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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 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 2 Performances: What’s Sweeter: Candi or Kreedom?

That question (and those nicknames) have haunted us all season. This was the finale I was rooting for and let me just say that if you haven’t seen the last 12 seasons of Idol, then I’m going to just lay it all out for you: tonight was the best finale we’ve ever had from a strict performance quality standpoint. Kree and Candice were both on their A-Game and gave six above average performances that had even the Kree fan in me questioning whether I really cared who won. They delivered in every way and I feel satisfied going into tomorrow knowing that, winner or runner-up, they’ll both be successful. But let’s talk performances, including a little guest performance from my favourite female from Canadian Idol who I’m proud to say is getting some mega-success in the US thanks to one Justin Bieber.

Round 1: Creator of American Idol, Simon Fuller’s, Choices

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1. Kree Harrison: “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan – Fuller clearly clued into to the fact that Kree’s strong suit is ballads with an emotional message to them and I love this song anyway, so when I read the spoilers, I was excited to hear Kree’s take on it. I thought she did a beautiful job. Her higher register gave my parents and I goosebumps and when she spread her arms, it’s almost like she opened up her voice and heart to let the audience in. It’s a hard thing to do to fill up that big stage and often, during the finales, the Top 2 feel really small up there, but with Kree just standing there, singing with minimal lighting, I thought it was a really effective way to start the show. Good job Simon, and great execution on Kree’s part.

Rating: 74%

credit: mjsbigblog.com

2. Candice Glover: “Chasing Pavements” by Adele – In contrast to Kree’s upper register, we got Candice’s rich lower register to kick off her night. Again, I thought Fuller hit the nail on the head and gave Candice a fabulous song to sink her teeth into. She’s got a bit of that Adele vibe to her style and the way she sings, but I didn’t realize that until she started and it was sort of jarring. Once I got over the comparisons though, I felt like Candice did the same as Kree and really filled up the stage. It had a bit more funk in it to start the show for Candice, but I think that just showed how different Kree and Candice really are. So much so that I, unlike the judges, had a really hard time choosing who’s performance I liked more at the end of round 1.

Rating: 72%

Winner of Round 1: Kree by a hair.

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Before Round 2, we finally got to hear the pop star, Carly Rae Jepsen, behind last summer’s smash hit “Call Me Maybe” debut her new song “Take A Picture”, which the Idol audience has been helping out with since the finals began. For the sake of full disclosure: I voted for Carly Rae during her time on Canadian Idol, back in Season 5. She took home 3rd Place, but she’s always been my favourite and I’m super happy to see her have the success she has, thanks to Justin Bieber. She’s a great songwriter though (see her pre-fame album: Tug of War for more), but this song wasn’t really a good example of that. It was catchy, but the lyrics were a bit flowery for my liking. Still, I love her and I can see it being on the radio all summer long again, so I’m happy for her for that. Plus the performance was cute and she sounded good and it was cool to see her on the Idol stage again.

Rating: 62% – mostly because I couldn’t tell if she was lip-syncing or it was just a really weird backtrack.

Round 2: The Top 2’s Idol Coronation Singles (Think Phillip Phillip’s “Home”)

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3. Kree Harrison: A track called “All Cried Out” – I know Kree & Candice had a hand in the writing process, but there was some magic in the air tonight during the Idol singles round. It’s like the people who write them finally got the hit to tailor them to the contestants’ strengths. Again we found Kree singing a pretty emotional ballad that picked up in the middle and let her let loose. I really liked the track and could definitely envision her singing it under the confetti tomorrow night, which is part of what I do when I first hear the Idol singles. Generally I get a vibe one way or the other which song has that moment built into it. Kree’s sounded like it would be a hit on country radio stations and beyond and I think that’s a great way for her to start her career, plus she sang it well, which is always an added bonus.

Rating: 73%

credit: mjsbigblog.com

4. Candice Glover: A song entitled “I Am Beautiful” – Candice’s track was very different from Kree’s, but Candice’s style is also very different. Again, I thought the song was successful at tapping into and showing us what kind of artist Candice wants to be. It had that catchy R&B beat in the background and a good message behind it, which Candice sold so well with her big voice. Like Kree’s, it also told Candice’s story of auditioning for a third time and gaining confidence as she went through the competition. I have to admit though, I also got really strong “post-winner announcement confetti shower” vibes from this song, which I don’t know if that’s a sign of good writing, a close race, or both. Either way, I’d buy both of these songs if Idol releases them for purchase tomorrow night.

Rating: 75%

Winner of Round 2: Candice by a hair. I think her song had the backbeat that would make it work on radio, but I’m glad both girls got standing O’s for this round.

Round 3: A Reprisal of the Contestants’ Favourite Performance of Theirs

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5. Kree Harrison: “Up To The Mountain” (by Patty Griffin, From Top 40 Week) – I was so glad Kree chose a song from further back. I think if she chose “See You Again” or “Here Comes Goodbye” (both great performances), they wouldn’t have had the same effect so soon after (see Katharine McPhee’s reprisal of “Over The Rainbow” back in Season 5). Besides that, Kree kicked it up a notch with a choir that took the song from the quiet introduction we got back in the Top 40 to Kree’s massive but soothing voice, to a satisfying conclusion to her consistent and great run on the show. At one point, when she hit the climax of the song, she just soared for one long moment that had me shaking my head the way she does when she sings. I see why she does it now. It’s like you get so wrapped up in something that you forget where you are and Kree did that for me tonight with this performance, it was beautiful and again, a great indicator of who she is. She’s more than just a country artist, like Keith said, she’s soul and gospel, blues and folk all rolled up into one sweet, lovely package.

Rating: 87%

credit: mjsbigblog.com

6. Candice Glover: “I (Who Have Nothing)” (by Tom Jones, From Top 10 Week) – The a cappella intro that Candice decided to give this song was sublime. It proved that her voice is all she needs to take a song to that place and I loved that. I was half wondering if she’d do the whole thing a cappella, which I’m not sure if that would have worked, but it would have been interesting to see (like Bo Bice’s “In A Dream” back in Season 4). That said, when the band kicked in, Candice kicked this performance into full throttle yet again and, like Kree, proved that it is possible for leftovers to taste better the second time around. The drama of the violins, her stare into the audience and the almost embarrassing honesty in her voice made this performance Candice’s best of the night. Candice closed the show on a high note, which is a good way for her to seize the power that performing second provides her, but whether it will be enough will all be determined tomorrow.

Rating: 87%

Winner of Round 3: It’s a tie folks. I thought both ladies gave me something to talk about after. They changed the song up just enough that it didn’t bore me, but not so much that it took me to a place I didn’t want to go.

So the question on everyone’s mind now is who is getting Phillip Phillip’s crown, sash and multi-million copy record sales come tomorrow? I’d say it’s almost too close to call. As I said, this is by far one of, if not the very best finale we’ve had in 12 seasons. Both girls were on their game and gave us 6 performances that, in my mind, prove they’re the unquestionable Top 2 of this season. Both of them made me want to cheer, both of them made me want to pick up my phone and vote for them and that’s why I don’t think anyone can say anything negative, regardless of who wins.

So who do I think it will be? My money’s on the person the Idol production team seems to want: Candice, even if I’d personally prefer Kree. Either way, it’s been a great season and I’ll be buying the records that all three of the Top 3 release. This isn’t my last Idol article this season – I’ll write one tomorrow or the next day following the big announcement of who wins, plus I’ll breakdown how the producers can improve Season 13, but it’s the last one I write before all the ducks line up and someone, either Ms. Glover or Ms. Harrison, joins the elite company of female Idol winners (and Grammy winners) Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Fantasia Barrino. Plus Jordin Sparks, who has won several awards and had several #1 singles herself. Not bad company to be in, I’d say.

credit: @angieai12

Tomorrow night, the finale starts at 8PM Eastern Time, but check your local listings. Rumoured performers are Adam Lambert, Cher, The Band Perry, PSY, Frankie Valli, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and judges Mariah Carey & Keith Urban. Plus the whole Top 10 is back and, tomorrow night, Angie is releasing “You Set Me Free” (the studio version of her gorgeous original song from Hollywood Week) on iTunes, so be sure to check that out.

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4 Comments on “Idol Top 2 Performances: What’s Sweeter: Candi or Kreedom?”

  1. Elizabeth Rosalyn May 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Definitely agree! That finale was one of the best in Idol history (and my favourite since Season 7!). Kree and Candice were incredible and both proved that they would be worthy winners.

    All season long, Kree has been my prediction for the win, but now my gut is telling me it’s Candice. Either way, I will be happy for them!

    • Andrew Rogers May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      I agree with you! I think Kree & Candice’s reprisals were very bold, much like Cook’s choice to do “The World I Know” instead of reprising Billie Jean. That kind of risk taking plus just flat out good singing made it really worth watching.

      I’m in the same vote as you. I’ve thought Kree sing the semi-finals, but Angie & Candice gave me my doubts in recent weeks and Candice was good last night that I wouldn’t be surprised if she won. Either way, I’m happy we got such a great Top 3 and that all of them will release amazing albums, I’m sure of it!

  2. Jam n Bop June 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Angie should have won. It’s sad to see both of these ladies failed to make an impact. Proof of that is Candice’s single was the lowest charting AI coronation song. There’s even some speculation that Angie’s single outsold it but her song is not allowed to chart since it’s under AI (just like the other songs all of the contestants performed on Idol)

    • Andrew Rogers June 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

      I, personally, love all three of them. And I don’t think it’s Kree or Candice’s fault that they are “failing to make an impact”. I think it’s a little unfair to judge them on their first singles. Neither single was particularly good and neither of them had a hand in writing them the way Angie did with hers. Did Angie’s sell more? We’ll never know. Would she have been a better winner for the franchise? Again, who knows. Some say that Chris Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson would have been better winners, but they found success in other ways. I think Kree and Candice need time to grow into their own. The country scene, in particular, takes a while to break into, but now that Kree has performed at the Opry, she’ll start getting some recognition and producers, writers, etc. will want to work with her. Same with Candice. I can’t see anyone ignoring a talent like hers. Give them time. Phil had a lucky break with the Olympics, maybe they will too.

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