Fri. Jan 21st, 2022
Duets, a new television singing competition, forces contestants to sing duets with superstars. Duets airs on ABC on Thursday nights at 8 pm.

After months of hype and anticipation, the time finally came. It was time. Time to do-it.

When Thursday night rolled around, I found myself reclining on the sofa, feet on the coffee table, lemonade in hand, anxiously waiting. The clock struck eight and like magic, Duets came to life.

Duets stays true to the name; the show, unlike any other modern singing competition, turns attention away from individual glory and instead emphasizes a perfect vocal blend between each contestant and their respective superstar. However, by focusing on duets alone, many incredibly talented individuals are turned away simply because their voices are less compatible with the stars.

That being said, the show wasted no time getting started, especially considering the opening extravaganza that included fireworks, a small army of dancers and the combined vocal efforts of Jennifer Nettles, John Jegend, Robin Thicke and Kelly Clarkson. It was, to put it mildly, awesome.

From that point on, each coach/superstar/judge takes turns introducing and then singing with both of their two amateurs. After each performance, the other three judges record scores based on the quality of the vocal blend and presentation element of the duet. A running leaderboard of scores is kept and updated continuously throughout the show, so at the end of the week, the person on the bottom of the leaderboard is eliminated.

It is that system of judging that will bring about the end of the show. The superstars are all, well, superstars. The “amateurs”, if you can call them that, are all phenomenal in their own right, too; each had a different style but not one of them had a poor voice. Even the host, Quddus from MTV’s Total Request Live, is full of energy and keeps the audience involved. On paper and in person, the show has everything it takes to be a success.

But it won’t happen. Some judges are more critical than others and so, as a result, better singers do not always come out on top of the leaderboard. Each coach can easily manipulate the board by giving high scores to some and very low ones to others, which leads to a power struggle. The drive to win has already begun to turn the coaches into cutthroats and, unfortunately, that will ultimately lead to the show’s failure.

As a matter of talent, direction and star power, Duets has every chance to become the new American Idol. However, unless the judging system is fixed and more power is taken out of the hands of the judges, Duets may not last long enough to become the success it should be.

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