husky, musky sound I’ve come to appreciate. Nicki Minaj thought it was as good as Mary J. Blige’s version. I just watched Mary J’s performance on YouTube and as much as I like Candice, she isn’t at the level of Mary J. Blige, not yet anyway. I’m not sure what Nicki’s total of “secret marriages” is at this point, but she added Candice to the list in her comments. Maybe she’ll count them out on her fingers for us one day. Randy thought it was full of emotion and said she lifted them all up and also couldn’t resist shouting out his familiar catch phrase “she’s in it to win it”. Keith mentioned she “got sharp” in a couple of places but didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing considering the adrenaline rush they were all experiencing.
The judge’s choice for Candice was “Next to Me” by Emeli Sande. Randy and Nicki were both overcome with emotion over the footage from Candice’s visit home. Her hometown of St Helena Island, South Carolina looked like one of those great little towns where everybody knows everybody else and the reception and support that Candice received there was amazing. None of the judges really commented on her performance because there wasn’t anything to critique, it was typical Candice.
Her last performance was the production team’s choice of “Somewhere”. This is one of my favorites especially as sung by the great Barbra Streisand. Candice put her own spin on it and the judges praised her to the skies for it. Personally, I didn’t think she quite nailed it, but of course, I’m comparing it to other versions. Nicki said “Four words! See you next week”, but not before confirming the number by counting on her fingers. Keith said “if you don’t want to vote for Candice, call your doctor, you probably don’t have a pulse”. Randy said this was the second time she delivered the “best performance ever on American Idol.”
Angie Miller’s first song was Jimmy Iovine’s pick of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”. There was a pianist playing background, but contrary to what the judge’s expected, it wasn’t Angie. Her penchant for perfect annunciation was evident in this song. Her voice was clear and strong, but I think her tendency towards perfect diction takes away from genuine feeling coming through. Randy thought she showed restraint in her singing and meant it as a good thing. Keith thought she could have held back a little more and that singing softly can be as effective as showing her range and power.
The judge’s pick for Angie was “Try” by Pink. Keith thought she had never looked that comfortable without her piano. This was a much better performance than her first one and she seemed to really connect and give off a sense of confidence which she attributed to her visit home. Nicki said she had never looked that confident in any previous performance and again compared her to Miley Cyrus. Randy said “I don’t know how the judges came up with this choice” and Mariah chimed in with “Ryan”. (I wondered for a second if the judges really did choose the songs)
Angie’s final performance of the night was “Maybe”, chosen by Idol Production. She did choose to play the piano herself this time and it earned her rave reviews from Randy who said that “tonight you became a “complete performer with this one.” Mariah pointed out that Angie stayed in her “belting register” throughout the song saying it was a risk that paid off and also not an easy thing to do. Nicki noted the growth Angie has experienced over the season and said she “has come full circle”. In my opinion, this was the one style that Angie does really, really well and it’s become her hallmark and it’s what fans have come to expect.
It seems as though the trips home reinvigorated all three of the girls and they sure needed it after the grueling schedule they’ve been following for the past several months. They all got a much needed confidence boost from their hometown fans and it showed in every one of their performances, whether it was each one’s best of the season or not is another matter.
At the end of the night, Ryan reviewed Jimmy’s picks for who won each round. In his opinion Angie took round one, Kree round two, and because of Candice’s performance of “Somewhere” he felt she won the round and the night. Overall, Wednesday night’s performances were good, but I was anticipating much more than just good, especially at this point in the competition. It seems in seasons past, there were so many more truly memorable performances at this stage, the kind that replayed in my head for days.
What is your opinion of Wednesday’s performances? Did the hometown visits give the Top 3 girls the confidence boost they all seemed to need? Did any of the performances change your opinion as to which of the girls is worthy of winning American Idol Season 12?