Yet another singing competition debuted on TV screens Thursday, as season one of ABC’s Duets got underway. The show features four established singers — Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland — each selecting two amateur partners to perform duets with and coach. Duets is hosted by Quddus.
As the title states, all songs are performed as duets. The winning contestant will receive a recording contract with Hollywood Records.
The contestant auditions were conducted on a one-on-one basis with a particular mentor. Viewers saw only a handful of hopefuls in quick succession before the lucky candidates were selected. The choice was strictly up to the mentors, who also serve as judges when their rivals take their turns singing.
Scoring for each duet is based on both performance and presentation, with a total of 100 points available. The contestants are ranked by their score. For the first two shows, there will be no eliminations.
Here’s how the contestants were discovered and how they performed:
— Jennifer Nettles was in Las Vegas for her search for a singing partner. She found Maryland native J Rome, who overcame a botched tonsillectomy that almost killed him. They sang Sugarland’s “Tonight” on the Duets stage. Kelly liked the soulful approach to the song. Robin thought it was a great start to the season and John Legend agreed.
For her second choice, Jennifer went back to her native Georgia to look, as she put it, “in my own back yard.” There, she discovered John Glosson, who happens to sing at the church attended by Jennifer’s grandmother. They performed Sugarland’s “Stay.” Kelly said John sounded like an angel, while Robin said he made the song his own.
— John Legend held auditions for his duet partner in the Duets studio. We saw several hopefuls sing in front of the Grammy-winning artist before he selected Johnny Gray, a gospel singer and karaoke DJ from Fort Worth, Texas. On the Duets stage, the two sang Legend’s “Ordinary People.” Robin said Johnny had a great connection to the song. Kelly thought Johnny was nice and relaxed. Jennifer compared Johnny’s voice to honey.
John’s second partner, Bridget Carrington, hails from Richmond, Virginia. They sang Legend’s “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).” Robin said he liked the chemistry between the two of them, Jennifer said the performance was sophisticated, and Kelly called it “hot and sexy.”
— Robin Thicke auditioned his potential Duets partners in a Los Angeles recording studio. He selected Olivia Chisholm, a piano, violin and guitar player from Charlotte, North Carolina. They performed “Lost Without You.” John thought Olivia had a sexy voice. Jennifer thought the tune was just the right genre for Olivia and Robin.
Next up for Robin was college graduate Alexis Foster from Knoxville, Tennessee. Alexis has acquired a wealth of knowledge about singing and music from school and church choirs. The two sang Robin’s “Magic.” Kelly said Alexis had a beautiful voice, and Jennifer said she “felt the magic.”
— Kelly Clarkson was on tour during the audition process, so she decided to search for a Duets partner at her concerts and bring them up on stage. The concert crowd helped her choose Jason Farol, who was born and raised in Torrance, California. On the Duets stage, the pair sang Clarkson’s “Breaking Your Own Heart.” Robin said Jason was “adorable,” and John thought Jason seemed comfortable on stage.
Kelly’s second partner, Jordan Meredith, admitted being “borderline obsessed” with her mentor. They sang her number one hit, “Stronger,” on the Duets stage. John thought Jordan matched Kelly’s tone, while Jennifer thought the amateur held her own.
At the end of the show, J Rome was on top of the leader board, followed by Johnny Gray and Alexis Foster. Kelly Clarkson’s two partners — Jordan Meredith and Jason Farol — occupied the bottom two positions. Nobody goes home, just yet.
Duets returns next Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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