It’s Kree vs. Candice in All-Female ‘American Idol’ Finale

It wasn’t country versus soul, it was soul versus soul, as Kree Harrison and Candice Glover faced off Wednesday in the first all-female “American Idol” finale in nine years.

The contestants sang three songs apiece: one chosen by “Idol” producer Simon Fuller, one that will be their winning single and one chosen by the contestants as their favorite song of the season.

Harrison was up first with her version of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” and Glover followed with Adele’s “Chasing Pavements.” Idol judge Randy Jackson called the round for Glover — “at least she took the song and tried to make more of it,” he said — but he wasn’t blown away by either performance. Both songs were “a little sleepy, if I’m being honest,” Jackson said.

In round two, Harrison debuted her would-be single, a country ballad called “All Cried Out.” For a winning “Idol” song, it was a decided downer, with a chorus of, “I’m all cried out, I let it run like a river but I’m empty now.” (“A Moment Like This,” it wasn’t.)

Glover’s song, “I Am Beautiful,” was more melodic, more immediately catchy and more uplifting and was given a grander presentation, with images of fireworks bursting behind her as she sang the song’s empowering chorus (“I am beautiful, I’m not alone,” she sang).

Judge Keith Urban, who wound up giving the round to Harrison, said both songs were “tailor-made” for the contestants. Judge Nicki Minaj — who said she felt Glover won the round — said Harrison’s song made her “reach down in the gut” more than ever, but thought Glover’s song spoke more to her personal journey on the show.

Harrison saved her biggest fireworks for her final performance, a revival of Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” Backed by a full choir, she belted the song and brought the four judges to their feet. “That right there is a winning kind of performance,” Jackson told her, while Urban called the song “absolutely beautiful.”

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