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Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it to the finale of “Duets.” We’ve suffered through some terrible performances, some horrible judging and Robin Thicke‘s hair, but here we are, stronger than ever. I’m hoping that this is the episode where Lionel Richie FINALLY decides to show up. Although my Magic-8-Ball says the outlook appears grim for that happening, I can guarantee that a boy whose name starts with J will win this show. And may I take a moment to point out, that as I predicted in my very first blog, we’re down to Team Kelly and Team Jennifer.
Although I was sad to miss and recap last week’s episode, I was frolicking around Disney World and was constantly haunted by this show. Promotional posters are on Disney buses and in Hollywood Studios, and I may or may not have been photographed with one. I also rocked some awesome 3D glasses and took in “MuppetVision 3D,” which only served to prove that yes, John Legend and Fozzie Bear are one-in-the-same, except the Muppet has more personality.
Based on the recap at the beginning of tonight’s episode, it seems I didn’t miss much last week except for Olivia (finally) getting the boot and Kelly Clarkson wearing a boot. Apparently the amateurs took on standards, or songs no one wants to hear anywhere but an elevator. I yawn just thinking about it.
We’re kicking off this week’s show with a performance from our superstars, singing “Get Ready” by the Temptations. I had no idea that lyrics of this song included “So twiddle dee-dee, twiddle dee-dum.” I guess you learn something new every day. Fozzie is dressed like Fonzie and Jennifer Nettles is rocking quite the large fedora. Robin Thicke‘s hair looks even more ebullient than normal. Must be all that Porsche-crashing he’s been doing lately. Speaking of crashing, Kelly took quite the tumble in concert and is now being carried around by some hot male backup dancers due to a broken foot. Tough life.
The 3 J’s (John, Jason, J.Rome) and Bridget hit the stage to find out their fates. Having taken no lessons from Ryan Seacrest, our host Quesadilla spews out the results like the possessed girl from the Exorcist in that infamous pea-soup-vomit scene. John and Bridget are the bottom 2, and Bridget is eliminated. Apparently, she sang “Unforgettable” last week. Too bad she didn’t make it through this week to sing “Ironic.” Ultimately, to win this show, your name must start with a J.
J. Rome and Carmen San Diego are up first with “Breakeven” by The Script. Although it’s a decent performance, it’s far from J.Rome’s best. Considering that his musical wheelhouse seems to be soul and R&B, this pop-rock track makes little sense. Equally nonsensical: the metallic fringe on his vest. All of the judges praise J. Rome and blahblahblah, it’s obvious who the show’s producers wants to win.
Jason Farol and Kelly Clarkson are up next, taking on Jason’s choice “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, which saved Jason from elimination in a sing off a few weeks prior. They sound great together, but it’s hard to tell if it’s because of Jason or Kelly or the weird sparkly pendant she is wearing around her neck. Unfortunately, they choose to sit on stools while performing. Sue me, but I was hoping for some dance moves a la “the Sprain,” made famous by Screech and Lisa Turtle at The Max. Jennifer loved it, John didn’t and Robin wished it was naughtier. No surprises there.
The Jennifer Nettles show continues with John Glosson. They tackle “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, and thankfully, Jennifer has lost the fedora. Instead, she has become a country singer, singing Italian Opera. I suddenly feel like I’m in the backwoods of Alabama and my fourth-removed second cousin’s third wife is ordering Manicotti, yet pronouncing it “Monnagutt,” like a Sopranos cast member. Overall, they still sound great together, and I can imagine a CD from John being chock-full of these kinds of ballads that make old ladies (see: Claymates) swoon. When he extends himself into the up tempos, he comes off too cheesy a la Derrick on Full House singing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Although this show is all about the duets, it’s time for some solo performances and J. Rome is up first with Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” It’s slick and polished and cruise-shippy and everything you’d expect from him. He’s confident without coming off conceited, but it’s pretty clear that J. Rome thinks he’s got this competition signed, sealed and delivered. We shall see.
John Glosson continues his quest for domination of Adult and Christian Contemporary radio with “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. He may look like Graham Elliott from MasterChef, but he certainly pulls off a convincing Gary LeVox. In fact, he out rascals the Flatts with this performance, causing Jennifer to throw up her arms and proclaim that she “feels like a stage mom!”
Up last is Jason Farol with “Runaway Baby,” by Bruno Mars, and it’s nice to see him tackle a contemporary song. Although he is sometimes drowned out by the music, his swagger and stage presence have grown in leaps and bounds since this show began. He performs the song much like a runaway baby, jumping up on the audience and jogging around the judges.
We go to the superstars for some last comments. Robin was blown away by Jason, John loved Jason’s energy, but would choose to sign J. Rome to a record deal. Jennifer and Kelly both love everyone and are just.so.happy.tonight. I’ll have whatever those two had before this show, and I’m also demanding that they duet next week.
It’s hard to believe that there’s only one week left, and although the prize for winning this show is even blurrier than the Lost Boys’ food during the food fight scene in “Hook,” someone is going to win something! J. Rome is the safe bet, but I’m putting my money on Jason Farol to take the (multicolored and randomly appearing) cake. He’s got the charm and appeal, the underdog story and Kelly Clarkson on his side. Although KC’s endorsement didn’t quite work for Ron Paul, I have a feeling Jason Farol may fare better with the American voters. Only time will tell!
It’s a big week Duets fans (yes, all 3 of you), we’re going live! The contestants’ careers, or 15 minutes of fame, are no longer in the hands of the superstars, but have been entrusted to the American people! Yes, the same American people who voted for Taylor Hicks and Lee Dewyze…
Moving right along, the show begins with something I will nerdily admit that I’ve missed the last few week’s: a performance from the judges. The fab 4 hit the stage to riff their way through George Michael’s “Freedom,” which clearly fits perfectly with the night’s theme, Song of the Millennium. Erm, what? Also, Robin Thicke may have tried to dress like 80′s-style George Michael, but instead, he looks much more like “90210″-style Dylan McKay, ready to break some hearts at West Beverly High. Speaking of West Bev, Kelly Clarkson has transformed from Brenda Walsh into Kelly Taylor between tapings. Well played, KC.
Our always SO EXCITED host, Quetzalcoatl (Google it.) points out how much the superstars have changed, even more than I just did. Since last week’s episode, big things have happened, like Robin Thicke growing a beard. My BFF, Jennifer Nettles announced that she’s having a baby and I took up knitting in the hopes of being able to make some booties in time. Kelly Clarkson somehow found a time machine that transported her back about 7 years to exactly what she looked like in 2005, and John Legend, is still dull. And muppet-like.
Quddus reminds us that Jennifer Nettles is now the only superstar with 2 contestants left. Now that we know she’s pregnant, it’s obvious she’s been singing for two all along. Interestingly enough, her unborn fetus still has more charisma and talent than Robin Thicke.
First up tonight is Jennifer Nettles and John Glosson, who we learn has A WIFE and a wedding design store. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. He’ll be taking on “When You Say You Love Me” by Josh Groban, and once again, he and Jennifer sound great together. However, it’s more of the same, and I think I’d love to hear this song if I was in an elevator or a dentist chair wearing one of those iron vests that protect your organs from radiation damage. Anyway, Johnny G is way more mega-church than Madison Square Garden, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As the song comes to a close, there’s some theatrics and for a split second, I think they might make out. Now I’m just super uncomfortable and find myself trying to decide if John looks more like Slimer or the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man. I’m thinking the latter.
Next up is Robin Thicke and Olivia “Why the heck are you still on this show?” Chishholm. Seriously, why is Jordan gone and this Beyonce by-product still on my television? If Beyonce was an organic, farm-raised chicken, Olivia would be all the leftover pieces that they grind up into pink slime to make into a school lunch chicken nugget. Robin has chosen one of the best songs of the last few years, and considering that this is a country music blog, I should be excited by his choice of Lady Antebellum‘s “Need You Now.” However, they kill it, and not in a good way. Olivia mentions that this song will show off her strong voice, but instead, it sounds like she’s singing into a tin can. Robin Thicke is certainly no Charles Kelley, except for the fact that they both wear exceptionally tight pants. On certain parts of the song, namely the extended “nows,” Olivia’s sounds like her vocal chords are in a losing battle with a small goat. Now-ow-ow-OW, my ears. The judges try to be nice, but it’s obvious they hated it. I did too.
As we cut to commercial break, I’m wondering if ABC borrowed the superstars’ chairs from that terrible dating show, “The Choice.” Is THAT how Jennifer Nettles got pregnant? Quddus, where do babies come from?
Hitting the stage next are Kelly Clarkson and my TV boyfriend, Jason Farol, taking on Duffy’s “Mercy.” Since the last show, Jason has found some serious swagger, while Kelly found a bottle of peroxide. If she was Miley last week, this week, she is most definitely Hannah Montana. Their performance starts with Jason front and center, hips a-swiveling, while KC takes on backup duties before joining him up front for a full out duet. Together, these two slay the song. I’m not sure where THIS Jason has been hiding the last few weeks, but I’m glad he finally showed up. He picked the right moment to shine and if there were any girls watching tonight between the ages of say 12 and 40, I bet he scored some votes. A tweet from Reba appears on the screen supporting Team Kelly, and I file that under “things not shocking.”
John Legend and Bridget Carrington are up next to take on “Already Go…” I mean, “Halo” by Beyonce. Somewhere, Ryan Tedder is cackling in a stack of money. The way Fozzie sings is totally distracting and someone needs to let him know that he doesn’t need to open his mouth so wide when he sings to prove he’s articulating. Instead, I’m just waiting for him to throw a pie at us or something. Bridget shines here and all of the judges praise her, and for the first time, I’m a Bridget fan.
Last but not least is front-runner J. Rome. He and J. Net will be tackling “Without You” by Usher and David Guetta, or Gwedda if you ask Jennifer. I think that’s a kind of cheese. This video package only reaffirms my desire to be BFFs with Jennifer. This song definitely plays to J. Rome’s strengths and style as an artist, but the performance itself feels like it just lept off the CMT Crossroads stage. J. Rome is smooth and a decent dancer, but Jennifer looks like a marionette who just got her strings cut and found out she can move her arms and legs freely. It’s awkward yet oddly entertaining. The judges love J. Rome once again, and in what must be the utter display of love or an attempt to knock him in the vocal chords, Kelly hurls her sparkly heel at him.
There we have it…the first live episode is a wrap! Although it’s pretty clear who SHOULD go home, it will be interesting to see who actually does. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be shocked to see John Glosson get the boot. He sang first, was rather forgettable and may fall prey to Jennifer’s fans being forced to split their votes between two contestants. However, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the chicken nugget, Olivia, to get kicked out of this Happy Meal.
Who did you vote for, and more importantly, whose flame should be extinguished on “Duets” island?
It’s week 4 of “Duets” and even though we’re sending someone home tonight, everyone’s got their party pants on. I’m anxiously awaiting the opening number and wondering which combination of judges we’ll receive. It’s a total let down when there’s no performance from the judges sans amateurs. I had my fingers crossed for an epic pop-countrified duet from Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles, but am sorely disappointed. Dear Duets Gods, please make that happen. Amen.
We launch right into a brief recap and Quasimodo tells us that the chart is “fresh” this week. Does that mean that the last three weeks were combined together into a cumulative score to make up the leaderboard? That would make sense, but then what happened to Johnny Gray’s (who?!) score? Is Quddus just making up the rules as we go along? I still don’t get it.
The teenybopper in me squeals for Jason, who is opening with The Rolling Stones classic, “Satisfaction.” Kelly attempts to give Jason dancing lessons, and I’m sorry Miss Clarkson, I am fo’ real…Anyway, I love you and all, but I am one of the five people who has seen From Justin to Kelly. Dance ain’t your strong suit. Once they hit the stage, I’m wondering why Jason always rolls up the sleeves of his jackets. Why bother to even wear a jacket if you’re just going to roll up the sleeves? Anyways, this is far and away Jason’s best performance and he works the stage pretty well. When we go to the judges, we learn that, once again John Legend forgot to take his happy pills.
It’s time to du-et again! As you enter the theater, we ask that you move all the way across your row, filling in all available seats. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the “American Idol Experience” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Seriously, if you’ve ever seen the attraction, you’ve seen this show…except the Disney version has a better voting system. To further prove my point, Jennifer Nettles & John Legend open the show with a rousing performance of “Music in Me.” I honestly couldn’t make this up. If you’ve been to the Idol Experience in Disney, you’ve participated in a dance break to this very song, led by Idol-winner Jordin Sparks. I hope the Duets studio has taken a cue from the theme park attraction and installed armchair audience voting devices so we can shatter the judging tablets of doom.
After a brief recap from our host, Kudos (Do they still make Kudos bars? I loved them in elementary school…), we’re off running with Team Robin. Sir Fluffy Hair sits his team down for some “girl talk.” What’s the deal with this guy? One second he’s grinding against their legs, and the next, he’s trying to braid their hair and play Dream Phone. Robin also declares that he was “born an underdog.” Dude, you’re dad was on “Growing Pains” and your mom was a singer who starred on “Days of Our Lives”…Underdog my butt. His first partner of the night is Alexis Foster, who once again forgot to wear pants. She’s tackling “Killing Me Softly” and the only thing I can think about as this performance begins is how their silhouettes look like those creepy commercials for that new reality show, “The Glass House.” Robin’s falsetto adds nothing to this song, but his creepy grunts and moans add even less. They’re killing me softly with this song.
Jennifer Nettles and Graham Elliot from Master Chef are up next. I’m confused as to how he escaped Gordon Ramsay’s clutches, but that’s the only joke I’ll make about John Glosson who takes us to church with “How Great Thou Art.” Jennifer tells us “you can’t rush Jesus” and I want her to be my best friend – except, I’d be embarrassed to be seen out in public with her because she has a penchant for wearing weird clothing. Tonight is no exception as she appears to be wearing some variation on angel wings. The outfit is fitting since John is performing in honor of his deceased brother. They sound all kinds of incredible together. Kelly remarks that she’s secretly plotting on how to get him off the show, and once again, therein lies the problem with a voting system where you judge your competition. Despite that, he jumps to first place and it’s clear that those threats were in jest.
Jordan Meredith is up next, tackling Miranda Lambert‘s “Mama’s Broken Heart” alongside of her idol/mentor/life coach, Kelly Clarkson. It’s clear that Jordan took Kelly’s advice to heart this week because this isn’t the same girl who has been on the show the past few weeks. She braves all kinds of foot fungus by performing barefoot, but they bring the sass hardcore. At times, they both appear to be possessed by some sort of man-hating, foot-stomping demon, but seizure-inducing stage lights aside, this performance is actually pretty fantastic. My only problem is that I feel like Jordan’s tattoo needs a microphone of its own and that the show should be renamed “Trios” to accommodate its performance. Jordan jumps into second place.
John Legend and competition latecomer Meleana Brown are tackling Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You,” and our Lilo-lookalike looks like a different person this week in her sleek white pantsuit. The way John Legend moves his mouth distracts me during this performance and he looks like some sort of odd puppet. Stitch, is that you? They sound great together, but the performance falls a little flat for me. Not good, not bad…just meh. It’s meh-ness puts her into third place.
I think Olivia Chisholm might be the most boring contestant on this show, so she opts to take on one of the most charismatic performers and iconic songs, Beyonce and “Crazy in Love.” Dressed like the “Dancing with the Stars” mirror ball, she takes the stage alongside of Fonzie Thicke. Fonzie takes on Jay-Z’s portion of the song and it comes off like some cheesy hype man at a Bar Mitzvah somewhere in New Jersey. The performance is surprisingly entertaining, but I’m not sure whether it’s due to Olivia or the fact that she picked a great song and has a swarm of backup dancers.
J. Rome & Jennifer are singing “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” and he’s dedicating it to his deceased grandfather. This is going to be emotional for him. It’s also going to be emotional for me because this song always reminds me of Zack and Kelly’s breakup at the prom…Damn you, Jeff! While it’s hard to compete with Jessie and Slater, Jennifer and J. Rome slay this song. How am I supposed to write a snarky review with performances like this?! Jennifer, J. Rome and the rest of the superstahs are all a blubbery mess and if I had a a heart, I assume I would be as well. J. Rome takes first place for the third week in a row.
The Bieber-squeal-worthy Jason Farol is up next, and we learn that he auditioned from his car so his parents wouldn’t hear him singing. KC brings in Jason’s dad who gets all teary-eyed as the two tackle one of the most over-covered songs on the planet, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. They sound great, but Jason needs some of the confidence juice that Kelly gave Jordan to really shine. In the most baffling critique of the night, John the Muppet criticizes Jason’s pronunciation. Hello, Pot, meet Kettle
Closing the show is Miss Hoop Earrings herself, Bridget Carrington with Mr. Mumbler. For the first time, we see the “Duets” band on the stage and these two deliver another solid performance. Kelly says that this girl shines so bright, but I think that it’s just her tinfoil-striped dress. She falls squarely in the middle of the board, grabbing fourth place.
It’s now time for the ominous “show down” between the bottom two. Jason and Alexis must each sing acapella for a chance to stay in the competition. Jason is up first with a rather impressive version of “Me and Mrs. Jones” that stuns Jennifer Nettles. Methinks she wants to be his Mrs. Jones. Pantsless Alexis takes on “Natural Woman” and it’s all kinds of pitchy. In my untalented and untrained opinion, Jason should stay and the pantsless wonder should be sent home. First, the judges give a cheesy, cliche-filled “don’t give up” talk to the contestants before taking to their tablets of doom to send someone packing.
Our host Caboodle, wearing an unusually shiny suit, needs to take some lessons from Mr. Seacrest and work on creating the elimination tension in the studio. For a second, it looks like Kelly Clarkson thinks that SHE is the one possible being voted off the “duets” island. Nope, our first casualty is Team Robin member, Alexis Foster.
Duets, you’ve redeemed yourself tonight. In fact, I suspect that if this episode had been the first of the season, this show would be a much bigger hit. The judging is still flawed and John and Robin’s teams sorta blend together, but consistent contestants like John and J.Rome and underdogs like Jordan and Jason make it worth watching. They also make it clear that the best contestants are those whose names start with J.
Next week, we’re tackling party songs on Wednesday, so put on your party pants (even you, Alexis!) and join us for more tears, more cheese and more obscure Saved by the Bell references!
Although some of the show’s details were as well-guarded as Fort Knox (uh, insanely complicated judging system, I’m looking at you), ABC has been hyping its new singing competition “Duets” for weeks. By combining the superstar power of Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) and Robin Thicke, ABC was attempting to create the musical equivalent of Captain Planet’s Planeteers. With each superstar wearing their unique “ring,” they have the potential to combine to form a musical super force, evidenced by the show’s opening number of “Let Me Entertain You.” Clarkson brings a powerhouse voice and a uniquely unaffected charm, while Robin Thicke is the perfect combination of smug and sexy. Jennifer Nettles seems like the ideal next-door neighbor with her twangy drawl, but she’s a force to be reckoned with on stage, and John Legend mellows out the panel with his cool charm and smooth vocals.
The show quickly launched into the live music, focusing only a bit of time on the audition process, which seemed to be random and at the superstars’ discretion. Team Jennifer hit the stage first and although we may have snarked a bit over her partner J. Rome’s cheesy photo on ABC’s website, the New Jersey native proves to be a vocal powerhouse, shining alongside Nettles on the Sugarland song “Tonight.” The audience and the judges love it (a common theme of the evening) and the show is off with a bang. We’re only one performance in and I’m already convinced that ABC picked the perfect ambassador to make country music shine on this show with Jennifer Nettles.