Monday night’s American Idol featured the 12 contestants who performed live solos in front of the judges. But only, this time, they paired up with celebrity artists for some epic duets. At the end of the episode FIVE singers went home. Next week, the other half of the Top 24 go through the same process, and a Top 14 will be revealed. We are getting ever closer to the live shows, which begin on April 29
But what about those “epic” duets? I have mixed feelings about pairing contestants with famous singers during the competition. While it’s fun to watch established artists perform with the newbies, it also has its drawbacks. For the most part, the duos were performing songs by the celebrities. I suppose challenging the contestant to keep up with a star is a worthwhile exercise for a competition. Can they adapt and shine? But it doesn’t always result in the most compelling performances.
To the point–it’s going to be very hard for an artist to “make the song their own” when actually performing that song with the artist who originally recorded it. Also, there’s always the chance the celebrity will overwhelm the contestant. I prefer performances that challenge the contestants to be original artists. How can a singer take a cover to a new place? In the end, I preferred solo night, which I wasn’t expecting!
In any case–the best duets came from contestants who were matched up with a sympatico artist. Allowing Dennis Lorenzo to reprise his audition song with Allen Stone may have been a little unfair. I mean. what’s he gonna sing at the finale? Heh. But these two kindred spirits performed the best duet of the night. Sugarland’s duets with Layla Spring and Gabby Barrett worked for the same reason. Also the best duets came from matchups where the celebrity artist was careful to allow their partner to shine. Allen Stone, Sugarland, Andy Grammer were all extremely generous duet partners. Bishop Briggs–as talented as she is–not so much. Trevor McBane was completely overwhelmed as a result.
Next week–more of the same! But until then…