In its second week, Duets wasn’t any less clunky than the premiere episode. During the two-hour show, we learned almost nothing about the contestants’ personalities, so the main attraction was still the celebrities. That’s not terrible, assuming you’re a fan of Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles or John Legend. But chances are you’re not setting your DVR every week if you could care less about those people.
Plus, the concept is a little convoluted, with super-secret scoring and a leaderboard that’s annoyingly cleared from week to week, which means the first person to perform is automatically in first place for awhile, if not the entire night. But there’s still hope for this show – especially since they have the option to shake things up when it goes live in a couple weeks. Our suggestion? They should either keep the leaderboard intact week to week or, better yet, just scrap it and the useless scoring altogether. Fingers crossed.
Adding to the scattered feel of the show was the fact they waited a full hour to reveal that one of Team Legend’s contestants had been tossed and a replacement was needed. Sadly, this just underscored the fact that viewers have zero connection to the amateurs.
And for the second week in a row, no one was eliminated, so everyone will be back yet again next week. Then, please, let the bloodletting begin before we die of boredom! Anyway, here’s how the contestants ranked after performing the “Greatest Duets of All Time” with their mentors.
1. (tie) Meleana Brown and John Legend
The other contestants must be pissed, as this chick just swooped in and took over the top spot with less than 48 hours of prep. Replacing the mysteriously missing Johnny Gray – who parted ways with the show due to “unforeseen circumstances” – she was handpicked from a last-minute open audition in which John literally pointed at people and barked “sing!” And sing she did, performing a virtually flawless rendition of the Lionel Richie-Diana Ross duet “Endless Love” with her mentor. It also earned the best critique of the night when Robin kookily compared their performance to a sandwich that has “the perfect amount of onion.” Think his random tangents have anything to do with his recent drug arrest? Just wonderin’ . . .
1. (tie) J Rome and Jennifer Nettles
Tying with Meleana for the coveted No. 1 position, J Rome proved his frontrunner status last week wasn’t just beginner’s luck. This pairing put on the most entertaining duet of the night with “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease, complete with choreographed steps, props and backup dancers. This would have definitely been the fan favorite if viewers were voting, even though Kelly pointed out that it wasn’t very “challenging” vocally. And leave it to Robin to give J Rome a “10 for presence and pelvic thrusting.”
3. Bridget Carrington and John Legend
Last week Bridget came in sixth, so this was a big jump for her – probably because she was the first to perform for the night and easily topped an empty leaderboard. But it could have also been because of song choice. Legend himself admitted the track they did last week was “too low” for her voice, so this time around he chose the Aretha Franklin-George Michael hit “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” It was a better fit, kind of like her fierce dress, which Robin said looked like “a bag of Skittles.” Got the munchies much, Mr. Thicke?
4. John Glosson and Jennifer Nettles
Last week this guy stole the show vocally, so it was surprising when he landed at No. 4. This week, he stayed in the same spot, and it was more justified. Their rendition of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was good, but nothing extraordinary. And Nettles’ gawky dancing and awkward hand gestures were really distracting. Thankfully, the judges sitting on the sidelines pointed that out. Kelly said they looked “a little hokey and cheesy” while Legend thought it was too “Broadway.” That’s your cue to tone it down, Sugarland lady!
5. Jordan Meredith and Kelly Clarkson
Even Kelly admitted “everyone else has way more experience” than her two singers, which is the biggest downfall of Team Clarkson right now. But by performing the soulful Pink tune “Misery,” Jordan came out of her shell a little bit, moving up two slots from last week. Unfortunately, as pointed out by a couple of the judges, her voice was pitchy and she was overpowered by the American Idol alum’s stage presence. But seriously, who can compete with “Miss Independent” herself?
6. Alexis Foster and Robin Thicke
This poor woman has no stage presence whatsoever. While she wasn’t as awkward and stiff as last week, there’s still something off about her movements. That’s probably why she hid behind Robin’s piano for half the song (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By”), eventually teetering out to distract us with her too-short skirt. Nice try, but it wasn’t enough to make us turn a blind eye to her shortcomings. In fact, we’re surprised she ranked so high again. (Last week she came in a baffling third place.) Perhaps if she dressed in more sensible clothes she might feel more comfortable onstage. Give the girl a tracksuit, stat!
7. Jason Farol and Kelly Clarkson
Nerves got the best of him last week, leaving him at the very bottom of the leaderboard. He fared only slightly better with this week’s Mariah Carey-Brian McKnight duet “Whenever You Call,” moving up one measly slot. But, hey, it’s better than dead last again, right? While the judges acknowledged he improved, they were still somewhat harsh in their criticism, pointing out his reliance on Kelly as a “crutch” and his being too pitchy. Such a poor showing two weeks in a row could spell trouble for this half of Team Clarkson.
8. Olivia Chisholm and Robin Thicke
Falling from fifth place last week, this duet (Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack’s “Where Is the Love”) definitely belonged at the bottom. It was lacking from every angle imaginable. The duo had no chemistry (how is that possible when Robin’s involved?); Olivia’s voice was high and pitchy, and she just looked lost and confused for most of it. It may have had to do with the fact she’d never heard the song before performing it and got chastised by Robin during rehearsal for forgetting the lyrics. But at the “live” performance, it was actually Robin who flubbed some words. Thank God he’s pretty, right? ‘Cause it seems like his team is in just as much trouble as Kelly’s at this point.
Last week: Hey Everybody – A New Singing Show!