This week on “Duets” the theme is “classic duets,” but we’ll see just how “classic” they all are. Also, we finally get the scoring system – 50 points for performance, 50 for presentation. We still think that’s a huge range and that the judges way overscored the first two performers last week, so hopefully they got that out of their system.
After a duet from Robin and Kelly, and a recap of last week, we get to some sangin’.
1. John and Bridget, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” George Michael and Aretha
Hopefully Legend is going to be a better duet partner this week – more interaction, fella. Get out from behind that piano. You’re not performing in a hotel lounge. Thankfully, he has gotten the message. Unfortunately, this duet doesn’t seem to really suit Bridget – the verses are very lackluster and she’s kind of getting swallowed on the chorus. The second verse is better, but she is no Aretha. Bridget does bust out some runs and some big notes at the end, but it’s still not that great.
Of course, she’s tops of the leaderboard because she’s first. But we don’t expect her to stay there. The judges just throw worthless platitudes Bridget’s way – their comments really aren’t worth much so far.
2. Kelly and Jordan, “Misery,” Pink and Steven Tyler
Beautiful beginning from Jordan, she seems 1000x more comfortable than last week. Ooh, and the harmonies when Kelly joins in are very nice. This is so much more of a showcase than “Stronger” last week (which we liked, but Kelly’s right – it’s not a duet). There is no reason for Jordan to be in the bottom again this week. She and Kelly blend seamlessly and sound so good together.
But the judges rank her below Bridget. Wow, that is not what we would’ve done. Hmph.
3. Jennifer and John, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Jen hilariously is barely containing her irritation at how John was put in third last week and we agree – he should’ve been first. But anyway, when they start, it’s so cute how Jennifer is mouthing the words. They sound great on this. Their voices are very complementary to one another and the song suits them, even with the country twang. The bridge is particularly good. The only unfortunate thing on this song is it shows off the female voice more than the male voice, but Glosson does his thing and that was definitely better than the first two. Well done, hopefully it puts him on top.
Just as an aside – there is a part of us that will hear that song (this version or the Diana Ross version) and will always see Suzanne Sugarbaker in blackface. Heh.
Robin Thicke thinks it was the wrong song and both he and Kelly think it was cheesy, then Legend thinks it was a little Broadway. We guess we weren’t as concerned with the moves so much as we were the sound. But we’re still surprised Bridget stayed in the top spot. Frankly, we think she should be in third at this point.
4. Robin and Olivia, “Where Is the Love,” Donnie Hathaway and Roberta Flack
Should be a great song for them, though Olivia is unfamiliar with it, which is surprising. And once again, Robin will be sexing Olivia on stage. Heh. Vocally, this suits them both but it’s a little boring and a little thin when it starts. You can sing quietly without sounding unsupported. The vocals do get better, the song just stays very *moves hand horizontally in an even line*. You know? Blah. Kind of a snoozer – none of this sexy chemistry we were promised. And then ending is really weak.
We would put that right at the bottom of the leaderboard. We’re totally with Kelly – the song is like “where is the love” 1000 times. And neither female judge thinks the song showcased Olivia, which it did not. Correctly, Olivia is in fourth place.
5. John and Meleana Brown, “Endless Love,” Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
Johnny Gray is off the show for reasons undisclosed. Legend’s new partner is Meleana Brown, whom he found and put on the show in 24 hours, which is crazypants. Crazy. Pants. Anyway, Legend is back behind the piano, which we are not crazy about, but vocally, this is very, very pretty. It’s a little boring, stage-wise, and Meleana gets a little nasally on the high stuff, but for having just put this together the day before, it’s pretty solid. We’d put her third on the leaderboard, honestly, but if you handicap her for having such little time, we’d put her second.
After some stupid comment from Robin about a sandwich, Meleana winds up at first on the leaderboard. That was a little generous, but fine. Also, that song always makes us go, “What? Friends listen to ‘Endless Love’ in the dark” and snicker. Heh.
6. Kelly and Jason, “Whenever You Call,” Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight
Jason has maybe the prettiest tone in the competition. It’s so pure and smooth and this song really suits him. The chorus is beautiful, though he needs to put just a little more oomph behind his harmonies because Kelly is out-singing him a bit. The ending gets better, but he sounds very unsure of his harmonies at parts. This was not that strong for him.
Our order at this point is John Glosson, Jordan Meredith, Meleana Brown, Bridget Carrington, Jason Farol and Olivia Chisholm. Farol does wind up next-to-last after that one.
7. Jennifer and J Rome, “You’re the One That I Want,” “Grease”
We find this a very, very strange choice considering Jen’s duet partner – his voice is not Travolta and you know that’s who it’s going to be compared to. Plus, this song in the movie is very stylized. Hmmm. In her video package, Nettles calls this not only an “iconic duet” but one everybody knows and loves. Well, yes – that’s why you DON’T pick it, plus J Rome is exactly right – it’s corny. It’s from a musical, which means it is automatically cheesy as heck. And also, this is not much of a vocal showcase. We give this a thumbs down as a choice, but we’ll see.
This ends up being just as cheesy as J Rome feared it would be and, like we said, it’s not a vocal showcase. It’s so simplistic and repetitive. This is awful. Total trainwreck. Booo, Nettles. Booo. Is this just some lifelong dream fulfillment to play Sandy in “Grease” or something? (Also – Rizzo rules and everybody cool wants to play her.)
We would put this second-to-last – not quite as bad as Olivia and Robin. But the judges inexplicably tie him with Meleana. Um, what? What is the judges’ hard-on for this guy?
8. Robin and Alexis, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” Marvin and Tammi again
At least everyone recognized from last week that Alexis’ stage presence needs some serious help. Vocally, Alexis sounds great, but sticking her alone behind a piano bopping around and wiggling her head isn’t the best way to solve her stage presence problem. Also, this is another very blah choice by Robin Thicke. The duets he chose are great songs, but they are not electrifying performances by any stretch of the imagination. But as an aside, Alexis does look lightyears better than last week.
She ends up at sixth on the leaderboard. We’d stick her as fifth, so our personal leaderboard would go John Glosson, Jordan Meredith, Meleana Brown, Bridget Carrington, Alexis Foster, Jason Farol, J Rome and Olivia Chisholm.
Once again, we wish we could see the judges’ scores. We also think they are a little bit on crack – sorry, but we disagree with some of their rankings. Are we crazy? Weigh in below in the comment section.