Duets: Did the Right Contestant Get Booted?

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:

Judges’ Leaderboard
J Rome
Bridget
John
Jordan
Jason
Meleana
Olivia

My Rankings
J Rome
Meleana
John
Bridget
Olivia
Jordan
Jason

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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Stacie says:

    Other than J Rome or John, if anyone was up against Robin Thicke’s last person, Olivia, they were going home. They were not going to allow Robin to have no one left, especially when they are close to the live rounds. It probably should have been Jason, but Meleana wasn’t so great either. This show is pretty bad, the scoring is odd, but I keep watching. Mainly because I like Kelly Clarkson, and I think Jennifer Nettles is a good judge/mentor. But it’s really not a great show.

  2. jen says:

    sorry but Meleana and Olivia were by far the worst. As for Jon having Meleana singing Kelly Clarkson, that just proved the girl is no Kelly Clarkson. Bad bad song choice.

    • TheBeach says:

      Sorry, Michael, but Meleana was definitely not the second best last night. Her energy couldn’t make up for her pitchiness. She was all over the place.

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah. Though I like Meleana based on her performances on the episode she was the one that deserved to go. I thought Jason actually did a really good job this week and thought he should have been higher. It was J Rome who just didn’t do it for me out of the top ones. It was exactly how Kelly described it… Too much Michael.

  3. Rollin'Stoned says:

    The only reason I’m still watching this (by dvr and FFing through 3/4ths) is Kelly Clarkson. This has got to be the world’s worst reality show scoring system.

  4. rhonda says:

    They’ve never hid that the scores were based on “performance” and “presentation”. In fact on the very first show when they briefly explained the scoring system, it was right there for everyone see. If anyone was paying attention, when they showed the ipad screen the judges uses, it was plain as day that that was what they were supposed to be scoring on…1-50 on each. But I get it, just something else to try and pick apart about the show.

  5. Josh R says:

    The “Since U been gone” duet was really bad. Didn’t suit John Legend’s voice either. And both of the “sing for your life” performances weren’t very good either. It’s a strange show b/c the mentors usually outshine the contestant

  6. tlc19 says:

    Gotta say that I’m still watching for Kelly and Jennifer. I love to hear them sing… not so much the contestants! Kelly is just such a powerful, unique voice that I just feel bad for anyone trying to sing with her. She’s a force. And I think J Nett is a fabulous mentor/coach, but she’s got such a different and entirely hers kind of tone… it’s just hard for me to concentrate on what the contestants sound like. Duets seems like a great idea, but I’m not sure how it’s working out in the real world!

  7. MA says:

    I’m still watching. I fell asleep on and off last night and finally gave up after J Rome, but I thought Jason was great! Much improved from previous performances. And Jordan hung in there. Kelly outsang her and she looked uncomfortable, but she wasn’t bad. The first two women I saw (Bridget and Olivia) were super boring, I thought.
    ***
    I really liked Jennifer telling Jordan not to wear those shoes if she didn’t want to, and to “tell ‘em no if you don’t want to wear them!” It’s good advice for all performers about not being pushed to do something that’s uncomfortable. Even though this show is slow and Robin is smarmy and the contestants aren’t that great and the scoring is bizarre, I still like it because it’s got a much more artist-centric feel. Yeah, the judges are super nice, but I like super nice. It’s a pleasant diversion from most of the a**holery that’s usually on TV. Also it’s got Kelly Clarkson. That’s enough to keep me around.

  8. gailer says:

    This show is not good. No wonder Lionel pulled out. I FF and only watched the ending last night. Kelly and Jennifer are good, the guys not so good.

  9. dukeroberts says:

    Kelly, John and Jennifer are all such good singers that it makes Robin Thicke look even worse when he’s up on stage being super cheesy. They also overshadow their duet partners. Well, actually, Jennifer’s partners are both really good. I can’t say the same for anybody else’s.

  10. sam says:

    I thought they were both bad. Honestly, it’s very clear who’s the best here.

  11. noa says:

    i say- cancel this show and put Kelly and Jennifer Nettles on American Idol instead of Randy and J-Lo. and those will be results night performances i WOULDN’T mind. the only performance i enjoyed this week was J Rome’s, who i didn’t like before. i guess his authentic self is cheesy, and when he channels MJ i like him. NOT a good sign, ha? :) and my warning to Jordan last week was right- flats is the answer to her problems. do it Jordan- i have faith in you.

    • Stacie says:

      Kelly as a judge on American Idol would be epic. Completly full circle. I’d love that. It’s probably too big a commitment for her, but that would be so good. She is always right on with her points and yet is still fun and cute. I actually didn’t like Jennifer Nettles’ music but since she’s been on the show I’ve really enjoyed her.

    • Deb says:

      Actually I would love to see Kelly, Jennifer Nettles and John Legend take over the AI judges panel. John and Jennifer are very articulate and specific in their critiques and I believe they would be more direct on that show. Kelly is not as articulate as John and Jen – but she is getting better. Will be interesting to see how it goes in the live shows.. that’s the real test. But this three some would be an awesome panel for AI. The fans would love it. Another good one would be Shania Twain.

      • noa says:

        you’re right. the real test will be the live shows. still can’t imagine anyone being worse than Randy though.

  12. Larry says:

    We think that letting Meleana go was a big mistake. I was so upset about that I will not watch another show.

  13. Deb says:

    As soon as I heard John & Meleana start singing SYBG I knew it would end in tragedy. That was a horrendous performance. He was not good either – it just did not work on any level. The judges gave her the correct rating. John should have thought thru what would happen if the performance flopped — They have to be thinking ahead. The human factor will always prevail — the other judges would not leave Robin w/out a partner going into the live shows and they all knew that Meleana was a threat. Not a good move on his part — he lost his chance to win as Meleana is a better singer than Bridget. If he really wanted to do that song.. he should have waited for the live shows. America might have been more forgiving, but honestly — no one can pull of that song but KC. It was an unnecessary risk – makes me question John’s intelligence.

  14. Juan says:

    clearly Olivia should have lost that one, talk about lacking impact.
    at least Jason tried.
    Speaking of not trying, Jordan.
    for the love of God, if the fact that one of the awesomest singers in pop right now who can actually sing chose you to sing with and regularly lauds you isn’t enough to make you want to do something, anything, then why are you around?

    and on the arbitrary rules
    does Robin Thicke have to go if Olivia does?
    because I don’t think I could handle that.

  15. court says:

    that was such crap….olivia was straight up awful…meleana got screwed but her coaches song choice but she rocked the solo …i agree jason shoulda been in the bottom over her but olivia and robin were awful…it just shows they’re rigging it at least till the live shows because there’s no reason olivia shoulda stayed over meleana…now i assume the credibility is gone, i’m just watching on the dvr for clarkson and nettles..

  16. John says:

    The sound quality is so bad. You cannot hear the singers.

  17. Alienate says:

    If I had a life, I’d stop watching this train-wreck. But, I don’t so I won’t. :)

  18. G says:

    I personally thought Olivia should have been the one to go. I really had to fight myself not to hit the fast forward button on the dvd during her “save me” song at the end of the show. I had a feeling she wouldn’t go though no matter how bad she was since they don’t want to leave one of the coaches with no competitor this early in the show. That is just another thing wrong with this show (along with the stupid secret scoring system). Love Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles, but the competition part of this show really is B.A.D.

  19. magretta morgan says:

    I don’t know how they rate an amature, but I have a daugther who follows J Rome and she saw him on stage as Micheal Jackson in Europe and he was the premier performer. He performe before thousamds of people and has sold many copies of his CD on the internet. Is that fair to all of the “real amatures”

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