American Idol finalists Kree Harrison and Candice Glover went three rounds Wednesday night trying to earn enough votes to take this season's Idol crown. The winner will be revealed on American Idol 's two-hour season finale Thursday night.
In the first round, American Idol creator Simon Fuller chose the song, and in round two, the finalists sang the song that would be their respective debut single should they win the competition. The third round featured Kree and Candice singing their favorite song from this season's competition.
The show took place at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live for a crowd of 7,000 fans. Keith Urban , Nicki Minaj , Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey were on hand offering up their comments on the night's performances one last time. At this point, it looks like all four judges won't be back next season as Idol producers try to reverse a serious ratings decline this season.
Here's what happened:
Kree started the night off singing a countrified version of Sarah McLachlan 's "Angel." She looked gorgeous in a pale-colored gown, but Kree didn't pump up the entertainment factor with this performance.
Simon picked Adele 's "Chasing Pavements" for Candice, and her gospel-influenced licks really brought the drama. The powerhouse performance earned her a standing ovation from the judges.
The judges commented at the end of each round. Mariah started off saying how proud she has been to be a part of this season. Randy thought these songs were a little sleepy, and host Ryan Seacrest gave Randy a hard time about criticizing their boss Simon Fuller's song choices now that Randy's leaving the show. Randy gave the edge in round one to Candice for taking some vocal chances, and Mariah praised Kree for turning in a delicate performance.
Kree sang her potential winner's single, a country power ballad called "All Cried Out." This performance was a complete 180 from Kree's sleepy round one performance, and she managed to really connect with each note. There were a few slight pitch problems, and all the judges gave her a standing ovation except for Nicki.
Candice's potential first single is a R&B ballad called "I Am Beautiful," and she really sold the lyrics about a woman overcoming a bad relationship through her faith. All four judges gave Candice her second standing ovation of the night.
Nicki felt she heard a new, deeper part of Kree's performance in this round. Keith said Kree and Candice are both soul singers, and Nicki added she loved the meaning of Candice's song. Keith said Kree won round two, but Nicki gave it to Candice.
Kree went back to a song she sang in the Vegas round this season, Patty Griffin 's "Up to the Mountain," for her third round pick. She earned applause when the song really kicked into gear, and all four judges gave Kree a standing ovation for the performance. Keith said it was "absolutely beautiful," and Nicki said the gospel choir backing her up gave it an extra energy. Randy said it was Kree's best performance of the night, and Mariah told Kree she made smart choices with her song choices tonight.
Candice closed out the night with a sultry, powerhouse performance of "I (Who Have Nothing)." It was the performance of the night, and Candice switched things up singing the first part of the song a cappella. She earned her third standing ovation from the judges, and Randy even bowed down to praise her. Keith said the performance was "just crazy." Nicki called Candice a superstar who commands the stage. Randy said Candice shot the night to a whole new level, and Mariah told Candice she would be listening to her for years to come.
In addition to the performances from Kree and Candice, Carly Rae Jepsen took the stage after round one to sing "Take a Picture," the song born out of the Coca-Cola Perfect Harmony program this season at AmericanIdol.com. The lyrics were actually crowdsourced with visitors to the site contributing to the songwriting process.
Tune in for two hours of star-studded performances and the crowning of this season's winner on the American Idol finale Thursday night at 8 ET on Fox.
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