Last night the Top Three got to make their heartfelt visits home (whereas the 4th place finisher Amber just got to, you know, go home). But I will make a confession: I got home late last night, and I skipped over all the heart string pulling and went right to where I wanted my heart strings pulled...the singing.
So how'd that work out for me? Let's dig in.
There were three rounds last night...Round One was Jimmy Iovine's pick; Round Two was the Judges' Pick, and Round Three was the Producers' Pick (Does that mean Nigel?)
Here's how they did:
1. Jimmy's Pick: "Perfect" by P!nk
My viewing companion said it seemed like Kree was "phoning it in" on this one. It's like he finally noticed that whole blank stare I've been complaining about all season. My bigger problem was that I think she missed the heart of what this song is about. P!nk is singing about the quirky, the geeky, the misfits and outcasts, the nitty-gritty losers, if we believe her other songs. Kree's version sounded more like she was talking about being pageant perfect, not quirky perfect. Like she was a mom singing to her daughter on Toddlers & Tiaras, the Musical! (Yeah, don't laugh, it's coming...) It didn't feel anthemic and cathartic. It felt like a Celine Dion song, not a P!nk song.
2. Judges' Pick: "Here Comes Goodbye" by Rascal Flatts
But then, just when I was writing Kree off altogether, she has her best performance ever perhaps. Because she had some feeling. A direct emotional connection. Great song choice for her...even if played off knowing she has lost both her parents. I guess if that's what it takes, she should always sing song about goodbyes.
3. Producers' Pick: "Better Dig Two" by The Band Perry
Boring song, performed boringly. That violinist had more passion than she did. Although my viewing companion thought that wasn't passion, it was just hair in the guy's face. It was a great vocal, because she has pipes, but it left me cold.
Bottom line: The only think in Kree's favor is that she's the only country artist, and we know the audiences of these shows love country artists. It could be enough to pull her through to the finale, even if it shouldn't
1. Jimmy's Pick: "One" by U2
Knowing there's an awesome Mary J Blige version out there sets expectations really high. Usually Candice does her own thing with her song choices, but it sounded too much like she was imitating Mary, and I usually never say that about her (that she's imitating anything). It was fine but did not blow me away...I was missing the foundation of a male voice singing the melody while Candice riffed on harmony, too.
2. Judges' pick: "Next To Me" by Emeli Sande
This started with a down-tempo intro. Which could have been interesting if they stuck with it. they didn't; they transitioned into more of a stomp beat for the rest of it. Candice displayed her effortless ability to sing at any part of her range. Which left Nikki so speechless she couldn't say she was speechless, or say "my darling" in a fake British accent. So, you gotta like that about Candice's performance!
3. Producers' Pick: "Somewhere" by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim from West Side Story
OK, I'm just gonna buck the trend and say this left me feeling meh. For the first time ever I felt like Candice was just showboating. Harry Connick Jr and I were both very stressed out by the need to play with a nearly perfect melody. For no good reason. And I'm so sorry, but breathing between the last "some" and "where" was just a cardinal sin. There were many other places where she was sustaining notes just fine, and those were her best moments. But most of this made this her worst performance to me. Not to mention the cheesy arrangement. I know, I know, this was the Barbra Streisand approach, and Babs had a big hit with it. A big hit that I loathed.
Bottom line: bad timing to have your worst outing of the season, Candice. And she might pay for it. I think she is BY FAR the best of these three. But that is not who always wins, especially if they drop off at the end not charge forward.
1. Jimmy's Pick: "Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word" by Elton John
That was a bit one-level. She wasn't specific. It was generally angsty, but not specifically angsty about or to anyone. At least the mic stand helped prevent pageant hands. But Keith was right about holding back vocally and not showing us every big note you can sign every single time.
2. Judges' Pick: "Try" by P!nk
Back to pageant. With her pony prance and her trying to rock out. Look, vocally, like any of these other two, she really has the goods. I just don't find her to be authentic except when (I hate to repeat the cliche) she's sitting at that piano!
3. Producers' Pick: "Maybe" by Emeli Sande
This sounded nice, no doubt. But I can't say it moved me particularly.
Bottom line: My final thoughts on Angie to date are that she has a lovely lovely voice, but she needs seasoning. She's not an old soul. She's not a raw nerve. She's practiced and perfect and developing nicely, but she's not done cooking yet. But, she still will probably win.
To me the Top Two and finale contestants should most definitely be Candice and Angie. But I have a sinking feeling Candice may be going home instead of Kree, which makes me very sad.
But what do you think?
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