Duets Recap: All Roads Lead to J Rome

Some folks might gripe that Duets is yet another reality singing competition that’s guaranteed to produce a male winner — yeah, there’s not a lady to be found in the Final 3 — but I’ve got a bigger gripe with ABC’s low-wattage summer series: Of the six songs covered during the show’s Season 1 (Season Only?) performance finale, there’s not one that hadn’t been previously covered on American Idol or The Voice.

I know, I know…this kind of “crime” probably only matters to a handful of reality-competition junkies like myself, but given that Duets hasn’t delivered a genuinely buzz-worthy moment over the last eight weeks, you’d think the show’s mentors/producers might’ve dug a little deeper — tried to get a little more creative — entering the final voting round of the competition. And no, I don’t think a tagline like “Duets: We believe in recycling!” qualifies.

But anyhow, I digress. And actually, I’m pretty sure I can forgive and forget as long as the impeccably consistent and clearly superior J Rome triumphs over Jason Farrol and John Glosson in next week’s season finale. Let’s recap how the action went down after Bridget Carrington got her walking papers and John Glosson was spared to sing for another episode. (J Rome and Jason escaped the Bottom 2 altogether, obviously.)

J Rome (with Jennifer Nettles): “Break Even” | Watching J Rome color outside his genre, I came to a realization: Dude is actually good-good, not just good in terms of the show. John Legend was right, too, that the guy has great chemistry with J.Net — there’s almost like a telepathic connection in the way they hit their notes together to conjure up particular emotions. Bonue points for J Rome’s black vest with beige lapels and his baggy beige pants — hands-down the outfit of the night. Grade: A-

Jason Farol (with Kelly Clarkson): “Mr and Mrs. Jones” | I agreed with John Legend (a pretty solid judge, if say, Idol is looking to knock Randy Jackson off the right end of the table) that Jason took a step backwards with this ballad. The first verse was the weakest, and while the kid’s voice opened up nicely on the bombastic breakdowns, Robin Thicke had a point that from an emotional perspective, there really wasn’t a strong sense of a grown-ass man embarking on an illicit relationship with a married woman. Side note to Quddus & Robin: Your “innocent” mentions of Jason’s “teenage girl” fan base has been duly noted. It’s clear who you guys don’t want to win. Grade: B

John Glosson (with Jennifer Nettles): “The Prayer” | John is usually pretty solid pitch-wise, but I felt like the opening verse was a little too low for his comfort zone, and the final verse fell part like a bargain brand paper towel tackling a grotesque Starbucks counter after the morning coffee rush. Plus, dude still hasn’t learned to rein in his talent-show tendencies, like that corny cock of his head at the end of “lead us to a place.” In the recent history of “The Prayer” covers: Jessica Sanchez > Chris Mann/Christina Aguilera > John Glosson/Jennifer Nettles. Grade: C

SOLO ROUND (In the spirit of the show, shouldn’t this have been a second duet, maybe with each contestant pairing up with an opposing mentor?)
J Rome: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” | J.Net is right: Her season-long leader came to the competition and has just gotten better with each week. Loved his “up the steps” dance move — it’s nice to see somebody on this show knows how to move while staying on pitch, no? Grade: B+

John Glosson: “Bless the Broken Road” | Was it just me or did emotions get the best of him? I heard a lot of unexpected quaveriness, and the second to last glory note was flat as a well-pressed panini. Grade: B-

Jason Farol: “Runaway Baby: | If I’d have known I was headed to a karaoke bar, I’d have had a second glass of Sauv Blanc with dinner. Jason was mostly in tune, but there was a feeling of desperate amatuerness that pervaded the performance. Getting trapped in the caged-in gauntlet between the judges and audience didn’t help. Dude is no Joshua Ledet. Grade: C+

What’d you think of Week 8 of Duets? Did you actually vote for any of the contestants? Who’s your pick to win? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, 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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  1. Marianne says:

    I don’t care which GUY wins here. Meh. I do so agree about Jessica Sanchez’s version of The Prayer > than the others mentioned. I just kept thinking of hers during John’s performance. No comparison, imo. Also – definitely in agreement that John Legend would be an excellent choice for a new Idol judge!

  2. Forwarddad says:

    Don’t care either who wins – j Rome good. John Legend would be a good judge though.

  3. Zach says:

    Jason & Kelly’s duet of Mercy was my fav duet of the season so I hope Jason wins. Plus Kelly’s & Jennifer’s fanbases will be the only ones voting that much so J. Rome and John’s votes will be split and Kelly’s votes will push Jason over the edge for the win.

  4. Kirk says:

    This is an awful concept of a show. The overtly obvious talent of the professionals makes most of the contestants look like slackers. I couldn’t care less who wins. I’d have rather watched a season of Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles singing songs together.

    • ASH1157 says:

      J Net and Kelly are really the only reasons I’ve kept watching. I’ve always loved Kelly C., but Jennifer Nettles can really SANG!

  5. Tiff says:

    Yeah, I do find it interesting that Kelly and Jennifer have never sung a duet together. Are they waiting until the finale to do that? If so, that’s worth the price of admission.

    Other than that, J Rome is awesome. He obviously deserves this way more than the other two. I like John Glosson a lot, but he messed up big time last night. And Jason is cute, but he’s just not ready.

  6. djm says:

    I’ve tried to be a good Kelly Clarkson fan and watch, but honestly I just don’t care. I don’t like J Rome at all (sorry, but there is just nothing UNIQUE or all that interesting about him – other than that mole between his eyes), John Glosson reminds me of a youth minister that has a good voice, but there is nothing compelling about him as a “performer”, and Jason is a good screamer, but I’ve yet to see the softer side of him (although I think he’d be GREAT on Glee).

  7. TheBeach says:

    Glossen’s voice, while usually on pitch, comes across as thin and reedy without the richness of a Groban or Buble (his stated genre). Jason seems like a nice kid but pretty amateurish and that Mrs. Jones song was a horrible choice. J Rome is always on pitch with a much more polished and professional stage presence. He should win, but who knows?

    • JoJo says:

      @TheBeach – yup. You wrote my post for me. While Glossen’s voice is technically good, I really disliked his tone. Reedy and lacking richness is a great description. I kept thinking – too high, never changes, no texture, a hard timber or pitch for my ears. It seemed that the diva ballads were the only songs that gave him any chance to shine through the glory notes.

  8. Nick says:

    Bridget shouldn’t have gone home!!

  9. Really, they could pair anyone with Jennifer Nettles and they’d make the finale of this show. I’ve always like her but had NO idea how truly versatile her voice is.

    I could line up 500 other guys that sound just like J Rome, he’s good but not unique by any stretch. John has a beautiful voice but I couldn’t see him with the star power to sell out a decent size venue. However, pair them with Nettles’ A-M-A-ZING voice and their voices are elevated.

    As for Jason, I think he made the finals DESPITE Kelly’s voice. I mean Kelly’s voice is also amazing, but I’ve yet to hear her voice blend well with anyone else’s voice on the show, even the other stars.

    Maybe the next reincarnation of duets could just be contestants singing with Jennifer only?

  10. Alienate says:

    Please….. Let there be no season two.

  11. FreeHaley says:

    As you say, one refreshing change is that a guy winning it this time won’t be a travesty as it was with the other two this year. I think J ROme will win and you can’t really argue with it.

  12. Hakeem Ramus - Dallas, Texas says:

    I think the writer here is a LITTLE biased against white guys that happen to believe in Jesus. John Glosson has the best voice of all of the contestants. Close your eyes, drop your bias, and listen.

  13. Becky - New York City says:

    Someone named “J” will win and it won’t be J Lo. How J Rome is an amateur I don’t get? He has a fan club on YouTube with 150,000 members and has ben singing professionally with the Michael Jackson Revue in Europe and the U.S. for several years. He’s good – just saying he’s no amateur. Funny you think Glosson bombed when Thicke said he was better than J Rome last week, Kelly said he was “amazing” , Legend said he was wonderful, hit all the high notes, low notes and everything in between perfectly and of course Jennifer loves him. Glosson has talent – a beautiful voice. He is not as polished as J Rome – which is to be expected considering J Rome’s resume. Bottom line – Jason just doesn’t have the voice of Glosson or the stage presence of J Rome. This is a popularity contest now but I hope we all LISTEN to the voices and ignore the glitz.

  14. Hakeem - Dallas, Texas says:

    I agree with Becky. J Rome is a pro – guess he met the “amateur” qualifications some how so I am not complaining. That said, the best voice belongs to John Glosson. Jason comes in 4th – should have been behind Bridgette.

  15. B J Hawk - Florida says:

    John Glosson gets my vote. While J Rome is more “polished” as an entertainer and a good singer. Simply put John Glosson has the voice. Jason is not on their level – maybe some day after MANY voic lesson but not yet. Hopefully this won’t end like “Idol” as a popularity contest rather than a talent contest.