The new singing competition show Duets (yes, another talent show!) made its debut last night. The show has a bit of a twist in that the judges are famous singers who choose undiscovered talent to sing duets with. After a duet, the judges all rank the performance.
Last night, Kelly Clarkson and her finale duet partner, pink-haired Jordan Meredith, closed the show with a rousing rendition of "Stronger," but the ladies still came in with the second to lowest scores of the night. What happened?
Kelly has the strongest voice of the four judges, who also include Robin Thicke, John Legend, and Jennifer Nettles, and Kelly picked Jordan because she wanted someone who could hold her own. In that, Jordan succeeded. In fact, despite the fact that Jordan was starstruck and clearly nervous, and her voice shook a bit, she had no problem matching Kelly's lung power. But that turned out to be the problem. Jordan matched Kelly too well. A duet should ideally showcase the distinct voices of each singer, like it did in the Jennifer Nettles/John Glosson song "Stay." (And, as an aside, what is up with the staggeringly-high heels the female duets partners are wearing? Seems to be messing up their performances.)
But with Kelly and Jordan, a listener couldn't tell where one voice began and one ended. And the judges took note of this. "Sometimes I couldn't tell you two apart," said John Legend. And noted Jennifer Nettles: "Who's singing lead? Who's singing harmony?"
Both of the judge-singers couched this criticism in the vein of a compliment, telling Jordan how amazing it was that she was able to sound like Kelly. And they'd be right about that. Jordan can definitely sing. But next time we need to hear her, and not hear her and think it's Kelly, or vice versa. Kelly, being the experienced partner, should have carved out some time for Jordan to shine in the song.
Did you like Kelly and Jordan's version of "Stronger"? Check it out here:
Image via ABC