Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles, John Legend and Robin Thicke have each handpicked their amateurs from auditions that the superstars set up after browsing YouTube videos or having friends and family refer contenders. The superstars will work with these unknowns to select songs, coordinate vocal arrangements and stage presentation and, ultimately, perform live on each Duets episode. For the show's first five pretaped episodes, the eliminations will be decided by the judges. After one of the superstars sings with their partner, the three superstars who did not perform will rank the performance on a scale of 0 – 50, taking into account both the amateur's performance and presentation.
At the end of the episode, the two lowest ranked amateurs will take the microphone for an a capella showdown. The judges will vote and the amateur with the lowest score will be immediately sent home. Starting with the sixth episode, which airs on June 28th, the shows will run live and voting will be open to America. The judges will continue to provide their feedback and rankings, but the public will decide which amateurs leave and which continue on.