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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

Idol Top 3 Performances: It’s A Sad, Sad Situation

You’ll notice this is the first title to not contain a pun and it’s because I’m in a very somber mood. The reality is just setting in for me that I have to lose one of these girls tomorrow night and, also, I just realized that I actually do want one of them more than the other two. But, alas, let’s get right down to the goods. Tonight was actually a really good night. The judging was (mostly) fair and we got to see more of all three of their personalities. Plus, each girl delivered at least one great performance given the sometimes questionable songs the judges, Jimmy or the producers gave them. I will say that the swapping of the performance order, while it seemed fair, might confuse the voters and still, clearly, gave Candice the upper hand.

Jimmy’s Choice

Credit: zap2it

1. Kree Harrison – “Perfect” (P!nk) – First of all, I will say that I get what Jimmy was trying to do by picking this song for Kree (assuming he wasn’t trying to sabotage her chances of making the finale). Either he wanted Kree to prove she could sing out of her genre, or wanted her to prove she could take a song and make it her own. The problem is, during Top 3 week, these three girls are so short on time, that to revamp a pop-rock ballad like this and turn it country is hard. I thought Kree did a decent job with it and the way she sang it to the girls in the audience was cute. Do I wish she would have done what Hollie Cavanagh did last season and just sat on a stool with a guy with a guitar and just sang a stripped down version of it? Sure. Can I fault her for not doing that? Not really. She still sounded plenty perfect to me.

Rating: 63%

2. Candice Glover – “One” (U2 feat. Mary J. Blige) – The one thing Idol has never been good with is timing. In round one of the performances, the judges were talking way too long and the contestants were singing for way too little time, given that we’re deciding their fate (and unfortunately not the judges) come Wednesday night with our votes. All that is to say that I felt like Candice’s song didn’t have enough time to build up. The song starts quiet and builds to the point that Bono and Blige are testifying, which Candice could obviously pull off and I think Jimmy wasn’t a fool to think she could. But in the short period of time they gave her, I don’t think she got there and, for the first time all season, I found myself questioning whether Candice was hitting all her notes. Maybe it was a side effect of not being able to transition into those parts of the song more smoothly or maybe she was just uncomfortable with the song given that she had only just discovered it (cue Nicki’s face and my face displaying our shock given that Candice cites Mary J. as one of her personal Idols), but whatever the case, it wasn’t one of the Lady Glover’s very best even though, in theory, it should have worked.

Rating: 52%

credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

3. Angie Miller – “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” (Elton John) – I can just picture Jimmy rubbing his hands together as he selects an old-as-hell song from a piano playing superstar for Angie, forcing her to play the piano and avoid sounding cheesy on and old song for once. But I think Angie successfully proved him wrong on both counts. I fully appreciated Angie’s candidness that learning to play the piano for this tune on such a short period of time might have been a stretch, so she focused on her vocals, which were clear as day and gorgeous and soaring at all the right moments. She was tender with the song, which I think is what gave her the edge against Kree and Candice in this first round. She finally got the message that less is more, even if the judges didn’t. I couldn’t understand Randy’s critique that he wanted “even less” from her. Does he realize this is the Top 3? We’re deciding the winner of this whole debacle next week. It’s time for Angie to kick it into high gear just a bit and prove she wants this, and I thought she did that well in this.

Rating: 79%

Judge’s Choice & Hometown Visits

credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

4. Candice Glover – “Next To Me” (Emile Sandé) – This round will include a little blurb on each of their Hometown visits because, as any true Idol fan (and David Cook himself) knows, you will cry and when you cry, you vote. I thought all three hometown visits were assembled brilliantly and gave the audience a reason to vote for any of these three girls. Candice’s video showed a family and a community that was extremely proud of her. It was clear that the intention was to harness the African American vote to her advantage (as if she didn’t already have it). That fanbase is a powerful one and it will be interesting to see if it will carry her through to the finale. But more than that, it showed that typical “girl who came from nothing” story that we all love and have rooted for since Kelly Clarkson herself. Candice went back to the travel agency she worked at and answered the phone and the jarring contrast between that and what she’s doing now made us realize that the judges sometimes hyperbolic praise of this girl were not in vain. How could the girl capable of delivering performances like “Love Song” and “You’ve Changed” have been doing that only 6 months ago? Insane.

Anyway, back to her performance. I thought the judges gave Candice a great, uptempo song to show off her voice. In a season where we’ve kind of been deprived of great uptempo performances, I thought Candice finally delivered one that felt genuine and, perhaps more than that, sounded good. I thought Randy, for once, gave a very astute critique when he said that the introduction felt like Candice was just talking to us and telling a story and that was a really great thing. It was the same thing she did with the Bruno Mars song last week where she kind up dragged us into her world and I think that, more than anything except maybe her unstoppable freight train of a voice, is why Candice has had a lot of success on this show.

Rating: 77%

credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

5. Angie Miller – “Try” (P!nk) – I think we’ve all realized by now that Angie is a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of gal. Unlike Kree or Candice, she’s had a pretty good life. She came from middle-class suburban family who supports and loves her and there’s really nothing to be sympathetic about, but normalcy is still a great, relatable thing. So the production team found an angle: the post-marathon bombing Boston Strong story. Angie clearly felt for her city and that is what will rally people behind her because everyone loves a good American comeback story. Further, Angie gave us another little glimpse of her original song, “You Set Me Free”, which I think is foreshadowing to the finale where she’ll finally get to play it in it’s entirety and likely seal the deal on her win.

I thought this song choice was a great one for a couple reasons: the lyrics speak to the Boston Strong mentality from her video package and it had the pop-rock edge that Angie is so good at. Again, she deprived the audience and the judges of her behind the piano and rightly so. If I was Angie, I would have just told the judges to stop trying to chain her to the piano already. With the right song, Angie’s capable of delivering a great performance with no piano in sight and I thought this song did just that for her. Was it pitch perfect? No. Did I care? No I did not. It was Angie doing Angie and that’s what mattered to me at this stage in the game. I want to know what kind of record she’s going to put out and “Try” could easily have been a single off that record, so just pat yourselves on the back judges for a job well done and let’s move on.

Rating: 73%

credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

6. Kree Harrison – “Here Comes Goodbye” (Rascal Flatts) – And the award for most heartbreaking homecoming video goes to… Kree. The producers haven’t really exploited the story of her dead parents much this season and whether that was by Kree’s choice or their own, it came in full force last night. The visit to her old family home with her sister had me tearing up and her teary rendition of “See You Again” just yanked my heart out of my chest and stomped on it until it was in tiny little pieces. I have to admit that this video was the moment I realized Kree is, far and away, my favourite this season and I will be genuinely heartbroken if she’s sent home tomorrow despite her powerful southern, country fanbase.

That said, as if the video wasn’t enough to break your heart, the judges chose another great, heartbreaking song for Kree. Sure, it was a love song at it’s heart, but Kree’s emotions were as raw and exposed as anything on her voice and, not only that, she somehow kept her composure and sang it beautifully even though she had me holding my breath and waiting for her voice to crack. I think Jimmy and the judges were right when they said that this round clearly went to Kree. If only she had performed this last, she would have been a lock for the finale. But there’s still three more performances to go…

Rating: 82%

Producer’s Choice

7. Angie Miller – “Maybe” (Emile Sandé) – Apparently tonight it Emile & Pink night? I’m guessing the judges, producers and Jimmy were listening to the same playlist in picking their songs, but I’m still a little ticked that Round 3 wasn’t “Contestant’s Choice”. I mean, isn’t that how artists thrive in the music industry? They pick great songs for themselves? Or am I mistaken? Anyway, Angie finally busted out the piano for this performance, which I think might have been enough to cover up the fact that her vocals weren’t stellar. I expected the judges to be lukewarm on it, but as if to solidify the fact that Angie was going to be there no matter what they did, they drove home the “growth” story that I’ve been anticipating all season: Angie’s no longer theatrical, Angie has genuine emotion, she isn’t staring into the camera, she knows how to sing and play piano, etc., etc. While I agree that Angie has grown since her audition, I don’t know if this was the right time to say that instead of saying what Mariah only implied: the key was a bit too high for her and she never fully got into the song. It almost felt like the song was slippery and she couldn’t quite grasp a hold of it, but whatever the case, the judges seemed to ignore that bit.

Rating: 48%

8. Kree Harrison – “Better Dig Two” (The Band Perry) – Okay, while I love Kree showing that she isn’t just a one-note balladeer but singing with a violin player and giving off a “Carrie at the CMAs” kind of vibe, I’m not sure this song was the right way to follow up her previous performance, especially given it’s morbid undertones. I think that, above all else, was why Kree felt slightly uncomfortable in it. My sister commented that she sang well but something was holding her back and I think it was simply the inability to connect emotionally with it. If she had sang something like her post-Top 10 announcement, “Evidence” by Susan Tedeschi, she might have a better time distancing herself from the emotions of her second song and hometown visit and really nailing the final performance to lock up a spot in the Top 2, but alas, I think she may have kept her underdog title given the lukewarm feedback from the judges as we went into the voting period.

Rating: 64%

credit: Fox/19 Entertainment

9. Candice Glover – “Somewhere” (Barbra Streisand) – Again, I get the idea behind picking this song for Candice. Candice has shown a flair for drama all season, but I don’t know if this was the perfect song to remind us of that, despite the judges high praise of this performance. It was almost like Lee DeWyze’s rendition of “Hallelujah” back in Season 9. It felt like a forced moment, a loud broadway song with a standing ovation despite the judges attempts to sabotage Candice two weeks prior. I still prefer Candice in more subtle tunes like “Love Song” and “You’ve Changed”, which felt fresh and new but also brilliant. This felt a little old and, like I said, loud to me. However, the judges gave the voters a good, blunt smack over the head but finally telling them to vote for the best straight-up singer in the competition. I’m still a little worried that that kind of feedback may lead to complacency among the voters, but I guess we’ll see come tonight.

Rating: 80%

In conclusion, I will say that tonight was a decent top three show. The judges felt, for the most part, fair, and each contestant gave us an emotional and a vocal reason to vote for them. It still feels like a close race, even if I think the judges spelled out the result for us, but they’ve been wrong many times (both this season and others) before…

Ideal Top 2: Can we just keep all three of them? I’m dying for Angie to sing her original, I think Kree seems like the most deserving of the three and Candice can sing her pants off, so… let’s just say the performance order was too confusing for the voters and make them all perform again next week.

Likely Top 2: Candice/Angie. My poor girl Kreedom.

Check your local listings and tune in tonight for the verdict on who’s in and who’s out of next week’s big finale, plus performances from Season 10 Runner-up Lauren Alaina, Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey performs her new single as written by R&B superstar, Miguel.

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  1. Why? | Lich Loons - May 9, 2013

    […] Idol Top 3 Performances: It’s A Sad, Sad Situation (thehudsucker.com) […]

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