American Idol Season 12 Final 3

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter

The final three show is always the one with the most emotion. The contestants get to go home. They see their families. Their cities celebrate them. And we get to learn a little something about them as people.

For this season, it was maybe the strongest episode of the season. There have been stronger episodes when it came to actual performances. But when it comes to telling the stories of the contestants, there hasn’t been a better show.

The fact of the matter is, this final three is one of the strongest in Idol history.

Let’s do the math really quickly.

Season two featured Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, and Kimberly Locke. Season five saw Taylor Hicks, Kat McPhee, and Elliot Yamin. In an underrated season six, Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis, and Mindy Doo were the top three. Last season saw Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, and Joshua Ledet. At the very least, this season is just behind the watershed season two. So we may very well have the second best final three of all-time.

The top three performed three songs tonight. The first was chosen by Jimmy Iovine, the second by the judges, and the third by the producers. Let’s go round by round.

Who lost round one?

Jimmy Iovine wasn’t very kind to Kree. He had Kree (Summer) perform Pink’s Perfect, which is titled something slightly more lewd, but we’ll just call it what they called it. Pink is such a high energy performer that even when she does slower songs, she exudes energy. Kree is just the opposite. Kree (Summer) is all about the chill. She’s so laid back. And the energy didn’t come through. Even though Jimmy won’t say so, it was really a bad song choice more so than a bad performance. Kree (Summer) doesn’t have Pink’s charisma in her.

I didn’t really enjoy hearing Angie sing Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word even though Jimmy did. I think having a teenager sing an Elton John song is one of the reasons that Idol is slipping. Candice performed One, a song that has been performed one too many times, but at the very least, Candice did the Mary J. Blige version rather than the original U2 version. Candice won the round.

Kree (Summer) did the worst of the three and it wasn’t really close.

Who lost round two?

This round was a bit tougher to score.

Candice performed Next To Me by Emeli Sandé. That song isn’t all that well known and it didn’t challenge Candice in any way. Like Jimmy said, if this is all about competition, you give Candice songs the other two can’t touch. That wasn’t the case here. It was a solid, yet unspectacular (for Candice) kind of performance.

The judges gave Angie a slightly more uptempo song than she’s used to and she did a fine job with Pink’s Try. Angie’s biggest problem is performing like she’s really feeling it rather than acting like it. It was a very comfortable performance for her. She’s definitely growing as a performer, and she still acts like a kid, which is refreshing.

(I was way off on her. I thought she was going to be the most hated contestant of the season. And at the beginning, it looked like that was happening. But they allowed her to be a teenager and to show a goofy side and that really humanized her.)

Kree (Summer) won this round. The performances came on the heels of the video packages of the contestants going home. Candice was touched by her home town. Angie was glad to be back #bostonstrong. But Kree’s story was a heart breaker. She lost her parents within a couple years of each other in the late 90s/early 2000s. She was shown visiting the home she grew up with while holding hands with her sister. And when it was time to perform, she was the old Kree. Her confidence was back and she was showing emotion rather than just going through the motions with Here Comes Goodbye. The story and this performance really gives her a chance to make it until next week.

I think Candice was the worst of the three, but it was close. It was more the fault of her song than anything else.

Who lost round three?

I think this was a tie between Kree (Summer) and Angie. Angie’s version of Maybe by Emeli Sandé started off really slowly. She sang in a whisper at the beginning and it hurt the performance. Kree’s version of Better Dig Two was uninspired, especially compared to her last performance.

And then Candice hit the stage and holy cow. She performed Somewhere from West Side Story and she brought the house down. It was probably one of the top three performances of the year and cemented her spot next week in the finals. It has to happen that way or else this show means nothing.

Who goes home?

Up until the final performance of the night, I thought there was a really good chance Candice could go home. Angie hasn’t been in trouble all year. And Kree’s story resonated with viewers. But Candice’s final performance upset that notion. She has to be back.

Down to Angie and Kree, I think it’s a safe bet that Kree (Summer) goes home. I’ve been feeling strong on an Angie vs. Candice final twosome for several weeks now. I think it happens. And it could be really good.

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