"American Idol" 2013: Top 3 Perform


Ryan Seacrest started off the show by making a back-handed compliment to Mariah Carey about “not eating any carbs this week.” What an asshole.

We had a three-round fight between our Final 3, Angie Miller, Candice Glover, and Kree Harrison. Round 1: Jimmy Iovine Pick. Round 2: Judges Pick. Round 3: Idol Production Pick.

For Kree Harrison Jimmy went with Pink’s “Perfect.” Kree put a country spin on the song, as you might have assumed. But her voice sounded better than it has in weeks. Kree seemed to be alive again. I don’t know if she was homesick and the home visits fixed that, or what, but there was a noticeable change for the better over the past few weeks. A good, strong vocal from her. Keith Urban said that the song just proved that no matter what Kree sings, it’s always country. And that’s a good thing. NickiMinaj said that the song felt very short, but that it seemed like a return to the easygoing Kree form. Randy Jackson didn’t really like the song choice, and felt that it sounded flat to him. I didn’t hear that, sorry. Mariah Carey blathered about being able to pick your own songs. That wasn’t the assignment, Mariah.

Candice Glover was given U2’s “One” for her Jimmy Pick. I worried this might be too similar to Mary J. Blige’s version of the song, but it wasn’t. It was simply Candice being freaking amazing, like she always is. She is so, so good ��" although Nicki is right, these songs are super short tonight. Nicki thought Candice did the song justice, and that it didn’t feel like “American Idol,” it felt like a Candice concert. Randy did his tiresome “in it to win it” thing. LORD. Mariah and Keith had nothing but praise, but Ryan had an interesting bit of info: Candice had never heard any version of the song prior to this week. Child, how do you LIVE?!

Angie Miller’s Jimmy pick was Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.” That is unexpected. It’s a pretty song, and is right in Angie’s range. But it’s also fairly repetitive. Angie started to come to life on the “It’s sad/so sad” segment, and from there it built nicely. But the beginning was much too sleepy at this point. She also slipped off the pitch here and there, too. Randy brought up the fact that that was a natural song for Angie to perform at the piano, obviously hinting that he would have preferred that she did. He praised her restraint, and her emotional investment in the verse. Mariah really liked the performance, saying that the mic stand “grounded” her. Keith actually encouraged her to hold back even more, because “you can break people’s hearts singing gently.” Nicki called it a stellar vocal, but it didn’t hit her emotionally as hard as she would have liked.

Round 2, Judges’ Pick, saw Candice getting “Next to Me” by EmelieSande. Not sure about this song choice. I don’t feel like it really showcases the full power of Candice’s voice. It’s contemporary, which is good, but I don’t think that’s going to pull any votes Candice’s way. Mariah said that it seemed like Candice got reenergized by her home visit. I suspect that’s true for all of the contestants at this stage. Keith spoke to Candice’s increased confidence over the course of the season, which is so true. Nicki nearly broke into tears ��" and nearly caused Candice to fall into her own ��" in a very real, emotional moment. Randy said that the song choice proved that Candice can be a current star, and that’s seriously the only reason they picked that. Nicki jumped back in at the end to talk about how Candice’s confidence on the stage will inspire women all over the world. I hope that is true. She is divine.

Angie’s hipster brother is growing a “play-off beard” while his sister is still in the running. Her Judges’ Pick was “Try” by Pink. Again Angie was performing away from the piano. I honestly believe the on-piano/off-piano stuff was all wisely calculated on Angie’s part. If she’d been doing it the whole time the judges (and America) would have grown bored. Making us wait until the last minute made it seem like she was listening to feedback and giving us what we want. Smart. Angie is not particularly believable in these big work-the-stage anthems, and again she had some pitch issues. Keith said she’s never looked more comfortable on the stage. I must have been watching something different; she seemed awkward and trying too hard to me. Randy: in it to win it. I’m in it to punch him in the face. Mariah called Angie’s homecoming visit very “homecoming queen,” and I think that was more true than Mariah even knows, and touched upon some of the…less-than-authentic notes I was picking up throughout the footage.

Kree’s Judges Pick was “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts. I’m not familiar with the original, but it seemed like Kree was wrestling with the rhythms early in the song, and there’s no question that she slid off the pitch here and there. I suspect this song is all about storytelling, and given how much cutting was required to fit it into a very small time frame, I don’t think it did Kree any favors. Nicki said that you cannot deny the power of a genuine emotional trigger, which Kree clearly got from her home visit. No question about that. She also told Kree that she’s so proud of her, and that her parents would be too. Nicki called it one of her best performances to date, and that is patently false. Kree has done much, much better on this show. Randy called it one of the best F3 “Idol” has ever had. I think there is probably some truth to that. All the judges talked about how heartbreaking Kree’s home visit was, with the return to her late parents’ house. That felt very real to me, and that may very well push her to the finale more than her vocal.

Round 3: “Idol” production picks. For Angie they did “Maybe” by Emilie Sande. OK, what is going on with the song choices tonight Two Pink and two Emilie Sande? She’s barely even broken on to the mainstream. My Spidey sense says that somebody involved in this show has some financial standing in her career. That said, the song was good, Angie was at the piano, and she delivered her best performance of the night. I’m telling you, this girl knows exactly what she’s doing. Randy said that “tonight, [Angie] became a complete performer.” Whatever that means. Mariah said that Angie was Angie, she was there, and she was present. Nicki talked about Angie’s growth over the course of the competition. I would disagree. I think Angie came in strong, dipped in the middle, and came back in the past few weeks. And again, I think much of that was deliberate, because I think she’s quite savvy.

For Kree, the “Idol” team picked The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two.” Uh, given the grim discussion of Kree’s parents’ deaths in the last segment, this seemed to be in poor taste. The song was also a big too low in the first section. I also didn’t think that Kree brought the swagger needed to really “sell” this number. It got better as it went along, but it never became great. Mariah said that “we saw the wild side of Kree!” It…wasn’t that wild, dear. Keith said that he likes that song, but doesn’t like it for Kree. Well, she didn’t pick it. So that’s not on her. Nicki said that whoever picked that song for her should be stoned. That seems a bit much, but there you have it.

For her producers’ pick, Candice got “Somewhere” from “West Side Story.” That’s a completely bizarre choice, and not even remotely contemporary. That said, Candice has historically shined on these big belt-y numbers. And girl did it again tonight. Not only was the vocal absolutely flawless, but Candice was strong and assured on the stage ��" she HAS TO BE IN THE FINAL. SHE HAS TO BE. This was her “Summertime.” This was her Moment. (She’s had a few this season, honestly.) Keith said, “If you want to vote for Candice dial the number on your screen. If you don’t want to vote for Candice, call your doctor, because you don’t have a pulse.” HA! Nicki said, “See you next week.” Let’s hope. Randy called it a singing lesson.

Recap:Kree was fine on the first number, overpraised on the second, and did the best she could on an absolutely terrible song choice for her on the third. Candice was spectacular on the first, did the best she could with an underwhelming choice for the second, and transcendent on the third. Angie was better than I remembered on the first one, overpraised on the second, and very good on the third.

Prediction: I think Kree is very talented and lovely, but personally I think Candice and Angie should be in the finale. If Kree squeaks in then I hope Angie is the one who loses her spot, because Candice has to be in the finale.