Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sound familiar? ABC's 'Duets'debuts

Is there room for another singing competition? Chime in.

Sound familiar? ABC’s ‘Duets’debuts

Clarkson, Legend, Nettles and Thicke (left to right) on ´Duets´
Clarkson, Legend, Nettles and Thicke (left to right) on 'Duets'

There’s always room for another reality competition series, right? Last night, at the same time that So You Think You Can Dance? was ramping up its new season and less than 24 hours after American Idol wrapped, ABC debuted its new singing competition, Duets.

The launch party had pizzazz. The four judges/coaches/mentors/superstars – Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, John Legend, Robin Thicke, and Kelly Clarkson – hit the show’s crazy strobing hamster cage stage for a big opening production number.

Then Duet’s smarmy announcer, Quddus, took over, and it was all downhill from there. Don’t ask me. I don’t have a clue how to pronounce the guy’s name. I think he got it from a board game.

The premise is that each star singer currycombs the country looking for a couple of talented amateurs. (Mostly it seems they look for singers who sound like clones of themselves, except Thicke who is such an egomaniac he wanted sharp contrast to his feathery falsetto.)

Are there too many reality competition shows on TV?

The chosen amateurs then sing with their stars in the hamster cage. The other three pros, sitting in “the superstar lounge” (chairs stolen from The Voice) gush about the performance and then secretly vote to send their competitors’ team to the bottom of the pile.

Kelly Clarkson’s two singers ended at the bottom of the scoreboard at the end of night one. But there’s no shame in that since the tallies were so completely random. Here for instance is Nettles singing “Stay” with her pick John Glossen, a performance that didn’t exactly light up the leaderboard.

It’s not clear yet how this premise will work out over nine weeks. Hopefully Quddus will explain it all for us.

What do you think? Is this one singing contest too many? Take our poll.


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Inquirer TV Critic
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About this blog

A true child of TV, David Hiltbrand has worked as a critic at People and as a columnist and editor at TV Guide.

David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
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