At 22, “American Idol” runner-up Kree Harrison has lived through her share of tragedy, losing both of her parents to accidents. But her ascendance to fame on “Idol” was part of a life philosophy of staying positive.
“For me, this is the sweet after the bitter I’ve had in my life,” Kree told reporters.
“You can choose to live your life happy and whatever happens to you, you take it with a grain of salt,” she said.
And though she rarely mentioned the loss of her parents until the heartbreaking home visit on Top 3 week, she found subtle ways to tribute them, like her choice of performing Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” The first time she did the song, Jimmy Iovine said it was like Kree was crying from her soul.
“My mom loved that song,” Kree said. “I would love to bring that energy every night.”
Kree came incredibly close to winning, but feels satisfied with how far she came.
“At the end of the day, the title for me is not just the American Idol,” she said. “I’ve already reached the limit of creating a following, and that is what each of us came here to do.”
Kree said she is proud of the Season 12 winner, Candice Glover.
In the moments before Ryan Seacrest announced the final results, Kree whispered to Candice. “I said if you win, you better sing your butt off, and she was laughing at me.”
“Have you heard her?” Kree added. “She’s incredible.”
Kree said after the final performances, she did not know whether she or Candice would win, because their styles were so different. “I never know what’s going to happen,” she said. “It’s always been in America’s hands.”
Though Kree faced much criticism from the judges in the last few weeks of the competition for being disconnected, she said she has nothing but respect for them.
“I took it as constructive criticism,” she said. “Because at the end of the day, you can’t really grow if you’re not listening and learning from your peers.”
Keith Urban, in particular, was the hardest on her.
“I agree with him,” Kree said. “I always had a problem in the beginning of my career letting the wall down and being able to connect emotionally, because it is a harder thing, opening up.”
Kree’s single was released Thursday night after the final results. “All Cried Out,” she said, was the “perfect single,” for its traditional country sound.
“I feel like it’s 100 percent me, and I couldn’t be more thankful to call it my own.”