Top 5 Kree Harrison Songs From ‘American Idol’
Some people are just born to sing, as anyone who watched soulful country powerhouse Kree Harrison on Season 12 of ‘American Idol‘ can attest. The Texas native emerged as one of the frontrunners of the 2013 competition early on, giving a long string of standout performances that showcased her strong, clear voice and confident delivery.
Harrison obviously shines when she’s singing country, but some of her best performances draw from soul, gospel and R&B as well, making her one tough act to follow. She won lavish praise from the judges, other industry veterans, her fellow contestants and fans all season long. In this list of the Top 5 Kree Harrison Songs From ‘American Idol,’ we re-visit the best of the best.
‘Crying,’ Roy Orbison
There’s often something a little bit sad about Kree Harrison when she sings, which is one of the things that consistently set her apart from some of the other contestants on ‘American Idol.’ She doesn’t just sing her songs; she connects to the underlying emotional intent of each song and communicates it with her voice and performance. So it’s only appropriate that her subtle, perfectly-controlled version of Orbison’s melancholy classic ‘Crying’ should lead off this list.
‘Stars,’ Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
One of Harrison’s greatest strengths is her ability to sell a song not through flashy performance, but by simply singing it straight to the heart of its message and making a genuine emotional connection. The singer lost both of her parents before she was out of her teens, and she sang ‘Stars’ in memory of her mother, giving an astonishingly powerful performance that not only drew raves from the judges, it also sent her through to the Top 40 in the twelfth season of ‘American Idol’ after she sang it during the crucial Hollywood week.
‘Don’t Play That Song,’ Aretha Franklin
Though Harrison’s focus is firmly on country, she has demonstrated the ability to draw from a wide range of other styles as well. Keith Urban has said repeatedly how important it is for Harrison to dip into soul, R&B and gospel, which are all important to the history and development of country music. Never was that more apparent than during her stellar rendition of ‘Don’t Play That Song,’ which was so effortlessly soulful that it won over vocal coach Smokey Robinson. It even got high praise from the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, who sent Harrison a special message of encouragement after she watched it on TV.
‘Here Comes Goodbye,’ Rascal Flatts
Harrison suffered a mid-season slump during her run on ‘Idol,’ landing in the bottom two once and having a hard time regaining her confidence over the ensuing weeks. But after a triumphant hometown visit, she returned to the ‘Idol’ stage with a vengeance, delivering one of her best performances of the entire season with a soaring rendition of Rascal Flatts‘ ‘Here Comes Goodbye.’ It was a pivotal moment for Harrison; not only did it remind the judges why they had been in her corner all season, it also earned her the fan support she needed to move on to the season’s final two.
‘Up to the Mountain,’ Patty Griffin
Giving one of the most memorable, heartfelt performances of Season 12 of ‘American Idol,’ Harrison brought together everything that is special about her voice and interpretive skills for ‘Up to the Mountain,’ delivering in the clinch of a sudden death round and astonishing the judges in the process. She brought together her country, soul and gospel influences for a measured, restrained, yet dynamic and powerful vocal performance that was the best of everything she gave all season. Harrison herself must have thought so, too; she reached back to the song for her final performance of the season, this time giving it a full gospel choir treatment.