Summer TV preview: Will Kelly Clarkson lift ABC’s ‘Duets’?

Will Kelly's show succeed?

While there are some shows out there at the moment that are very much a sure thing in the summer (see “So You Think You Can Dance” or “America’s Got Talent“), there are also those that are more or less still a giant question mark.

With that in mind, we turn to ABC and their new series “Duets.” It’s a show premiering on Thursday night against “SYTYCD,” and it has some star power courtesy of Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Jennifer Nettles. As for whether stars will equal success, that is an entirely different story.

The pros – After the premiere, “Duets” will largely exist on a night where there will not be much in the way of reality show competition. Plus, it is a premise that works well for the summer format — rather than meeting a massive heap of singers that we struggle to get to know all season, each mentor will have two duet partners that they spend the coming weeks working with. We will genuinely get to know these people, which is something that we can’t say when it comes to “The Voice.”

Also, you cannot balk at the presence Kelly in particular brings to the show — while the other three mentors are a bit more in the unknown when it comes to their onscreen personality, we know that the original “American Idol” has a great sense of humor and is unafraid to speak her mind. That will help her in a competition like this.

The cons – Before “Duets” even premieres, we have to admit that we are sick of singing. In between “The X Factor,” “The Voice,” “Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” and some of the British competitions that we watch, that’s a lot of singing to deal with in the span of one year. Do we really need any more?

We also are a bit concerned here when it comes to the show’s timing. With “Idol” ending Wednesday, 24 hours is a quick turnaround for singing show fans (even hardcore ones) to get invested into something new.┬áPremiering┬áthe show on the same night as “SYTYCD” may turn out to be a mistake — although they are not going to compete with each other every week, by the time week roles around fewer people may be invested after missing the first two hours.

The verdict – Is “Duets” worth a shot? Definitely. Is it going to be a hit? We’re not that optimistic. The show is entering a crowded field, and we just don’t know what sort of talent is going to be out there — the best singers are going to audition for a proven commodity more so than a new show, and the talent pool has to be waning at this point.

We hope that we’re pleasantly surprised and this format turns out to work, but it’s hard to give a ringing endorsement to an idea that does not feel altogether like a breath of fresh air.

Photo: ABC

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