Duets sent a mixed message during its penultimate episode last night, which was called "Superstars' Choice" even though the main focus was on the amateurs picking one of their own songs. Yes, after what seemed like an infinite amount of duets week after tedious week, the homestretch was largely based on each of the final three singing solo. That's kind of a defeatist attitude for a show called Duets, dontcha think?
But let's back up, because at the beginning of the hour one of the hopefuls was eliminated based on viewers' votes: Bridget Carrington. Her departure leaves John Legend partnerless (like Robin Thicke before him) and the finale overflowing with testosterone.
While unfortunate, Bridget's exit wasn't surprising, considering she had a shaky performance last week. But really, Jason Farol should have gotten the pink slip . . . yet he wasn't even in the bottom two! (John Glosson actually stood alongside Bridget, awaiting his fate.) How or why that drip has lasted this long is beyond us. He keeps getting pushed forward as if he's already signed the coveted Hollywood Records deal. That scares us because, of the three left, he's the least deserving of a recording contract, but it's possible he could come out on top because of the way the judges have gushed about him all season, particularly this week.
For the night's performances, each amateur sang both with their partner and by themselves. Below, we break down who we think will win next week and why.
The Whole Package: J Rome
This guy pretty much has had the competition sewn up since he stepped onstage back in week one. Seriously, it was like "just add water" to this insta-pop star: He has the looks, he has the vocal chops and he knows how to work a crowd. However, that rock star-ready savvy could also be his Achilles' heel. As American Idol has proven over the years, viewers don't always crown the most polished (or deserving) person the winner. Still, week after week he has delivered strong performances, and this week was no different.
For his duet with mentor Jennifer Nettles, he sang the Script's "Breakeven." Maybe it wasn't the strongest or most exciting song choice, but it worked. He sounded good, looked the part and, as always, really gelled with Jennifer. For his solo song he also picked something a little unexpected, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" by Stevie Wonder. As always, he dominated the stage like a seasoned pro, proving he can shine without a celeb by his side. As if we didn't know that already.
The Voice: John Glosson
If the show was based on vocal ability alone, this guy should win. But it's not, so we're predicting he'll be the first to be knocked out next week. Although his voice is velvety smooth and nearly pitch-perfect, he's lacking some stage presence and a contemporary vibe. Case in point: The fact he sang Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion's "The Prayer" alongside mentor Nettles for his duet. While it showed off his range and ability, it was both obscure and snoozy. The most impressive thing about the whole performance was watching Jennifer sing in Italian with a country twang. For his solo, he chose Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road," which might also elude a younger, mainstream audience who's more likely to vote. Plus, he seemed a bit shaky stepping out from behind Jennifer's shadow, sounding a bit pitchy for the first time ever and missing his usual charisma.
The Wild Card: Jason Farol
We're almost inclined to think the judges latched onto this marblemouthed shy guy for shits and giggles because they were so bored or weren't really paying attention. Either way, we'll say it again: We have no clue how he got this far. He should have been tossed the first week of eliminations – or the second, or the third. But for some reason, he kept hanging on. Now, he could win the whole damn thing, especially since the judges have practically tripped over themselves heaping praise on him. All we see is a wet rag.
For his duet with mentor Kelly Clarkson, he sang "Me and Mrs. Jones," which he once performed a cappella when he was in the bottom two for, like, the umpteenth time. He might be the "best looking," with his exotic baby face and dapper suits, but he's just so boring and unpolished it would be a joke if he won. But that didn't stop Robin Thicke from claiming he "brought down the house" during his awkward solo rendition of Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby." To us, he sucked all the life and energy out of the song and somehow made it both boring and cringe-worthy. A truly amazing feat. So if you want to reward that, America, by all means, crown him the winner.
Should win: J Rome. As we said, he's the whole package. His biggest competition is Jason since, aside from voice-of-reason John Legend, the judges really went to bat for the Filipino "heartthrob" at the end of the night. Plus, the producers gave Jason the coveted "pimp spot," which let him perform right before voting opened.
Will win: J Rome. We have faith that America will do the right thing and crown him the victor. Now, don't go dashing our dreams.
Last week: A Less Than 'Unforgettable' Night