Candice, Adele's "Chasing Pavements": As usual, Candice did as much as she could with a shortened version of a really, really, really popular song. If she'd been given free range and a few more minutes, this could have been a major end-of-show moment for her. I liked the huge power run she threw in before the softer, pleading "Should I just...keep on..." and the extra, upward-lilting "Nowhere...." she tacked onto the end.
Randy said that unlike Kree in round 1, Candice at least tried to "make something more" of the song, and he and Mariah both complimented Candice's lower register: "So rangy!" I swear, watching Randy and Mariah attempt to basically say the same thing was like the best mediocre SNL "Garth and Kat" sketch ever.
Kree, "All Cried Out": I totally agreed with Nicki that this song made Kree "reach down in her gut" to showcase seemingly a new part of her voice. I actually got really excited for her that this could be her own song -- there was a fire in her eyes I haven't seen much when she does straight covers. At first the title and lyrics struck me as very agenda-based (we're supposed to think Kree has undergone major strides in "emotionally connecting to the audience"! blah), but the bottom line is that she sang the heck out of this song and the tune itself is at least musically a good fit for her style and voice.
Candice, "I Am Beautiful": The content of this song, too, struck me as heavy-handed, especially after the "GURL, you look good, have you lost weight?" reign of body image terror Nicki Minaj has recently inflicted upon the gorgeous-as-she-ever-was Candice. I guess that was a bigger plot in Candice's character development than I'd realized? That she needs to think she's beautiful? Eh. I'm not gonna harp too much on this because the coronation singles are always cheesy and these two songs were way better than some of the messes we've witnessed over the years. But overall this round played out like a big ol' flashing-lights marquee: "Welcome to the #IdolFinale! It's HEAVYSET CANDICE vs STILL VERY SAD KREE!"
"It makes so much sense for Candice to sing that," said Nicki. "It fits her like a glover," said Keith. Keith!
NEXT: I'll miss Keith Urban's violent, appreciative lean-backs most of all