[REVIEW] ‘American Idol’ Season 12 x Finale

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With last week’s shocking elimination of Angie Miller, viewers went into the finale with a clear idea of who the winner would be. The top two performances featured three songs – one chosen by ‘American Idol’ creator Simon Fuller, the song that will become their first single, and the contestant’s favorite song of the season. The unnecessarily drawn out finale show also features a piss poor performance from Carly Rae Jepsen, who sounds so bad that Lazaro Arbos (drunk and high) could outsing her. All four of the judges announced they were leaving after this season, leaving America’s top reality show in serious jeopardy.


ROUND ONE – SIMON FULLER’S CHOICE
Kree Harrison – Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”
Grade: B+
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Kree opens the night singing the Sarah McLachlan classic “Angel”. She starts with the touching verses, letting each word pour through her fans’ hearts. The guitar gives the song a bit of a #countrytwang, but Kree’s soft notes aren’t as perfect as they should be for a top two ‘Idol’ finale. She does a good job overall, but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough at this stage in the competition.


Candice Glover – Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”
Grade: B
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Candice and Adele together are such the perfect match, although Candy’s debut album won’t sound anything like the multiple-Grammy winner. The intro verse finds Candice in her low, deep register – one that isn’t exactly pleasant to the ears. She’s at her best when the energy is turned up and the notes go beyond her competitors. She pulls it up to normal standards towards the end, but the performance (and song choice) was overall flat for an ‘Idol’ finalist.


Randy and Mariah on Round One: Mariah praises the level of talent during season 12. Randy thought the songs weren’t the best choices, but gives the slight edge to Candice.


ROUND TWO – IDOL’S FIRST SINGLE
Candice Glover – “I Am Beautiful”
Grade: A-
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Candice’s debut single is an R&B ballad that sounds like Claude Kelly had an influence in its production. The violin arrangement sounds like it’s #britinfluenced and the high notes during the chorus screams Kelly Clarkson. While her song is somewhat underwhelming in terms of new material, the inspirational nature of it allows Candice to shine solely through her voice. She takes a boring song and makes it become exactly what the subject matter is about – beautiful.


Kree Harrison – “All Cried Out”
Grade: B-
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As her first single, Kree goes for another somber, sleepy vocal. Part of her mainstream introduction, “All Cried Out” comes off as a leftover Lauren Alaina song than a professional recording. The notes are all over the place, and seemingly never make their way into the right melody. In an effort for more votes, Kree takes the last few notes to get emotional, but also forgets that she still has another song to sing.


Keith and Nicki on Round Two: Nicki praises Kree’s composure throughout her performance, but Keith feels that Candice’s song “fits her like a Glover”.


ROUND THREE – FAVORITE SEASON PERFORMANCE
Candice Glover – Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing)” – Top 10 Week
Grade: A
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Starting off a capella, Candice’s long hair and dramatic smoke staging is one of the penultimate performances of season 12. This song sounds like it was written for her. Every note is beyond convincing and puts chills in your body. There’s no doubt that Candice is one of the best singers of the competition (besides Angie), but her rendition of “I (Who Have Nothing)” was simply earth shattering.


Quotes:
“That performance was just like a planet exploding.” (Keith Urban)
“Did your legs make their first debut on ‘Idol’ for the first time ever?” (Nicki Minaj)
“You just shot this night to a whole different level.” (Randy Jackson)
“You have the innate ability to turn any song into a vehicle for your amazing voice.” (Mariah Carey)


Kree Harrison – Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain (MLK Song)” – Vegas Round
Grade: A-
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Kree’s “Up To The Mountain” is without question my favorite performance of hers from the season. The redux version of Kree’s classic vocal is aided by a 20-piece choir and comes off much more soulful than her two previous country performances. Wearing a beautiful red dress and standing on a spotlight, Kree hits every note possible and is finally in her comfort zone.


Quotes:
“It’s the spirituality and your soulfulness that you tap into that makes this one a winner” (Keith Urban)
“I loved this performance more than your single choice because it shows off the richness in your voice.” (Nicki Minaj)
“Yo, Kree, that right there was a winning season performance.” (Randy Jackson)
“I did love the subtleties you gave on your first two performances, but you gave me lots of power with round three.” (Mariah Carey)


FINALE PERFORMANCES
Candice Glover and Jennifer Hudson – Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable”
Grade: A
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Candice and Jennifer sound incredibly perfect together – the only way to describe it. Even though the two are oversingers to the max, it doesn’t matter on the Natalie Cole cover. Although Jennifer tried to outsing her at parts, this should be put on iTunes after the show for purchase immediately.


Angie Miller and Adam Lambert – David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium”/Angie Miller and Jessie J – “Domino”
Grade: A
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Adam had a lyrical snafu during the second verse, but pulled it together quick enough to deliver a strong vocal alongside finalist Angie. Adam introduces Jessie and she turns up he vocals a few notches with her ‘Idol’ on stage to sing the Katy Perry-written “Domino” to perfection. The performance ends with Jessie J offering Angie a spot to open for her on the UK leg of her upcoming tour.



Kree Harrison, Keith Urban, Randy Jackson, and Travis Barker – “Where The Blacktop Ends”
Grade: A-
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Kree seems like she’s outshadowed by the double guitar influence, but Travis Barker on the drums really brings out her country vocal. The uptempo number works very well for her and makes her look like a true ‘Idol’ for the first time in several weeks.


Janelle Arthur and The Band Perry – “Done”
Grade: B+
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Lead singer Kimberly Perry trades vocal barbs with Janelle Arthur in a true showdown. The band’s violinist adds extra flair to an overly energetic country performance. If Janelle would’ve sung like this during her stint on season twelve, she would’ve been in the finale alongside Candice.


Amber Holcomb and Emeli Sande – “Next To Me”
Grade: B
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Although the two don’t mesh well together vocally, they both delivered solid performances and would make a great duet on another song. Emeli looks better than I’ve ever seen her look before – possible because of her stateside television debut.


Frankie Valli and Season 12 Guys – Frankie Valli Medley
Grade: B
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The performance was filled with lots of lipsynching until legend Frankie comes out to perform a medley of hits with the ‘Idol’ guys. His voice sounds untethered as he goes through a medley of his hits with ease, making each of the guys look like the amateurs they really are.


Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey Medley
Grade: B-
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Again, with the lipsynching! Did no one want to sing live tonight? Kudos to Randy for playing the guitar on his last night on the show. She ends the medley with a quick verse from “#Beautiful” without Miguel and delivers the worst lipsynching I’ve ever heard in my life.


Season 12 Contestants – The Wanted’s “Glad You Came”
Grade: C-
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Lipsynching (again!) shouldn’t be done on a show like this, but Burnell’s high note gives a great closing to a mostly awful performance. The twelve of them sound great together, but unfortunately ‘Idol’ doesn’t equate to ‘Glee’.


Winner: Candice Glover
Coronation Song: “I Am Beautiful”
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They have got to stop making contestants sing after they’ve won/been nominated for elimination. I would’ve been happy either way, but at least with Candice winning, there’s a bit more #diversity in the hall of fame of ‘Idol’ winners.

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