Well I guess we get what we paid for, huh? You put dull in, you get dull out. And dull is indeed what we got last night, when our two Idol finalists on this dullest of seasons performed their final songs. A dreary evening that Fox blessedly kept to an hour, the penultimate episode of this, our 109th season of American Idol, did, I suppose, do its required job of summing up the season.
And you gotta respect Fox for only giving us an hour of this thing. I know that tonight will be a nine-hour extravaganza, with a billion performances and William from the Black Eyed Peas reading us the entirety of The Great Gatsby, but at least they respected our time once this week. (Ha. "Respected our time." As if we are required to watch American Idol and thus are owed some form of "respect" by the producers.) That was a classy move on their part, so I say well done to you, sirs and madams. So, in the spirit of keeping things short, let's dive right into the performances.
Candice beat Kree last night. That is a duhhh no-brainer. I mean, Candice beat Kree all season obviously. At no point during this competish has Kree ever lorded over Candice. So it's kind of unnecessary to say that Candice was better than Kree last night, because that should be implied by the larger totality of her betterness. But yeah, Candice won the night, for sure. Which isn't to say she was amazing. Because she actually wasn't amazing. She suffered from bad song choices, I think. Her first song was "Chasing Pavements," which was a mistake. Don't sing Adele songs, guys. It's somehow both too soon and too late for that. Adele is still very much Adele so to sing her jams is just inviting unnecessary, and unflattering, comparison. But also, kids on this show have been burbling out Adele tunes for a couple years now and it's old, crazy old. Too many Adele songs have been sung and been played in this country over the past couple years, here and on Glee and elsewhere. Ban Adele from American Idol. That's my new political cause. Haha just kidding I'm done with this show after tomorrow. Byeeeee, show!
Next Candice sang the WINNER'S SONG, which holy hell, guys. Holy hell. You cannot engineer a season that is singularly focused on having a lady win and then give both lady finalists the two ham-salad songs they gave them last night. It's downright offensive, is what it is. We long thought that the winner's song was a big dumb joke, always something about climbing mountains with your heart full of dreams, but then last year happened. Last year they gave Phillip "Phil" Phillips the song "Home," and it was a twingly-twangly success, sounding a bit like Mumford & Sons just woke up from a nap. There was a strain of artistry there, but more importantly it felt contemporary and relevant. And it was a hit! A big Olympics-backed hit. So there was some interest going into this year's pre-finale, people wondering if they could duplicate the magic. Well, nope, they can't. They just plum can't. I've never seen a group of people more completely flabbergasted by women than the producers of this show. It is just astounding. What did they give Candice and Kree? Two of the dopiest ballads you'll ever hear. Candice was given a song called "I Am Beautiful" all about how a man made her feel beautiful. She sang it perfectly fine, but good grief was the thing a snoozer. What are you doing, guys? Is it so hard to give a girl something interesting to do? Why did both Candice and Kree get these moany ballads about how they are beautiful or all cried out? Offensive! I'm choosing to take offense here. Badly done.
Candie's last song was her choice and she chose "I (Who Have Nothing)" and of course, with that song, with that voice, she blew the front of the Nokia Theater off, debris raining down on Figueroa, everyone bloodied but thrilled. She did a great job. I mean, it wasn't exactly inspiring, but for this season? It were good. Keith Urban's wig almost flew off his head! And Nicole stapled that thing on pretty thoroughly.
Poor Kree. The judges were pretty dismissive of her last night, always praising Candice and saying "Who?" when asked how Kree had done. That must be hard to deal with, but she always manages to keep a tight, worried, unpleasant smile on her face. Good for her! Kree's first jam of the evening was Sarah MacLachlan's "Angel," a hardcore acid-thrash phunk-metal song that really brought the house down. All the kids were doing their best horrorcore screams and throwing Faygo around the place like crazy. Kree did do a nice job on this song, though it was a bit sleepy and a bit dated to lead the show with. It wasn't her choice, so it wasn't her fault, but it certainly didn't do her any favors.
Also not doing her any favors was her winner's song, a country-ish moaner called "All Cried Out." So we've got Candice reaffirming that she's beautiful because a man told her so and then we've got Kree saying she's stopped crying. I know Phil is essentially singing about protecting a woman in "Home," but these two songs seem worse. They're weaker. I don't know. Their chief sin really is that they're boring. "All Cried Out" is slightly better than "I Am Beautiful" but they both stink worse than Jimmy Iovine's weird worm bed. (Worm-stink is a real problem with real consequences.) I'm sorry that they brought you all this way just to do you dirty at the end, girls. It's not right. It's just not right.
Kree's third song was some older country thing that she chose, because she is always choosing an older country song that nobody knows. I mean, it was a Patty Griffin song. But still. Kree is almost annoyingly committed to singing what she wants to sing. Normally that would be a terrible, dumb thing to say, but this isn't normally, this is American Idol. And American Idol is a game, one that Kree regularly refuses to play, which is annoying. But, hey, it's worked for her, hasn't it? Look where she is. Almost to the top. The defeater of Angie Mills and other assorted also-ran contenders. So maybe she is playing the game, just in an understated to the point of undetectability way. Maybe she's shrewder than anyone's given her credit for.
This might sound crazy but I have this weeeeird feeling it's going to be Kree. I know that Candice has long been the favorite and everyone is pretty sure it's going to be her tonight, but I just have this sense that Kree's fanbase should not be underestimated. I mean it got her all the way here even though a lot of people, myself included, feel she never really connected with the show. (Kree herself said that at one point.) I think those are some loyal country fans and they will vote in droves for their girl. I'm probably completely wrong, as I can be pretty bad at calling these things, but I dunno. I can't shake the feeling. I say it's going to be Kreedom. Let Kreedom ring.
OK, that's it for now. Tune in tomorrow for my final recap, which will include the grand resolution to the lonely tale of Ryan and Tim. Til then!
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.