Duets is a little like the lamb chop I had for dinner last night: Perfectly lovely summer weeknight fare, but with tiny morsels that get stuck in your teeth and drive you loopy hours after the meal is over.
Central to the show’s irksomeness is the wretched/”secret” scoring system where the three judges not on stage anonymously enter not one, but two scores for the fourth judge’s amateur partner — is it my imagination, or was the announcement of separate scores for “performance” and “presentation” a new development in the show’s ongoing, haphazard evolution? After that, the Bottom 2 contestants are forced into an a capella sing-off to determine who gets the boot.
In the wake of this week’s nonsensical outcome — seriously, Jason Farol sings with all the impact of a baby duck’s feather falling three inches onto a pile of fabric-softener sheets and doesn’t even have to sing for his life? — the need for the judges to be held accountable for each and every score they give is more apparent than ever. [Must. Suppress. Desire. To send. Strongly. Worded. Tweet. To the amazing Kelly Clarkson.]
Anyhow, since Duets‘ special Wednesday showing put it up against another show I recap — So You Think You Can Dance — I’m a little tardy to the party, which means I’ll keep my reviews of each performance to a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less:
Jason Farol (with Kelly Clarkson): “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” | The dance moves were way too Tin Man, pre-lube job, and the delivery so tentative it felt like the song title required a question mark. Feh!
Bridget Carrington (with John Legend): “Last Dance” | Intro was gaspy, but once she caught the groove, the number built steadily to a rousing conclusion (save for the strained, final “tonight”).
J Rome (with Jennifer Nettles): “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” | Kelly was right, the costumes/staging were too MJ tribute band, but the vocals were flawless, and the duo’s hip-swivelin’ game was on point.
Olivia Chisholm (with Robin Thicke) “Let’s Stay Together” | 1) A capella closing was swoon-worthy — oh her tone! — but ‘Liv had all the energy of an infant waking from a nap. 2) This is a party jam? 3) Martini-bar staging? NO!
Jordan Meredith (with Kelly Clarkson): “I Love Rock & Roll” | Dang if Kelly didn’t sound stellar, but the judges were right that Jordan’s heels of doom quashed the magnetism she brought last week.
Meleana Brown (with John Legend): “Since U Been Gone” | The vocal wasn’t perfect, but Mel brought conviction & electric energy on a week where her weakest rivals were powered by hamsters on wheels.
John Glosson (with Jennifer Nettles): “Life Is a Highway” | I have a not-so-secret love of this ham jam, and John brought the necessary cheese. (J.Net is a good coach!)
Anyhow, with that said, here’s how the leaderboard looked for Week 4, followed by my own personal ranking for the night:
With Olivia and Meleana participating in the end-of-show a capella sing-off, conventional wisdom gave the edge to Robin’s last contestant. And when Olivia brought originality and a depth of emotion to “I Can’t Make You Love Me” that was missing from Meleana’s strong-but-merely-competent reading of “Saving All My Love for You,” the deal was sealed. Bye-bye, Ms. Brown! It shoulda been Mr. Farol!
What did you think of Week 4 of Duets? Who were your favorites? Did the judges choose the right Bottom 2 this week? And did the right one go home? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!