American Idol 12: Two For The Money (Finale: Part 1)

It’s the most economical show of the series – one hour.  Six songs.  Two singers.  One title.

And I can’t give you a favorite, either.  There’s really nothing to separate Candice and Kree at this point, so tonight’s show means something for once… as tradition dictates, we’re at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, and…

THIS! … is American Idol!

We start with a montage intermingling Kree’s journey (including early footage from the Rosie O’Donnell Show) with Candice’s… and cue the titles.

Nice to see Keith dressed up for the final – looks like a clean T-shirt tonight…

Round One – Simon Fuller’s Choice

Kree won the coin toss and elected to kick off…

Kree Harrison
”Angel” (Sarah McLachlan)
This is very much a singer’s song – sparse arrangement putting the focus on the voice.   It’s also one we’ve heard incessantly on those charity commercials, so Kree couldn’t afford to do a karaoke version… to her credit, she didn’t.  She did what she could to make it her own within the song’s limits, and I think she did a good job of it.  But it’s lacking a bit of power, making a slow start…

Which may mean she was spared by the BREAK!!! – if Candice had come right out and blown her first song away, it might’ve swung the finale early.

Candice Glover
”Chasing Pavements” (Adele)

Well, Fuller didn’t give Candice much of an advantage – there is an Adele backlash among some voters… but Candice didn’t fall victim to the usual blunder, trying to tackle Adele by mimicking Adele.  It was definitely Candice’s version.  And she seemed a little more connected to the song, so…

Round One: Candice, slightly.

BREAK!!! Just in time as Seacrest has to stomp on Randy and Mariah to get them to shut up… of course, the first of what will be many shots at Randy’s departure came here as well…

Before we get back to competition, it’s Carly Rae Jepsen’s sponsored “Perfect Harmony” performance, her new single “Take A Picture”.   I have just one thing to ask – THIS was the big crowdsourced performance?  Really?  Well… um… sure, if they say so.


Round Two: Coronation Singles

The songs that will be released Thursday night on iTunes – one of which will be the lead single for the winner’s first CD, due during the Idol Summer Tour (and possibly the reason for the lackluster tone of the season, as the girls have been working on their albums as well as rehearsing for shows and doing shows and doing publicity and…)

Kree Harrison – “All Cried Out”
It’s a pretty standard love-gone-wrong song, written to allow Kree to belt out a song while the Idol Swaybots sway.  Really generic paint-by-number songwriting.  She does what she can with it, and it’s pretty good, but she’s stuck with something that isn’t really a great song. 


Candice Glover – “I Am Beautiful”
Did Orianthi re-write “According To You” for Idol?  Really, it’s the same concept and formula, slowed down into a ballad that Candice never really put herself behind.  This could have been The Moment where Candice won Idol, and she left it on the table.  OK song, OK performance.  That’s about it.

Round Two: Kree did a decent job with a pedestrian song.  Candice could have done a lot more with a blah song.  No real edge here. 

BREAK!!! Seacrest’s sunk to groaner-foul level puns [if you don’t know ComedySportz, you won’t get that] with “fits like a Glover”… but why is he electioneering now?

Round Three – Reprises

Kree Harrison
”Up To The Mountain (M.K.K. Song)” (written by Patty Griffin, multiple versions)
Originally sung in the Vegas round.  She picked a song that would let her air it out again… but another slow, dramatic piece that I don’t think really indicates where she wants to go.  A very good performance, but I think there were better choices for her last song of the competition.


Candice Glover
”I (Who Have Nothing)” (Ben E. King, among others)
From the Top 10 round, where I was notably underwhelmed.   And she does the same basic performance – she stands and belts.  She rips into the song this time, and probably won the competition here almost by default.

Round Three: Candice.

The Recap

This show sums up the problem with the whole season.  These two girls can sing the phone book.  Neither of them have the faintest idea how to entertain, and the show has done nothing to help them do so.  On a technical level, they’re both fantastic.  On an excitement level, comas are more exciting.  This season is a write-off, and I fear that neither girl’s career will survive it.  Blowing this show the hell up and starting over will be the best thing for it.  Let’s hope FOX and 19 have the guts to do so.

That said, Candice is going to win.  Anyone who wasn’t decided before tonight will wind up swayed over to her on the raw vocal power of the last song.   I don’t think VFTW’s last act of defiance will swing the vote to Kree…

I have plans during the official finale tomorrow night, so I’ll give you my standard advice.  Tune in at about 10:00 pm EDT and catch the last seven minutes with the big announcement and the tons of confetti falling from the rafters at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.  Be warned, though… if you are DVRing, set a recording for your late FOX local news as well, because even though most cable DVRs will run to 10:07pm, it’s likely that there will be a further overrun.

I’ll recap off the DVR tomorrow night.  See you then, as we bury this bland season for once and for all.


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