Tonight, Duets finally took us to the elimination zone, and one contestant was sent packin’. Who was it? Let’s start from the beginning...
The episode begins with a lively duet between Jennifer Nettles and John Legend of “I’ve Got the Music In Me” which really sets the mood for what’s to come for the evening. Someone’s going home, so the contestants sure better have the music in them!
Host Quddus runs through the last week’s results, and it’s clear that some contestants — ahem, Olivia Chisholm, Alexis Foster, Jason Farol — will have to step up their vocals if they want to move forward in the competition. So, the heat is o-on! The heat is uh uh on!
The theme for the evening is “songs and artists that inspire the amateurs,” so the contestants have a say in which songs they sing. Ruh roh! This could go really, really well… or really, really badly.
Here’s the skinny on who sang what, where the contestants ranked, and who ended up being Duets’ first eliminated competitor.
Alexis Foster & Robin Thicke
Song: “Killing Me Softly” (The Fugees)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: “It’s actually about inspiring somebody through song.”
Alexis ranked poorly last week, so she has some ground to make up with tonight’s show. Robin says the girl needs to put some fun pep in her step. To do so, he suggests she go ahead and pretend she’s going home and that tonight’s performance is her swan song. Good idea, but to no avail. The two mismatch big time and leave Kelly Clarkson saying that she doesn’t think she and Robin connect well on the number.
John Glosson & Jennifer Nettles
Song: “How Great Thou Art”
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: The day John’s mother found out she was having him, she then lost her older son. “She said, you’re not a replacement but a blessing,” he tearfully explains. Push pause and grab some tissues. Tonight’s clearly gonna be a tearjerker!
During rehearsals, John puts Jennifer into tears with his story and song, and during the performance they invoke a few from the crowd. They’re takin’ us all to church tonight! The judges are floored, of course, and Kelly says he’s “so d*mn good” that she’s secretly trying to figure out a way to sabotage him. “That was so good I can’t stand you,” she jokes.
Jordan Meredith & Kelly Clarkson
Song: “Momma’s Broken Heart” (Miranda Lambert)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: Jordan and Kelly both love Miranda Lambert.
Jordan’s got nothing big to go home to, so it’s up to her to make this work, else she returns to tend bar. “What she’s lacking isn’t her voice, it’s her presence,” Kelly notes. The two impress the judges with their new style and twang, leading to the night’s first Robin Thicke-ism: “She looked tasty as pie right there.”
Meleana Brown & John Legend
Song: “If I Ain’t Got You” (Alicia Keys)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: “The lyrics in the song mean a lot to me. When they say people search for a fountain that makes them forever young, it just made me realize we should really live for today.”
The two start out slow — and judges Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Nettles agree with that — but they pick up, leaving Robin Thicke saying she is a “lovely and beautiful” artist.
Olivia Chisholm & Robin Thicke
Song: “Crazy In Love” (Beyonce & Jay-Z)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: Robin thinks Olivia’s got everything going for her except the confidence, so they chose a song “she couldn’t help but come out of her shell” with.
Olivia has finally learned to shake that bootay, and Robin likes it! Her voice drops out a little bit, but she has fun with it, and Kelly’s amazed she’s been staring at Olivia instead of the professional dancers behind her.
J Rome & Jennifer Nettles
Song: “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” (Michael Bolton)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: Now we really need some tissues. J Rome chose the song in memory of his biggest fan –—his grandpa, who shared a song with him on his deathbed.
Tears follow the beautiful performance because J Rome says it’s “just a reminder that he’s not here, that’s all.” Host Quddus offers up some kind words, saying “You know he’s proud, right?” Even Robin couldn’t come up with any Robin Thicke-isms after that one. Kelly says he’s so good, her whole team is rooting for him, and “Team KC, we love you.” Even Jennifer is “honored” to have been a part of it. Needless to say, J Rome places (and finishes) in first place after that.
Jason Farol & Kelly Clarkson
Song: “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: It’s Jason’s dad’s favorite.
The rehearsal footage was cute because it appears Jason has been afraid of what his family might think of a potential career in music, but when Dad shows up to give his blessing, it turns out he too had his musical aspirations shut down by his father. “The whole family is behind you,” he says. Unfortunately, Jason and Kelly have trouble meeting in the middle on the difficult song. John and Jennifer agree the performance had some really pitchy moments, and despite protests from the audience full of his family, Jason ranks near the bottom.
Bridget Carrington & John Legend
Song: “Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Gladys Knight & Marvin Gaye)
Contestant’s Reason for Choosing the Song: Bridget’s dad grew up loving Motown music, and Gladys Knight was his very favorite. We heard it directly through her instead of the grapevine, fortunately.
The performance makes us about to lose our minds with awesomeness, and Jennifer loves Bridget’s on-stage “attitude.” Bridget says she feels “groovy,” and Kelly says she’s more “shiny” than anything else.
With Jason and Alexis in the bottom two, they’re then brought back to the stage to perform a solo a capella to save their place on the show.
Jason starts out with “Me & Mrs. Jones,” and Alexis follows with “Natural Woman.” Both give it their all and after a firm talking to by the judges, who encourage them to continue pursuing any passion for music no matter the outcome, Alexis is voted off the show. Robin promises to look out for Alexis “no matter what,” but she takes it in stride and notes that she got to be on television after her very first audition. Not too shabby at all!
… And then there were seven!
Programming note: Duets moves to Wednesdays at 9:30 ET for the next two weeks to accommodate the NBA finals.