ABC’s ‘Duets’ review: J Rome shines in first elimination episode

Someone's artist is out of the competition.

For the first time all season, “Duets” finally had an elimination Thursday night — but it happened in a rather bizarre way. Basically, the show told us that the first two weeks of the performances meant nothing, and the elimination would be between the two people who were ranked the lowest on the leaderboard following the first round of performances. To make matters even stranger, the bottom two went against the very theme of the show and performed solos.

So who did enough to stick around, and who had us choking up? Read on to find out!

The performances (ranked lowest to best)

8. Alexis Foster with Robin Thicke, “Killing Me Softly” – After coming across like the the resident Simon Cowell of the show last week, Robin cheered things up a little bit by goofing off in rehearsals. He flung his mic around, messed with Alexis, and reminded her that they were actually meant to have some great chemistry.

There was a big improvement on what we have seen the two parties do on the show in the past, and we actually think the mentors made a bit of a mistake in scoring her as low as she did.

7. Jason Farol and Kelly Clarkson, “Hallelujah” – The biggest problem with Jason is that he’s too much of a nice guy and not enough of a superstar. He seems nervous and hesitant on stage, and his voice (while great) is weaker than many others in this competition.

With him in the bottom two, he was our pick to be eliminated before the sing-off even happened.

6. Olivia Chisholm and Robin Thicke, “Crazy in Love” – Does anyone else find it slightly ironic that Olivia actually looked a bit like Kelly Rowland while singing this Beyonce song?

Robin did an outstanding job getting Olivia’s confidence to rise before this performance. She legitimately looked and acted like a star out on the stage. She does not have the same vocal pipes as Beyonce, and as corny as Robin trying to be Jay-Z was to watch, this was his team’s best performance of the season. At the same time, the mentors didn’t exactly agree — and now we’re thinking that everyone is dogpiling on Robin like they were Kelyl earlier in the season.

5. Meleana Brown and John Legend, “If I Ain’t Got You” – This Alicia Keys song is one that we have heard a thousand times over the past ten years on reality shows, so should it really be a surprise that this really didn’t do anything for us?

It was actually a disservice for Melanea to have to perform such an extensively-covered song on the show, since what could have been a great performance ended up feeling mediocre.

4. Bridget Carrington and John Legend, “Heard It Through the Grapevine” – From this vantage point, this was the most overrated performance of the night. The arrangement here just didn’t feel enough like the Marvin Gaye version of the song, and we didn’t really like Bridget’s phrasing at all.

3. Jordan Meredith and Kelly Clarkson, “Mama’s Broken Heart” – It was nice to see Jordan come out of her shell a little bit and try to be dangerous with a song from Miranda Lambert — who is a close friend of Kelly’s and is also one of Jordan’s inspirations.

This was a marked improvement over anything Kelly’s team has done for most of the season, but at the same time it must be pointed out that it all felt still a little too orchestrated. We just want to see Jordan stomp around the stage angrily a la Skylar Laine from “American Idol” and embrace the performance rather than just her shyness.


2. John Glosson and Jennifer Nettles, “How Great Thou Art” – It’s rare that you see a performance as overtly religious as this on a major-network television show, and what was particularly interesting about it is that John actually made the decision to actually sing the first several bars of it by himself, and from there on out it felt as though Jennifer was singing backup to him.

Take away religion for a minute, and focus just on the vocal quality of the performance — this was one of the finest few minutes of television that “Duets” has produced thus far. Simply stunning.

1. J Rome and Jennifer Nettles, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” – Can J Rome or Jennifer do any wrong? For the third straight week, the Sugarland star dominated the charts and for good reason. While his story about his late grandfather was touching, his performance here was quite frankly beautiful.

The solo performances

Jason Faron, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” – We do like the fact that these singers — even if it is without their partner — are forced to sing without any sort of backup band.

Alexis Foster, “Natural Woman” – The moment that she decided to perform one of the most-popular reality show songs out there, we thought Jason was done. There are just so many opportunities here for some vocal tricks, and she played up on all of them in the fullest.

The mentors debated — and Robin Thicke seemed to make a slight dig at Jason by not calling him “talented” when he did so with Alexis — but in the end, it was a shocker! Jason actually stayed around for another week, and Alexis was the one who was sent packing.

What did you think about the elimination format for this show, and who are you rooting for? Be sure to share your thoughts both  in the comment box below!

Photo: ABC


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