Tonight, television gets yet another singing competition. But if you’re to believe Quddus, the host of ABC’s Duets, this show is like nothing we’ve seen before. With Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Nettles, and John Legend participating — he might well be right. Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Quddus at a Race to Erase MS Event in Los Angeles to get all the details on the new show.
What were the mentors looking for when they picked the contestants?
Quddus: They were looking for voices that would really complement theirs, somebody who really wanted it, somebody with some performance flair, relatability, some heart, some soul, all those things.
What’s going to make your show stand out from any other show?
That’s my favorite question because honestly it’s head and shoulders above the other ones. We have genuinely incredible artists who write songs, who really sing, and have a range, and have experience, and have a body of work that we can all stand back and be in awe of and they are now in the trenches competing with amateurs, unknowns on the same stage and putting their names on the line and getting in the ring.
Lionel Richie dropped out of Duets and was replaced as mentor by John Legend. Why would he not want to do this show?
I don’t know. I’m so baffled. I will go on the record and say, “Lionel, you confused me with that choice,” because it was his choice and he opted to focus on his promo for the album and God bless him, but I think he’s going to be kicking himself when he sees the show.
Tell us about the four mentors.
They’re awesome, supreme talents, genuinely good people too, funny, entertaining commentary from them. People are going to love them in totally different ways than they already have.
Can you give us one sentence on each one?
Kelly Clarkson — sweet as can be. Robin Thicke — absolute wild card. John Legend — thoughtful, class act. Jennifer Nettles — huge heart, great talent.
With Kelly, what’s something that surprised you about her?
How competitive she is. She’s fierce. She rolls up her sleeves and cares a lot about this competition and she doesn’t need it. She’s already like how many millions of albums sold? She doesn’t have anything to prove but she somehow is finding something to prove in this contest.
Why will this be better than Idol, X Factor, The Voice —
You’ll see. I’m just going to start answering you’ll see, because once you see the show, it’s not even close. It’s just so full of heart and genuine talent and collaboration and relationship and everything you want to see onscreen.
No element of the show is live?
Oh, we’re going live — as of June 28th. The first five episodes are not live but they’ll feel live and then we go all the way live June 28.
Do you know if they’ll have Season 2 yet or are you waiting to see how it does?
We’re waiting to see how it does. I think we all are anticipating great things. We have to humbly wait for everything to pan out as it should and we’ll see what happens, but I have a great feeling about it.
Do you have any singing ambition?
No, no. My involvement with music has been as a DJ, as an artist development guy. I worked at a couple different record labels, signed some artists, developed some artists but I haven’t really gotten behind the mike and sung. It might be the step, who knows?