American Idol Top 40 Contestant Kree Harrison – Original Song – “You Would’ve Wanted It That Way” (VIDEO)

Twenty two year old Kree Harrison was finally introduced in earnest to the American Idol audience as a young woman recovering from the tragic loss of both her parents by the time she had turned 19. She won over all the judges, including early doubters Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj, with her rendition of “Stars” by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, which prompted Keith Urban to declare that he’d fought for her because she has one of his favorite voices in the competition.

Now, check out a lovely, heartbreaking original song that Kree cowrote with Nashville hitmakers Natalie Hemby and Trent Dabbs, sung from the point of view of a son or daughter addressing a parent who has passed on, called “You Would’ve Wanted It That Way.” EDIT: The photo montage was put together by Kree’s sister, Laci Bruce.

Here is video of Kree singing the song live:

Kree already has friends and fans in buzzy names like Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe. With songs like this and enough exposure from the Idol platform, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her join them as an emerging, well-respected major label artist. Could she be a dark horse in this competition?

Thanks @Elicers for the information on the song’s cowriters and the person who put together the montage.

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Deb B

Also known as Windmills, I cover country music news and live televised country events, in addition to recapping ABC's 'Nashville.' Additionally, I occasionally do long-form chart analysis that has been cited by Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The New Republic, NPR, and more.
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  • blackberryharvest

    I am definitely rooting for her. I think if she were to win or be signed, she would be welcomed to Nashville with open arms. Keith Urban loves her, she is friends with Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe, and is already somewhat known by people in Nashville. She already has experience so I think she could do really well. 

  • EliteHalien

    I love her a lot. Putting Angela aside, Kree was my favorite last night. She’s so much more than just a country girl, and she’s super likable. Hoping for the best.

  • DB987

    I think she has talent a well written song with a decent voice it only will take a fanbase to move her from demo singer to performer. Thats the piece that is hard to predict. She is playing the game correctly using her sob story to its full advantage (as she should).  Not sure if having Kacey or Ashley’s backing will help neither most likely have a fanbase of any consequence that watches idol.


    I really like Kree’s voice. Definitely one of my favourite girls. And this song is beautiful and really did it for me.

  • jtgraffix

    currently my favorite girl. call me crazy, but i prefer her country voice over janelle’s. kree has the right hybrid of pop and country in her twang. mind you, i still think janelle is fantastic. i want them both in my top 12

  • breakdown

    She really needed that exposure last night and she made the most of it.

  • chillj

    She seems more folk than country to me, a lot like Crystal Bowersox, but she sure sings what I buy.  Lovely voice, lovely song and a different persona.  She has had a lot of life experience for a person her age, and I don’t really think she milked it as much as she could have.  Sometimes backstories are not “sob” stories, they are just fact and you can’t get away from that.

  • Keyera Mullins

    A girl definitely should win this season. So many talented women on the show and she’s one of the best for sure!

  • DB987

    I think you can spin a sob story as a  back story  of life experience you can not get away from or life experiences you can not get away from as a sob story if you really like a performer its life experience if you are not invested it is a sob story. She is talented and seems like a nice person I would route for her and her life experiences but she knows what she is doing and she milked it just right not to overboard.  My point I think she knows what it takes to get noticed and is using it to her advantage.

  • tomr

    I’d buy that song in a second.  What a beautiful voice.  Sure hope that she does well!

  • tibitibis

    Wow ! The song is beautiful along with her voice , very emotional … hope she does well and the producers give to her the right songs in the live shows.

  • Eileen99

    Edens Edge just tweeted about Kree, so she apparently is friends with them as well.

    Edens Edge ?@edensedgeEveryone pull for my sweet friend Kree Harrison! She’s amazing!!! CG

  • windmills

    chillj: She has had a lot of life experience for a person her age, and I don’t really think she milked it as much as she could have.  Sometimes backstories are not “sob” stories, they are just fact and you can’t get away from that.

    I agree. In these little interview segments, the contestants are responding to specific producer prompts. I guess Kree could’ve hidden the passing of her parents from the producers in order to avoid that being presented as part of her story but I don’t think it’s milking it to have mentioned it. It also just really doesn’t seem like it’s in her personality to mention her backstory a lot moving forward. She doesn’t seem like a very outgoing person at all and in fact she gives me “misfit” vibes a la Crystal Bowersox and Elise Testone. “Misfit” in the sense that Idol’s a TV show and I don’t think Kree’s the kind of gal who naturally makes sparkling TV. She’s young but she doesn’t act like a bubbly ingenue or somebody who has fun in the spotlight. 

    But I loved that Kree immediately thanked the other girls for being “amazingly supportive” after her performance – I think that was sincere and unpretentious of her. So was her reaction the judges’ compliments. I hope that for as long as she lasts on the show, she’s able to hang onto that sincerity and find pockets of it in her fellow contestants and the backstage crew of the show. 

    There are bits of Kree’s phrasing that absolutely SLAYED me during Stars but she also sounded strained and wobbly when she went for the big notes. My worry about Kree in the competition is feeling like she has to keep going for the big notes to stand out in the competition, especially with all the big voiced girls around her. That wouldn’t play to her strengths, which are storytelling, phrasing, and letting that sweet vocal tone of hers shine through. So, her big challenge for as long as she’s on the show will be figuring out a way to present a version of herself that stands out on TV and is true to what she does best. And to not let the TV aspects of things get to her. 

    I don’t see Kree as a producer favorite because she isn’t sparkling TV. If she were, they would have had her broken out an original like this that goes along with her backstory and pimped her a la Angela Miller. But Kree did get a nice introduction, with her showcase performance being the one that convinced all the judges to get on board with her. I hope she’s able to build on that, because I really like this original tune from her.

  • potatorocks

    I am not a country fan in any way but this is wonderful.   I will be  pulling for this girl this season.   Keith is so bringing her on tour no matter how far she goes in the competition.   

  • artemis112

    This is a beautiful song, sung so tenderly; I love the emotion in her voice. Wish I could buy it! Kree and Janelle are my favorites at this point.

  • Wally.

    Kree is so different then the past country contestants we had on this show. She is versatile. Look at hercover of Valerie on YouTube. I usually don’t like country contestants but I love Kree’s voice

  • macfae

    I so agree with everthing you said, windmills…you are spot on.

    Kree was on my radar but after Thur and the YouTube videos, she’s secured a spot in my top 3 girls.
    Regarding classifying her sound, I think Americana would be a closer category….she’s much broader than just country.
    I am excited to hear more from her.

  • Kariann Hart

    Her back story is a difficult one.  I hope Kree will do well on Idol and make friends along the way.

  • jpfan2

    My favorite girl. I see lots of potential. Even though I don’t usually like country music I like her voice/style.

  • Anny_nanny

    I missed this post.
    Kree reminds me Crystal, and I treat her like Crystal, I don’t see and hear the other girls next to her. I don’t know how far it will go, but while she was on the show she is my favorite.
    I do not think that she would have a career above Mamasox after AI, and I do not think that she has a handicap because she has experience and contacts in Nashville. If she had had this chance, she would have had a successful career and without the show. (Unfortunately I have the same thoughts about my favorite Elise.) But I am convinced after two fairly successful winners of the AI can afford to have a less successful winner.

  • girlygirltoo

    I like her voice a lot. This is a very touching song. It’s cool that she has supporters in the country music world already…that should definitely help her as her career goes forward.

  • chillj

    I absolutely agree with you, although I do think everyone, not just Kree will have a hard time presenting their best versions of themselves.  I also think what is appealing about Kree is that she stands back a little; she looks like there is a little more there than the surface presentation.  I know so little of her, I could be misreading, but I don’t get the impression she let’s it all hang out – and I really like that.  Too much “letting it hang out” is tiresome after a while and in watching television we too often see way too much of almost everybody.

  • H.A.

    I’m not a huge country fan but I think her voice is lovely. I can see myself buying her album. She seems also versatile which I like.  While everyone is fawning all over Angela Miller who I think is generic, Kree should be the one to watch out for. 

  • LA944

    Beautiful voice. I know idol looks for those huge voices most of the time–but I don’t