Candice Glover and Kree Harrison both prompt Keith Urban to throw up his gospel hand in the season 12 finals
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Candice Glover Idol Finale
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LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
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Kree Harrison and Candice Glover sang their hearts — and guts! — out during Wednesday’s hour-long performance finale in three rounds: Simon Fuller’s Pick, Coronation Single, and Repeat of a Favorite Performance. Candice, who certainly Has Something if you catch my drift, finished things out with a raging showstopper. Aw, Kree. I say that 1) because I can’t believe I’m going to have to stop typing such a fun nonsense word — “Kree” — so often after tonight, and 2) because WHY WOULD SHE CHOOSE TO GO FIRST?

Well, let’s have the top 2 ladies explain it. As Ryan flipped the coin last week, Kree actually whispered to Candice to ask, while it was spinning, which position she preferred, and Candice was like “I don’t know? Second?” So Kree just obliged! “That’s Kree. Every day,” Candice told EW after the finals. “She doesn’t think about herself at all. She puts everyone before herself.” And Kree weighed in: “I think it comes down to the singing, the connection. The order doesn’t matter.” [Read more.]

Ryan Seacrest mercifully kept things moving by checking in with only two judges at a time at the end of the first two rounds. That was cool, right? They’re all goners anyway, most likely, so why even bother? The exchanges were more like conversations this way, instead of the usual set of rehearsed speeches — and every conversation ended right on time for a commercial break. Lovely!

SIMON FULLER’S PICK

Kree, Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”: Idol has always been very subtle in its onstage imagery, and the giant blue wings hovering around Kree’s shoulders as she sang this late-’90s weeper were no exception. Was that supposed to represent an angel, maybe? I don’t know what to think! This wasn’t the strongest start Kree could have made — some of her tonal variations to the original seemed off, and at times neither she nor the accompaniment seemed to have a handle on what the timing should be.

I did agree with Mariah that a delicate lyrical delivery can really work for Kree; I just don’t know if “Angel” was the best venue for that.

On a superficial but nonetheless important note, this was Kree’s boobiest performance to date.

Just felt like documenting this exceedingly awkward moment for Ryan!

GLORIA WANTS IT, RYAN.

NEXT: The Coronation Songs — Kree’s Emotional Instability vs. Candice’s Body Image Issues! Candice, Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”: As usual, Candice did as much as she could with a shortened version of a really, really, really popular song. If she’d been given free range and a few more minutes, this could have been a major end-of-show moment for her. I liked the huge power run she threw in before the softer, pleading “Should I just…keep on…” and the extra, upward-lilting “Nowhere….” she tacked onto the end.

Randy said that unlike Kree in round 1, Candice at least tried to “make something more” of the song, and he and Mariah both complimented Candice’s lower register: “So rangy!” I swear, watching Randy and Mariah attempt to basically say the same thing was like the best mediocre SNL “Garth and Kat” sketch ever.

CORONATION SINGLE

Kree, “All Cried Out”: I totally agreed with Nicki that this song made Kree “reach down in her gut” to showcase seemingly a new part of her voice. I actually got really excited for her that this could be her own song — there was a fire in her eyes I haven’t seen much when she does straight covers. At first the title and lyrics struck me as very agenda-based (we’re supposed to think Kree has undergone major strides in “emotionally connecting to the audience”! blah), but the bottom line is that she sang the heck out of this song and the tune itself is at least musically a good fit for her style and voice.

Candice, “I Am Beautiful”: The content of this song, too, struck me as heavy-handed, especially after the “GURL, you look good, have you lost weight?” reign of body image terror Nicki Minaj has recently inflicted upon the gorgeous-as-she-ever-was Candice. I guess that was a bigger plot in Candice’s character development than I’d realized? That she needs to think she’s beautiful? Eh. I’m not gonna harp too much on this because the coronation singles are always cheesy and these two songs were way better than some of the messes we’ve witnessed over the years. But overall this round played out like a big ol’ flashing-lights marquee: “Welcome to the #IdolFinale! It’s HEAVYSET CANDICE vs STILL VERY SAD KREE!”

“It makes so much sense for Candice to sing that,” said Nicki. “It fits her like a glover,” said Keith. Keith!

NEXT: I’ll miss Keith Urban’s violent, appreciative lean-backs most of all REPEAT OF A FAVORITE PERFORMANCE

Kree, Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain”: Yes! This reprise of Kree’s standout effort from the Vegas round was just what she needed to close out the night (before Candice would swoop in and REALLY close it out). Kree looked stunning in that flowy red dress and didn’t need to put on any airs or access any foreign energy from deep inside — the two sets of backup singers and swelling orchestra were there to do that for her. Which is not to take away from Kree’s alternating strong and subtle vocals. I just mean this was the perfect type of song for which Kree should be a frontwoman.

It was nice. Not mind-blowing, but a great moment for her. “That right there is a winning performance,” Randy said, just in case.

Candice, Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing)”: YES! The finals were just fine up until this point — but when Candice drawled out the ENTIRE first verse of this song a cap-freaking-pella, I finally felt like oh, thank God, someone is desperate to win this thing. Candice wants it, Ryan! And that majestic build at the end was just… well… why am I even trying to describe it in words?

SEASON 12 IN 6 SECONDS, RIGHT?!

Source: Vine

Overall on the night, I didn’t think there was a blatant dud in the lineup (Kree’s “Angel” was sleepy, but come on, so is that song). But after Candice’s incredible final crescendo. I’d say the more deserving winner is clear. To borrow on Candice’s most powerful note of the night, there’s no “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY” she should lose this.

Kree is a finely tuned, consistent performer who can go far in the real world, but Candice can put on one hell of a SHOW in reality TV land. Her vocal gymnastics are just insane. And contrary to what the judges suggested over the course of the season, I see no reason she couldn’t sell a soul record in the style of Adele.

Who’s got your vote? See you back here tonight for the season 12 finale!

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LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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