There was no two-hour long results show. No group numbers to bide time before kicking someone off. And definitely no long pauses or fake outs by the host that leave fans shouting, “Just tell us already!” Instead, on Duets there is just a simple announcement at the beginning of the show to let fans know just who America didn’t vote for.
Last night, Robin Thicke’s partner, Olivia Chisholm, said goodbye after weeks of coming in the bottom two. With a look back at her journey and a few tears, the soft-spoken contestant was gone and Robin became the first superstar relegated to the sidelines.
But the show must go on and after a quick commercial break John Legend and his partner, Bridget Carrington were gearing up to sing Nat King Cole’s classic, “Unforgettable” for a night dedicated to the old standards.
While just a few minutes before Carrington was standing on that stage wondering if she was going home—she was in the bottom two according to America’s votes—her throwback performance proved why she deserved to stay. With Legend and a full orchestra behind her, Carrington took center stage in a canary yellow gown showing her poise and class. The two have a connection unlike the other couples that makes the words come to life with every longing gaze they give one another. Robin even said that Legend should remake the song for an upcoming album to which Bridget quickly retorted, “You forgot to say remake it with Bridget!”
With the added pressure of winning over America, J Rome said he’s developed a nervous eye twitch, but this didn’t seem to affect his performance last night. Looking dapper in his white suit jacket, the singer and Jennifer Nettles took a smooth jazz take on the Billie Holiday classic, “God Bless The Child.” The song was fitting since it’s about fame, something Nettles predicts for her partner. Showing off her baby bump in a sleek black number, the pregnant singer threw in a little nod to her future little one, grabbing her tummy while she sang the words, “God bless the child that’s got his own.” Even with a hairline fracture in her foot, Kelly Clarkson managed to give three standing ovations for J Rome’s performance.
With only four contestants left, the show had time to tout their celebrities, who split into pairs to give fans of the show a little treat. Jennifer and Robin teamed up for Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” but John and Kelly were the standouts. Their rendition of “You Don’t Know Me” by Ray Charles was probably the best performance the TV show has seen so far. The two even made us wish there was a Legend and Clarkson album already in the works.
John Glosson and Jennifer also chose a Ray Charles song with “Georgia On My Mind,” a nod to the duo’s home state. Their laidback version, complete with a big band behind them, had a certain Southern hospitality with Jennifer’s arrangement highlighting Glosson’s smooth vocals. Last time around, Legend picked on Glosson’s “syrupy” sound, but this performance made him change his mind. “I love going to the Waffle House in Georgia,” he said. “I love pancakes with just the right amount of syrup. That was the right amount.”
The night ended with Jason Farol and Kelly, who took a seat on top of the baby grand to nurse her foot, which she hurt after falling onstage at a recent show. The two took on Nina Simone’s sultry “Feeling Good.” Though Robin wished it had a little more soul, the young singer’s jazz-infused take was definitely his best performance of the season, by far. With Kelly to the side (literally), Jason took center stage and showed why she picked him to begin with.
Next week, one of the final four contestants will have to bid adieu. Who would you like to see make the top three?
–Shannon Carlin, CBS Local