I’ll be live blogging the premiere of the new ABC competition reality show, Duets. Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles and John Legend will choose duet partners to compete with live on the show.
I’m going to be real honest….I’m a little burnt out right now on singing competitions. Halfway through Duets, I was thinking to myself, “I’m not sure I can take more of this.” I’m a very impatient person. I hate that there seems to be no such thing as an hour long singing competition anymore. Can we just cut to the singing parts? Skip the back stories and the blah blah? I get impatient during The video packages. They feel a lot like The Voice–filler to fill up the time slot. The competition segments are the best part. It’s pure pleasure to watch great artists like Kelly, Robin, Jennifer and John duet with their newbies. The fact that I get to see Kelly Clarkson freaking SING on my TV set every week is enough to get me to tune in.
I’m hoping future video packages put an emphasis on the stars coaching their partners, and not so much on contestant backstory, unless we are really learning something new about them. Also, I find the judges’ critiques useless. Will there be any real “judging” here? If not, I’m going to be tempted to fast forward through those parts.
Tonight, I was a little perplexed by the judging. I would have ranked Alexis Foster lower and John Glosson and Olivia Chisholm higher. Something tells me Kelly is going to lose a contestant next week, and it will probably be Jason Farol, who doesn’t seem to be ready for prime time.
The show opens with the coaches performing a group number, “Let Me Entertain You”. Oh look! They borrowed Phillips drummers!
Quddus is our host. Every week our superstars will give amateurs a chance to sing with them. The performers will vie for the prize–a Hollywood Records recording contract.
Kelly used her concert tour to find her singers. Robin found his singers in church. Jennifer went across the country, but found someone in her own backyard. Jennifer Nettles found it difficult to narrow her choices down to two.
Jennifer Nettles auditions Rielle, James, Andy, Madeline, Brandon. She’s looking for someone diverse. She visits Brandon at home in Las Vegas to do a “trial run” duet. They sing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. She can’t decide, although she planned to make the decision right away. She heads out to New York City to find more. J Rome “steals her heart” with “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”. He’s looking to take care of his single mother. She is having trouble deciding between J Rome and Brandon. But she goes for the soulful J Rome.
J Rome and Jennifer Nettles – Sugarland’s “Tonight” – They perform Sugarland’s “Tonight” on stage. There are a few pitch things, but this is a very nice duet. Kelly gives them a standing ovation! The superstars who didn’t perform will score each of the amateurs. Kelly: Soulful music rings clear in any genre of music. Robin: You’re very handsome and have an amazing voice. That’s how you kick off duets. John: You are a superstar.
John Legend held his auditions right in the Duets studio. He sets up candles to create a mood! He auditioned Shanta, Tricia, Chelsea, Dallison, Johnny. John thought Johnny riffed too much, but he called him back anyway for a duet audition. They sing “Ordinary People”. John tells him to SING THE MELODY. Because he wrote it. Without the extraneous runs, John felt he nailed it. He chooses Johnny to join his team.
Johnny Gray and John Legend – Ordinary People – John is sits at the piano while they sing together. Johnny’s sweaty face is kind of…distracting. But he does have a very beautiful tone. They blend well together. He saves one nice run to close the song. Quoddus wipes his brow. THANK YOU. Robin says he opened for John Legend years ago. He feels Johnny’s connection to the lyrics. Kelly notes that he’s a happy guy. His vulnerability is sexy. Quodus says he can set them up. Kelly says NO THANKS she has a man! Jennifer loves his low end that makes his voice warm like honey.
The chart so far: J Rome in in first place, Johnny is behind him. this week NOBODY gets voted off.
Robin Thicke auditions singers a the Ocean Way studios in Los Angeles. He’s between Olivia and Dante. He sings with both of them. Dante is an ex-marine. He works with Dante on timing. He sings ahead of the beat, Robin behind. Robin is looking for chemistry with the singer. He auditions Olivia and now he has a tough call to make. He tells Dante that he’s NOT picking him. “It’s not easy” says Robin. He gives Olivia the good news.
Olivia Chisholm and Robin Thicke – Lost Without You – Oh my gosh. This was a no brainer. His chemistry with Olivia is off the charts. Singing this sensual song with a man wouldn’t have had the same impact. Olivia is really beautiful and a fine singer. Quoddus says he felt like he was interrupting something. John: You sounded very sexy. Subtle, sexy approach. You can get into it even more. Jennifer: How authentic is your voice in this genre Kelly: You sound so sexy and you are so beautiful. Unstoppable.
The scoreboard so far: 1. J.Rome 2. Johnny Gray 3. Olivia Chisholm.
Kelly Clarkson auditions her prospective duet partners on the road. She is determined to find the perfect partner because she is soooo competitive. She narrows it down to Julianna and Jason who she has audition ON STAGE at her San Diego concert. Julianna lost her mom to cancer when she was 18. She uses her mom’s legacy to push her. She and Kelly sing “Georgia” on stage. The only problem with Julianna, is that she sings through her nose, rather than through her gut, like Kelly. She sings with Jason and they blend much better. He’s a cutie! He gets a little nervous, and messes the words. She’s worried about how overwhelmed Jason became in front of the crowd. Kelly tells Jason that sh chooses him. She thinks he’s super super special. She breaks the bad news to Julianna and she’s very sad. So is Kelly. She hates breaking bad news.
Jason Ferol and Kelly Clarkson – “Breaking Your Own Heart” – He seemed a lot less nervous in the studio than he did in front of Kelly’s concert crowd. When he’s on he’s really on, but he needs a little more experience. The confidence isn’t there yet. But he is cute as a button and has a ton of potential. Jennifer: When you open up your voice lightens up the room. Robin: You are adorable. I love everything about you. John: I love how much you love being her. Congratulations.
The scoreboard so far: 1. J.Rome 2. Johnny Gray 3. Olivia Chisholm 4. Jason Farol
John Legend looks for his second duet partner. Elizabeth is a Harvard nerd, but she wants to sing too. The second singer is Britney, who is very nervous. Oh. She’s very flat. Bridget is next. She’s 34 years old. She’s very soulful. Beautiful alto. She’s the best so far. John chooses her.
Bridget Carrington and John Legend – Tonight’s the Best You’ve Ever Had – John and Bridget have great chemistry. But while Bridget has great stage presence and confidence, there were some pitchy things here and there. Robin: That songs makes me want to got to club. When you look in John’s eyes, I feel this chemistry. Jennifer: Such sophistication. Classy performance. Kelly: I thought it was hot and sexy. I want to do a duet with him right now.
The scoreboard so far: 1. J.Rome 2. Johnny Gray 3. Olivia Chisholm 4. Bridget Carrington 5. Jason Farol
Jennifer Nettles receives an award from 4H, an organization she was involved in as kid. She plucks a few prospects from the organization to audition. She auditions a series of people, but finds John Glosson who sings in her Nanny’s church. He belts out “How Great Thou Art” and brings Jennifer to tears. She’s looking for someone who can engage, and she feels John has that ability.
John Glosson and Jennifer Nettles – “Stay” – John has got a big soulful, country tinged voice. In other words, he’s a great match for Jennifer. They literally sing their faces off at each other. John is very impressive for an amateur! Kelly: (Crying!) You’re like an angel. So good. Robin: Crystal clear high voice, you blended with Jennifer so well. Robin: You were singing with a beast. You hold your own with a voice like that and then make it your own. It’s a testament to your talent.
1. J.Rome 2. Johnny Gray 3. John Glosson 4. Olivia Chisholm 5. Bridget Carrington 6. Jason Farol
Robin Thicke heads to church to find a gospel singer. He auditions Alexis. He likes her angelic tone. Next, is Jasmine. Liked her adorable personality. She becomes overwhelmed at one point. He appreciates her sweet, subtle tone. Robin chose Alexis.
Alexis Foster and Robin Thicke – Magic – I think I liked her better during her audition with Robin. I definitely prefer his first partner. She’s got great energy, but I’m not feeling any chemistry off of these two. Kelly: You seem so happy up there. Your voice is so beautiful. John. Your tone is so nice and clear. Awesome. Jennifer: I think it was fantastic. You got the crowd going.
1. J.Rome 2. Johnny Gray 3. Alexis Foster 4. John Glosson 5. Olivia Chisholm6. Bridget Carrington 7. Jason Farol
Kelly Clarkson is back in Nashville and she’s looking for someone who blends well with her. She found two girls she liked. Ashley and Jordan. Jordan is borderline obsessed with Kelly. A STAN! She sings “And I Am Telling You”. Jordan is so nervous. She’s crying because she just got to sing with Kelly. Kelly auditions the girls one more at the Bluebird Cafe. Kelly loves Jordan’s tone, but Ashley is more experienced. She chooses Jordan. Total lulz at the Ryan Seacrest-like fake out she just did. She breaks the bad news to Ashley. It’s all about the blend for Kelly.
Jordan Meredith and Kelly Clarkson – What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – Jordan has a huge voice and the blend on the chorus is amazing. These two sound great together. John: Kelly did a great job of finding somebody who matched her tone. Jennifer: I agree. Who is singing lead? Who is singing harmony. You held your own. Robin: The whole stage is bubbling with good times.
Oh noes! Both of Kelly’s partners are in the Bottom 2! Luckily there are no eliminations until next week.
1. J.Rome – Jennifer Nettles
2. Johnny Gray – John Legend
3. Alexis Foster – Robin Thicke
4. John Glosson – Jennifer Nettles
5. Olivia Chisholm – Robin Thicke
6. Bridget Carrington – John Legend
7.Jordan Meredith – Kelly Clarkson
8. Jason Farol – Kelly Clarkson