Now that we’re down to the Top 4 of “American Idol,” it’s time to get serious about which of the singers should be crowned the winner of Season 12. That choice is, of course, a matter of opinion, so here is mine: Kree Harrison should win it all.

I don’t say this lightly, by the way. Having watched every week of the live “Idol” competition carefully and having written about the show almost daily for over a month now, I have given this plenty of thought. For awhile now, it’s been obvious that there were only four possibilities to win this season of “American Idol”: Kree, Angie Miller, Candice Glover and Amber Holcomb.

They were always the likely Top 4. Now, America has to make the tough choice of when to send each of the girls home. It will be close, whatever happens.

So why do I think Kree should come out on top?

It’s not personal (except that it always is in music)

I feel like I should make it clear that my pick of Kree is not based on a personal like or dislike of anyone. Even though Kree is — as her competitors and all production packages make clear — pretty much an angel sent straight from heaven, she deserves to win because of her performances.

Obviously, Kree can sing. That’s a given for the Top 4 this season. They are all incredible singers. What makes Kree stand out in that group?

First of all, she has the experience to face winning “Idol” like a pro and not like a kid thrust directly into the spotlight. Kree has been singing in Nashville for several years now and is not exactly an amateur on the country-music scene.

Then, there’s the performance. Alone among the Top 4, only Kree connects directly to her audience and gives the impression that she’s always up there for our entertainment, not to gain praise of her own.

Kree also, alone of all the singers in Season 12, performs successfully across genres. While a country singer in her roots, you’d hardly be able to tell that with the vast swath of pop, blues, rock and more we’ve heard.

Finally, back to the point I slipped past at the beginning, Kree is a sweetheart. Audiences can tell that, and it helps Kree to connect. A successful performer needs to get the audience to believe she is singing directly to them. It’s a hard thing to do, but Kree makes it look easy.

What about the others?

Despite my rather definitive statement about who should win “American Idol” Season 12, there isn’t a wholly wrong choice available at this point. Each of the Top 4 girls has a shot at really making this crazy music thing work.

But …

The judges seem to think Amber is the most “marketable” of the girls. If you think of marketable as being young and pretty and easily molded into whatever form of pop princess might sell some records, then yes. Amber is very marketable. Unfortunately, she also has the least presence when performing. The good looks and the nice voice are great, but there isn’t that undefined “something” that the great performers have.

Give her another couple of years and Amber might find her “something,” but I don’t think it’s there yet.

Candice has the best voice of “American Idol” Season 12. Seriously, the girl has a set of lungs that most of us would kill for. She sings beautifully and makes interesting choices in her performances.

Still, Candice never seems to command the stage the way some of the others do. When she sings, you don’t see her as a dominant voice, standing front and center. Instead, Candice could be a talented backup singer. Add to that the fact that no one really knows where to place her in the music world (Blues? Soul? Gospel? Pop?), and Candice is a tough choice for the top spot on “Idol.”

Then there’s Angie. It’s hard to come up with anything to say against Angie. She’s pretty, she connects to people, her voice is great … Oh, and let’s not forget that Angie writes and performs original music that audiences already like! That’s no small feat.

In all honesty, my only issue with Angie is that she doesn’t feel as connected to the audience as Kree. That probably doesn’t matter on an album or on TV, but it would hurt on a live-music stage.

What it all comes down to

As I mentioned right at the beginning of this piece, the choice of Season 12’s “Idol” winner is quite personal. You either like someone and her music, or you don’t.

That’s why my final pick for who I think should win this season of “American Idol” comes down to one simple question: Whose music do I want to keep listening to? The answer, for me anyway, is Kree. Forget the fact that I’m neither a country nor a blues fan (Kree’s two most-preferred genres), I want to listen to her.

And in the end, that’s what makes a singer a star.

Who do you think should win “American Idol”? What makes someone the best on this show? Give your opinions in the comments!

Posted by:Laurel Brown