John Legend to Replace Lionel Richie on Duets

Lionel Richie has dropped out of the ABC reality series Duets. He’ll be replaced by singer/songwriter, John Legend who will join Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke as one of the judges.

Lionel dropped out, due to personal scheduling issues. Recently, he was a guest mentor on The Voice during the battle rounds and has released an album of country duets, Tuskegee.

The quartet will search the country for undiscovered musical talent, ultimately choosing between two singers to be their partners. The show will culminate with one partner receiving a recording contract from Hollywood Records.

Kelly was out on the road testing out potential duet partners earlier this  month.

“I’m thrilled to be part of Duets and I’m looking forward to finding an undiscovered gem out there. This is going be a lot of fun,” said Legend.

Former Total Request Live host Quddus will host Duets,  set to debut May 24 at 8 p.m.

Via Hollywood Reporter

Duets promo. Now out of date, of course

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  • Anonymous

    mmmm John Legend. Seems like a trade up to me. I still think this show sounds stupid though, even though I love all 4 artists. 
    Maybe if John, Jennifer, and Kelly are good but this show bombs they could be next year’s idol panel.

  • justshootme

    John Legend AND Robin Thicke?  I may actually have to watch this.

  • ladymctech

    I am happy to see more and more established stars spending their time and lending their expertise to up and coming artists.

  • Kariann Hart

    I think there’s more to this story than what we have read.  I cannot believe Lionel Ritchie would give up this opportunity for face time on television.  Really, it is Kelly that I am most interested in.  I have no idea how they are going to do this.  That will be four more new faces out there competiting for the glories and possible record sales.

  • too-cool-for-school

    I’m suddenly excited about this show. Lionel would have brought the years/experience to it but I love John Legend and him with the other three seems like a surprisingly competent panel of judges.

  • Anonymous

    John Legend and Kelly Clarkson…  this MUST be a good show. I’m tired of singing competitions, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.

  • Kayla

    To me this is a big trade up! But I’m wondering if it means a bit of production scramble to have to redo 1/4 of the footage of the search for a duet partner. Or maybe John Legend will just take over Lionel’s picks where he left off?

    Really curious what went on behind the scenes to cause this.

  • Anonymous

    John Legend ain’t a bad trade….

  • larc

    Really curious what went on behind the scenes to cause this.

    So am I!  Unless it’s something like a health problem, my guess is at least one side is pissed off about it.  At any rate, I agree with some others that Legend is a definite step up.

  • Christopher Auyeung

    Oh, this lineup looks REALLY good now. I’m pretty sure I’m watching this. No expectations for the show, but these are four incredible singers. It’s like a free concert every week.

  • Jenna

    I’m guessing Lionel’s album did better than he was expecting and he feels he can make more money touring than being on the show… But I also think John Legend is a trade up and better represents another demographic. Lionel’s album is really only doing well because it is country which Jennifer Nettles already has covered.

  • Listening

    Now no ones thinking they kicked Lionel out to get John Legend or is it just me? I mean in my eyes John Legend is a bigger star than Lionel or at least perceived as one b/c he’s current.

    It’s all  pretty last minute so the entire situation is really odd.

  • Anonymous

     I wouldn’t be so sure that John Legend is bigger than Lionel. John has never had a Top Twenty pop single and only two R&B Top Tens, the last one in 2008. Compare that to Lionel’s many number one hits. Plus Lionel had the number one album just last week, as well as a TV special a few weeks ago that led CBS to a ratings win. You can bet it’s a scheduling problem!

  • MichaelG (MikhailXO)

    Better choice, imo. I actually can listen and enjoy John Legend’s music. Now I may watch the show!

  • MichaelG (MikhailXO)

    He’s more current and people under the age of 40 have actually heard of him unlike Lionel with his sappy, poorly composed 80’s love songs…

  • Anonymous

    Legend is closer in age to the other mentors.  But make no mistake: Richie has a pedigree that Legend (and the others) can only hope to achieve. If all you think of is the 1980s with Richie, you’re ignoring the Commodores. *hums Brickhouse*

    Legend isn’t so much a trade up, because he’s pretty much a younger version of Richie, if you think about it for a moment.  And Legend doesn’t have the crossover factor yet.

    One problem that Legend’s presents:  for the complaints that Richie’s new album covered country which is already represented by Nettles, both Legend and Thicke are R&B/Urban AC guys.  They really, REALLY overlap in terms of fan-bases.  Two guys are covering the same territory.

  • Incipit

    “both Legend and Thicke are R&B/Urban AC guys.  They really, REALLY
    overlap in terms of fan-bases.  Two guys are covering the same

    Ah well, the show is certainly staying ‘current’ with what is allowed on the radio – Pop, Country, R&B/Urban and AC.  I guess, no Rock of any kind?

  • Beth Fischer

    Now get rid of Robin Thicke, as a younger person.. i dont even know who he is????

    I think this is a good career move for Kelly… because odds are after her next single she would have been out of the spotlight for a while. The show will longate her career (if it doesnt bomb, which it could) and it will help boost her 3rd single, cause i mean Adam Levine sells TONS of singles on The Voice
    (payphone/moves like jagar)

  • Bobbi

    I’m disappointed Lionel Richie won’t be involved. John Legend is not a favorite of mine. Oh well, I’m really going to watch for Kelly and Jennifer anyway.  

  • Listening

    I didn’t think Lionel would sell so well In fact I didn’t even know he was coming out w/ an album w/out this site. I would of thought Deuts was just dusting off a former glory singer you know sort of along the lines of Paula Abdul but after seeing his sales i’m like I guess he still got it.

  • Incipit

    “…Robin Thicke, as a younger person.. i dont even know who he is????”

    Beth Fischer, that’s funny, sort of. As a not-so-younger-person, the only name I recognize for their music in that line up is Kelly. I definitely knew who Lionel Ritchie is. I suppose they are hoping the audience will figure it out?

    Eh. If mj has videos, I’ll check them out here. If not, then not.

  • Tess

    Well at least somebody at ABC was thinking and Duets is scheduled for its premier the day after idol gives up the ghost for the season…and having an x-Idol and a bubble favorite won’t hurt pulling in some of the AI audience that always gets withdrawal symptoms once the show is off air.

    Now I’m trying to understand the premise and it is that the judges/mentors/pros will pick and choose some duet partners from semi-pros they are finding.  Then the pros will sing with the contestants.  Not to be too negative but lots of mediocre solo singers do very well when they are “crutched” by a better singer…lots easier to stay on tune and to emote when someone that knows what they are doing leads the way.

    Now is the half of the duet getting a contract whether it isn’t proven they can sing solo?  Sounds fishy and weird to me.  But we shall see.

  • Anonymous

    This is kind of odd, because mentoring new artists is something that Lionel has always seemed to be enthusiastic about (even without TV face time).  But, it could just be the obvious answer – his country experiment is more popular than he anticipated and he’s getting booked up with other offers.  (We’ll know the answer if we see him someplace else at about the same time).  

    Either way, I think John Legend is a good replacement choice.  He’s a very creative guy and he’s always seemed to have a collaborative type personality to me.  (Not that I think he’s even remotely achieved the things Lionel Richie has – but very few have).  

    Personal, somewhat off-topic, totally unnecessary opinion alert: I’m always surprised when we treat the legends of the music industry like washed up relics. Like somehow, when they stop having current radio hits, they become “has beens” and “irrelevant” (especially at a place where we celebrate the minimal achievements of the “never-was”s).  

    Maybe I’m alone in this, but when you sell 50 or 100 million records and achieve top of the heap star status as both a solo act and part of a group (in multiple decades), and you add on a few humongous hits that you write for others to record……. I think you’re just forever worthy of respect.  I mean, he’s Lionel fucking Richie.  When you’re able to achieve things that maybe 20 or 30 other people have been able to do in the past hundred or so years, I just believe you can’t ever be a has been.  

    Okay, rant over.  Lol sorry – I’ve been holding that in since Billy Joel week on AI.

  • Tiffany

    I think Lionel has more personality then John Legend too.  I like Jennifer but her strong twangy voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  She originally was just a song writer.  It seems like her twang gets more pronounced.  She and Christian lost the ACM award for best duo this year after several years. Her last album was very, very poppy and different.  I didnt like any of the single and maybe her fan base wasnt thrilled either since they lost to a new group, Thompson Square whos hit was Are You Going to Kiss Me or NOt. 

    I also saw another singing competition, I dont know if its going to be online or or tv, but the winner gets to perform in Las Vegas.

  • Tess

    Ah…Spense…so, so true.  They can call me an old foggie, or a sparkle cow, or any other suitable deregatory term but I still loves me my legends.  I paid $500 bucks a ticket to see Roger Waters on a tour and I’m not even going to say what I paid for the last Pink Floyd US tour (with my stud, David Gilmour). I’m not even ashamed to admit that I have been to a Stones concert, a Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Cher, Fleetwood,  and a host of others over the last 10 or 15 years.  And if a Motown revival rolls in to town I am first to buy my tickets.  These acts gave me hours and hours of pleasure for over 50 years and I have no trouble still supporting them after all these years.  And when I buy CD gifts I always buy someone current my great nieces and nephews like and then, based on their interests, I’ll throw in a classic from the past.  Its amazing how the young-ins glom on to the old stuff and inevitably call me to find out some more stuff they should buy and listen to.  

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Kelly will be awesome on this show, and the other three are also awesome.

  • Bobbi

    Couldn’t agree more, Spenser! Respect is due.

  • Bobbi

    Nice to hear, Tess! I do the same thing. At least that way, if they ever appear on their generation’s Idol, they won’t stand there like dummies, not knowing who Neil Diamond is! The lack of pop music historical knowledge in the younger kids astounds me. I miss the contestants like Taylor, Elliot, Blake and so many more who not only knew, but revered many of those that had come before them.    

  • Jenna

    Their radio markets do overlap, but I think their fanbases are quite different. Thicke seems stay more within that R&B niche, while Legend’s more fusion-y sound has given him more crossover appeal. Even though he is more of a neo-soul type singer, I see him get grouped with people like Jason Mraz a lot, who similarly doesn’t have a lot of crossover hits (save I’m Yours) but tons of wide recognition among younger audiences.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, now I feel better :).  When my kids were babies (they’re 11 & 8 now), and I would drive them to the baby-sitter on my way to work, we did the history of great American music.  I made cd’s for each decade, starting about in the 40’s.  We’d do one decade each week, then when we got to the end of the 2000 CD, we’d start over.  

    My dad was a musician and my mom lived and died by Motown, so my brother and I knew the words to every Four Tops song before we were 3.  I wanted to give my kids that same history.  And, they know who Neil Diamond is!  (The classic rock loving Mr. Spens is a HUGE, closet Neil Diamond fan LOL).  And of course, I always got excited when we got to the 80’s so I could explain to them how Madonna RULES :).

    So, funny story…. my 11 year old comes home from a friend’s house to ask to download this great song his friend found onto his iPod.  He searches for the song and finds it and hands it to me to type in the password and guess what it is?  Freaking Vanilla Ice LOL.  I guess the moral to the story is that sometimes the kids discovering old music is not always a good thing!  I’m now in my second phase of living through ICE ICE Baby.  

    (And, my apologies to mj for completely derailing the thread!)

  • Jenna

    I personally don’t consider Lionel Richie a has been or anything and definitely have a lot of respect for his career, but as someone that wasn’t even alive during his prime, I’m not going to prefer watching him over someone more current purely because he sold 100 million record 20 years ago and the other didn’t. I mean I love listening to his hits from that time and think he is still a great performer, but right now, I connect more with someone that is part of my generation and I have been able to see enter the industry and can actively follow.

  • Anonymous

    Personally I would much prefer Lionel Richie as I really can’t stand John Legend at all.  There’s just something about his affected type of singing that annoys me.  Also Lionel Richie looks like he could be the dad of my high school sweetheart, so every time I see him I sorta have that lovesick puppy look on my face.  He has aged well, and I love his earlier work with the Commodores, so there’s where my allegiance is.  Anyway, I will still watch because of Kelly and Robin.

    Oh yeah, Legend is only that in name.  Lionel is a legend, period.  No trade up at all.  

  • Anonymous

    I loved a derailed thread, lol!

  • Allison

    Getting a younger, current guy? Makes the show sound better already.

  • Allison

     great story, Spenser. I love when kids discover stuff you were into. Not Ice, Ice, Baby, but you get my drift.