I’m thrilled with the job American Idol voters have done selecting Season 12′s Top 3.
I’d be more thrilled if I were convinced Idol’s attempt to manipulate the outcome of Season 12 ended with Amber Holcomb’s elimination.
Remember, we’re just two weeks removed from what had to go down as one of the most manipulative nights on American Idol ever.
And, tonight, all three song choices for each contestant are in the show’s hands.
Angie Miller, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison will sing one song picked by producers, one selected by Jimmy Iovine, the other by the Idol judges.
In the past, that’s led to some big-time manipulation.
Remember Season 9, when Crystal Bowersox was given “Maybe I’m Amazed” so she could sing “Baby, I’m a man” over and over?
Remember Season 10, when Haley Reinhart was given Alanis Morissette’s very non-melodic “You Oughta Know,” complete with first-verse lyrics too R-rated for Idol, so that they had to be changed to something that made no sense?
I’d be far more thrilled if the contestants were selecting all three of their songs tonight so their fate would be in their hands and the voters’ hands alone.
Jimmy Iovine’s selections
Kree Harrison: She’ll sing “Perfect,” by Pink, picked by Jimmy Iovine. Hmm, right off the bat we start off with a song I never would have picked for Kree. Is there something wrong with Kree’s voice? She went unusually off key on several of those notes, and the chorus never soared the way it should have. Keith likes the fact that Kree put a country touch on the song. Nicki wonders if Kree’s heels held her back. Randy didn’t love that song for her. Hmm, she didn’t pick it, did she Randy? He says the performance lacked pizzazz, and on that point, he’s right. Mariah manages to make the critique all about her. Grade: C+
Candice Glover: Jimmy has given her U2′s “One.” Another interesting choice. But to borrow one of Randy’s favorite sayings, Candice can sing the phone book, so it really doesn’t matter. Again, not a song I would have picked for Candice, but she did a better job of making it work than Kree did. She certainly showed off that big voice of hers. Occasionally, it went a little sharp, but all in all, a very nice performance. Apparently, that was just a Mary J Blige version of the song. Nicki loved Candice’s version. Randy said the third time on the show is going to be a charm for Candice. Rave reviews all around for Candice. Grade: B
Angie Miller: Jimmy has given her “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.” Somewhat surprised she’s not behind the piano. She’s been given the least imaginative song choice, right? And she probably should have sat behind her piano, because this is a touch on the boring side, she went sharp in a couple of places and it wasn’t until the final 20 seconds or so that she was able to do much with the song. I’d put that squarely between the performances by Candice and Kree. Randy really liked it, even though she wasn’t at the piano. Mariah called it one of Angie’s best performances. Keith suggested she might have been able to hold back even more. Grade: B–
Jimmy gives round one to Angie, saying Candice missed out on a couple of moments. I give round one to Candice by a narrow margin.
Candice Glover: She’ll sing “Next to Me” by Emile Sande. Nice playful sorta song for Candice. Like the fact that they’ve given her two upbeat songs to sing back to back. Probably setting us up for a ballad in round three. Candice seemed a little more restrained than normal on that. She certainly didn’t go crazy on it the same way she did on her first song. But it’s another solid performance from a gal who belongs in the Idol finals. Keith loved the beginning and ending of the performance. Nicki’s on the verge of tears and just gets out “congratulations.” Randy says the judges picked the song so Candice could show how she can be relevant today. Grade: B
Angie Miller: She’ll sing Pink’s “Try.” Challenging song. Also, a great song choice, that could prove why Angie is the most marketable singer left in the competition. She looks great and she attacked that song and found her inner rocker. That was the best performance of the night so far. By far. Forget the piano. She looked absolutely at home stalking around that stage. Randy says she sounded A-Grade: Amazing on it. Nicki says she looks like Miley Cyrus. One thing: She sings oh, so much better. Well-deserved compliments all around for that one. Grade: A
Kree Harrison: After that homecoming clip, she’s asked to sing Rascal Flatts’ “Here Comes Goodbye.” Sorry, but Kree’s vocals just seem a little off tonight, which is unusual, because she’s usually pitch perfect. There were several moments where that vocal went slightly astray. Of course, it has to be tough to sing a sad song after viewing that clip. Nicki calls it one of her best performances because she felt every word. Randy calls it unbelievably beautiful and brilliant. Keith, in tears, says she “felt it just right.” Grade: B–
I give round two to Angie, by a larger margin than Candice won round one. Jimmy gives that round to Kree. Really disagree.
Angie Miller: They’ve given her “Maybe” by Emile Sande. Yep, another Emile song. And this time, Angie is behind her piano. Gotta confess, I’m not familiar with this tune. But, after a very nice opening, it seemed to me as though Angie oversang it just a bit. As though she was a little too keyed up from the last performance. But no one can complain that she was too focused on the camera that time around. She turned in an impassioned performance. And the judges loved her again. Keith suggested, she’s done so well tonight, she should try singing under the piano next week. Grade: B
Kree Harrison: Now Kree gets to go upbeat with “Better Dig Two.” This was probably the best pick all night in terms of matching singer with song, and Kree turned in her best vocal of the night. Problem is, Mariah calls it the “wild side of Kree,” but Kree didn’t really go wild. Kimberly Perry would have gone wild on that song. Kree never seems to totally cut loose on stage. Nicki says whoever picked the song should have been stoned. Hmm, none of them liked that song choice. So the show blew two of Kree’s three choices? I thought the song choice was fine. I thought the execution, from a performance standpoint, was too laid back. Grade: B–
Candice Glover: She’ll close the show with “Somewhere” from West Side Story. The fact that they’ve saved this until the end indicates they think it’s going to be something special. Figured they’d set Candice up with two fast songs, then deliver the ballad. Hmm, don’t like the song choice. Somehow, I think it was designed as the performance that would propel Candice into the finals. That might very well happen. But I think they could have picked a better song to do it with. That said, Candice sang the heck out of it. That ending was brilliant. Randy calls it one of the great vocals in Idol history. Nicki proclaims she’ll be in the finals. Keith suggested anyone who doesn’t want to vote for Candice should see a doctor. He’d probably suggest I call a doctor, because I preferred Angie’s “Try” as the performance I’d rather hear again. Still that was a superb vocal. Grade: A–
Like Jimmy, I’d give round three to Candice Glover.