As I said last week, this is the Top 3 I wanted. I’d be happy if any one of them won in the end. That said, I don’t think I had clued in to the reality that, holy heck, one of them has to go home before the finale and, not only that, it could literally be any of them. That’s what made this night so hard, I was bracing myself for the predictable result: that my favourite of the three, Kree, would to go home, but I knew that with her story about her parents and the southern vote behind her, it could go any which way. So before I tell you the results, let’s talk about the “performances” (I use that word loosely and in quotations because 3 of the 4 made me cringe):
1. The Top 3 Girls: “Who Says” (by Selena Gomez) – What in the what was Nigel thinking making three of the most talented women we’ve ever had sing a repetitive, monotone pop song like this? I get that they’re trying to make them “current”, but this is not the way to do it. People talk about good performances and good song choices, not awful ones. Not only that, but it sounded like their microphones were off for the first half of the performance, but maybe that’s a good thing. Please let the duet in the finale be a more carefully selected song than this (preferably Two Black Cadillacs by Carrie Underwood because how awesome would that be given the Top 2 we have? But I’m getting ahead of myself…)
2. Lauren Alaina: “Barefoot & Buckwild” – Thank you, Ryan, for reading my mind and asking Lauren immediately after her performance if 18 is old enough to be getting “buckwild”. I felt like I needed a shower after seeing the girl who’s young enough to be my little sister sing a song that was a little old for her. She also had a few sound mixing problems, but I don’t think even those could have saved the heebie-jeebies I got from this performance. I don’t think it was a bad song by any means, but might have been more suited in the hands of Kellie Pickler or someone a little older. Next time, Lauren, sell your over-sexualized song to someone else and stick to the cute songs about being compared to fruit.
3. Mariah Carey: “Beautiful” (feat. Miguel) – I’ll start by saying that I love Miguel’s flair for modern, R&B sounding tunes. I’m kind of rooting for him to write with Candice after this season is done. Plus he’s a handsome guy, so I’m fully expecting him to continuing climbing the charts. That being said, I actually found myself agreeing with my 50-something mother when she said that this video felt more like softcore pornography, as it focused on a scantly-clad Mariah Carey on the back of a motorcycle or in (what I can only assume was) Miguel’s garage. The song was decent, but I don’t know if I’d peg it as an instant hit. Maybe Mariah is more hoping that her name and Miguel’s name will sell it to two generations, and then release a catchier follow-up single. We’ll see.
4. Alicia Keys: “Tears Always Win” – Finally a song worth listening to. Alicia Keys is a great piano player but her vocals and her songwriting abilities kind of vary from song to song. I thought this song was decent, if a little midtempo for a single, but the performance was cool and her vocals were generally on. Still, in comparison to the last three performances, the talented Miss Keys was a welcome break in talent and good reminder of what “current” really is. Holy heck, maybe these girls can succeed just by staying true to their R&B, Country or Pop-Rock roots… you don’t say.
And then it was time for results, Ryan had recapped the previous nights performances in three pieces, with Jimmy declaring Angie the winner of Round 1 with her cover of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. Then he declared the combo of Kree’s video and Rascal Flatt’s song “Here Comes Goodbye” the winner of Round 2 and, obviously, Candice swept Round 3 with her “Somewhere” cover from West Side Story, with Jimmy declaring it “her big moment”. After seeing Kree get flack for her first and third performances, while Angie and Candice got praise for all three, I was sure her time was up. I said to my mom that Candice would likely go through first because there was little to no suspense about that, given her performance at the end of the night on Wednesday. Naturally, Ryan sent her through then cut to commercial.
After commercial, Angie and Kree huddled close at centre stage as Ryan read the final results. I literally had my hands around my head because I was so unprepared for this moment. I think I had just imagined the competition stopping once I got my dream Top 3 and I was so prepared for Kree going home, that when Ryan read that Kree was through to the finale and Angie was the one going home, I literally let out a loud “WHAT?”. Angie’s teary, unfinished cover of Colton Dixon’s “Never Gone” had me crying and also just staring at the screen in shock. I had no doubts that based straight up on consistency, Kree and Candice were the Top 2, but I really thought Angie was a lock for the finale and a sure bet to win if she got there because she’d sing her original song and take it all. Ideally, I think, I would have had Angie and Kree in an epic country versus pop showdown. I love Candice, but I think everyone in the industry is already lining up to sign her to their label. I feel like Angie wanted to win more than anything and that is what broke my heart. I’m still, actually, kind of in shock that Kree made it, but I did, at the beginning of the season, place all my money on her to win. So we’ll see if that prediction turns out right.
And now, it’s time to weigh the odds of the final two singing the final song on Thursday night under the confetti. I’m simply going to list reasons why they might when and let you decide which you believe. It’s important to remember that, in years past, often the performances on finale night don’t really make much of a difference in voting. David Cook got major flack from the judges and ended up winning by 12 million votes. Lee DeWyze tanked on finale night and still took home the title. There are a lot of theories and myths about who wins and how, and I’ll even put those and let you speculate.
Why Kree might win:
- She’s a country singer from Texas. I wouldn’t want to mess with that fanbase. Just ask Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery, who were both at the top of the voting pack all season. That said, Candice is from the Carolinas, which has seen it’s share of finale members too.
- The producers have officially released her secret weapon: her sob story about her parents. They were smart to save it to the end of the season, so people don’t hold it against her and if the rumours are true that the Top 2’s Idol singles might be songs they had a hand in writing, Kree might be singing the song she wrote about her parents a few years back. Cue the tears, and the confetti.
- The other secret weapon in Kree’s pocket: Her guitar. Kree can play guitar and has yet to do so. God knows America loves a good, wholesome, religious white kid who can play guitar and Kree has all that and a bag of chips (her warm personality and buttery voice), so we’ll see if the producers let her bust the guitar out during her original song. If so, we might be in for a bit of a shake up.
- Nigel reveal a bit more of the positioning this season but, perhaps smartly, I don’t know if that helps us much. Candice was in the bottom 2 more recently (Top 4, Week 1 with Amber) but that might give her a fanbase more reason to vote for her. Not only that, but Kree was in the Top 3 one time more than Candice. We also don’t know if Kree was in the Bottom 2 during Top 4, Week 2 so… maybe a slight edge to Kree, maybe not.
- In years past, the winner has always been, alphabetically, second. (Justin -> Kelly, Clay -> Ruben, Diana -> Fantasia, Bo -> Carrie, Katharine -> Taylor, Blake -> Jordin, David A. -> David C., Adam -> Kris, Crystal -> Lee, Lauren -> Scotty, Jessica -> Phil) If this superstition holds true, Kree will win.
- In years past, the winner (except in Season 5) has always had a doubled letter somewhere in their name (KeLLy Clarkson, Ruben StuDDard, Fantasia BaRRino, CaRRie UnderwOOd, Jordin BriaNNa Sparks, David COOk, Kris ALLen, LEE DeWyze, ScoTTy McCrEEry, PhiLLip PhiLLips). If this holds true, KrEE HaRRison will win.
- My boyfriend later corrected me on this one: Candice’s middle name is RickeLLe. Guess this one doesn’t go in Kree’s favour!
Why Candice might win:
- She’s got the momentum. Whereas Kree’s momentum is on the down swing, Candice’s is on the upswing, just like Lee and Phil’s were going into the finale. A few good performances in the week’s leading up to the finale will negate any missteps in the finale…
- Part of the finale is reprising a performance. Candice has Love Song, I (Who Have Nothing), You’ve Changed, Somewhere… etc, up her sleeve. Kree is going to have a hard time finding a performance that can one-up those performances.
- Kree won the coin toss but chose to go first rather than second (consider my mind boggled – why wouldn’t you want to be the last thing people see before voting?). In season’s past, only 4 of the 11 winners have won going first (Ruben, David Cook, Lee and Scotty). I’d say that gives Candice a bit of an edge. Oh, not to mention that the three times Candice went last, she had show stopping performances (Ordinary People, Love Song and Somewhere). Yeah, I’d be scared.
- I think, after “Somewhere”, most viewers knew Candice was a lock for the finale, so Kree might get the “blame” for Angie going home and, therefore, Angie’s fans may jump ship and vote for Candice to win. Not only that, but Candice went on twitter right afterwards and announced that she loved Angie and would miss her. Smart move, Miss Glover.
- The producers might be on Candice’s side. What’s better than a female winner after 5 seasons in a row of White Guys With Guitar? A black female winner. Candice has been getting the “comeback kid” edit lately from the judges (which, hello? Randy, you cut her in the first place, but I digress) – anyway, I think this plot device plus their desire to have a winner like her might be enough to push her over the edge, or it’ll backfire as it has in season’s past.
- The Vegas odds slightly favour Candice at this point: A $100 bet would provide you with a $180 return, max, if she wins. If Kree wins, a $100 bet would get you $200 dollars max, which means she’s a bit more of a stretch to win. We’ll see if that says anything about the outcome, because I’m sure betting on Kris Allen would have provided a better return over Adam Lambert and yet…
Well, that’s all I got for you this week. I’ll make my final prediction after next week’s performances and we’ll see if it lines up with my beginning of the season underdog pick of Kree. Plus, after the finale we’ll talk how they can improve Season 13, including the shocking news about the judging panel shakeup!