Angie Miller, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison may be the best top 3 American Idol has ever seen. Last night they left American Idol voters with a very difficult decision. After two difficult song choices, Candice Glover closed the show with one of the all-time great American Idol singing performances. After a season of ups and downs, Angie Miller has clearly found herself as a performer and had the most consistent night of the three. And the girl we have been pushing for more emotion, Kree Harrison, had the most moving moment of the night.
The evening started slowly as the judges reaction to Jimmy Iovine’s song selection sucked the energy out of the room. Jimmy picked songs that did not play to the singers’ strengths, the time to perform the songs was too short and the judges generally shrugged their shoulders and said, “nice try”. The second round pushed the show higher with the emotions of the home videos and much better song selections. The third round seemed a little drained, until Candice Glover brought the roof down with “Someday”.
After seeing the videos of home visits I was struck by a view observations about the American Idol Season 12 top 3. Candice Glover is deeply connected, rooted in her community. Her journey is not one of escaping her life but one of fulfilling her destiny. Angie Miller was born to be a star. She seemed to absorb the attention and grow in the spotlight. She smiled more than she cried. Kree Harrison has had so much pain in her life, you can imagine why she is measured. You must move forward from the death of both of your parents but the missing never heals. As much as Kree Harrison has moved forward, the hole in her was palpable.
American Idol Season 12 Top 3 Performances
1) Candice Glover-“Somewhere” by Reri Grist/Barbra Streisand 10
My first thought was that the producers suck at picking songs. In 1998, Arettha Franklin was asked to step in for Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammies. With less than 24 hours to prepare, the Queen of Soul, delivered a picture perfect rendition of the operatic “Nessun Dorma” that proved she was the greatest singer of the 20th century. Like Aretha at the Grammies, Candice Glover took the song structure of this 10950′s show tune as it was and just out sang it. She delivered a spectacular classical vocal. Not modern, not gospel, just crazy good. She just climbed the ladder of that song, taking it higher and bigger as she went through the song. Candice Glover slowly, patiently built her performance with a hint of what was to come, then she just exploded through the final third of the performance. The highlight was how she stepped down from the first chorus to the second verse, beautiful and amazing. Keith said “how do you do that?” and “If you do not vote for Candice you do not you do not have a pulse”. Randy called it another one of the greatest vocals in the history of American Idol. Mariah said” A+ amazing”.
2) Kree Harrison-“Here Comes Goodbye” by Chris Sligh/Rascal Flatts 10
Coming straight out of the gut wrenching video of her home visit, Kree Harrison poured herself fully into this song of dread, longing and regret. Clearly the emotional centerpiece of the night, this brought the house down. The singing was perfect, but this was a performance where Kree Harrison laid her soul bare. All of the judges were in tears. With this performance, Kree Harrison may have mobilized the country vote to an American Idol season 12 victory. Nikki called it one her best performances. I think Randy said it well, “you just sang your heart out”. Mariah said she was overwhelmed with emotion. Keith was in tears.
3) Angie Miller-“Try” by Pink 9
The judges picked a song in Angie Miller‘s wheel house. This is the first time that Angie Miller was set free on the stage, without a piano or mike stand to tether her, and delivered a restrained yet exuberant performance that felt organic. This was the big soaring pop vocal that Angie Miller does best and she just infused this beat. That felt like an Angie Miller concert piece. She is peeking at the right time. Nikki said she has never looked this comfortable.
4) Angie Miller-“Maybe” by Emile Sandé 9
Angie Miller just belted that song. It was hard to connect because the song was a little weak. Angie Miller could have kept the opening a little more subtle but she sang and she roared and she belted. The singing was perfect with no theatrics. Randy said “tonight, Angie Miller became a complete performer”. Nikki said she has become what the judges have been asking for all season.
5) Angie Miller- “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” by Elton John 8
Why would Jimmy Iovine pick this song? Angie Miller interpreted this as slowed down, almost blues, ballad. It gave her a lot room to sing big. The pace fit her voice very, very well. Angie Miller held back her performance and pulled us in. I agree with Randy that her restraint made the song compelling. Mariah called it one of her best performances.
6) Candice Glover-“One” by U2 & Mary J. Blige 8
A beautiful vocal but I thought Candice Glover forced it a little and fell off key in a few places. These performances are too short. Candice was forced to jump into big notes and runs too early in the song, but by the time she hit the stretched run she held big notes, exposed her emotions and soared. Nikki compared it favorably to Mary J Blige.
7) Candice Glover-“Next To Me” by Emile Sandé 8
Wonderful intimate opening. The uptempo song fit Candice Glover‘s voice well. She sat down into a great groove and then did some nice riffs around the melody. Not a song that offered much opportunity for Candice Glover to blow it out, but it was a perfect vocal performance. Nikki was moved to tears, maybe not by the performance but by the moment.
8)Kree Harrison-“Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry 7
Kree Harrison found her country just at the right time. She just seemed to set down into the groove of that song. but I wish it had gotten bigger. Kree Harrison‘s performance was aggressive, edgy and gritty but it did not have much dynamics. Nikki said whoever picked that song should be stoned. Randy was right that the song was too ordinary for Kree.
9) Kree Harrison-“Perfect” by Pink 6
A mid-tempo country arrangement allowed Kree Harrison to show off her technical singing skills. The song also exposed the limits of her range and it was clear that Kree Harrison was forcing herself to tolerate the song. .The performance was a little laid back for me. Keith commented on her signature sound. Agree with Randy that it did not have much pizazz.
Who are moving on to the finale? Last night settled nothing, all three showed their best. If it is based solely on performance, Angie Miller and Candice Glover should be in the finale. However, I cannot discount the power of the country voting block that may have discovered Kree Harrison all over again last night. I will be sad to see any one of them go home.