Duets Review: “Songs That Inspire” (Season 1, Episode 3)

This week, Duets brought us a tearjerker of an episode with songs that inspired the contestants who chose them. What I loved about the episode was that the amateurs who ranked highest were not merely the best performers, but also gave the most honest and heartfelt performances.

Once again, the show was opened by two of the superstar judges, with Jennifer Nettles and John Legend performing Kiki Dee Band‘s I’ve Got the Music In Me. Every week these opening performances get stronger and stronger and this week was no different. I was seriously left stunned with Nettle’s performances and Legend’s classy tone that strongly complimented it.

The first contestant to perform was Alexis Foster. Ironically, her cover of the FugeesKilling Me Softly left her dead on the side of the road as she ended up at the bottom of the ratings throughout the night. While there were the strong moments of harmony between Foster and Legend, there performance simply lacked anything memorable.

Foster was followed by John Glossen who left the crowd awestruck as he performed the classic hymn How Great Thou Art. Not only was it a powerful performance, but you could clearly see that Glossen was completely committed to the lyrics and vocals of the song.

I also completely agree with Legend’s comment that it was a beautiful arrangement, starting from the opening acapella notes and  I was not surprised to see Glossen stand in second place at the end of the night. I also have to admit that Nettles looked absolutely stunning in white as she sang throughout the night.

Jordin Meredith was third to perform with her mentor Kelly Clarkson. Together they took on Miranda Lambert‘s Momma’s Broken Heart. Truthfully, I detest country music; it makes me want to put my head under a pillow. That being said, this performance showed promise and Meridith’s attitude was perfect. The amount of improvement and growth this performance showed was great and Meredith definitely earned the third place rating she received.

Fourth to perform was Meleana Brown and John Legend with Alicia Keys’ Grammy award winning hit If I Ain’t Got You. There were some talented runs delivered by Brown, however the song did lack some of the glamor of last week’s performance which I found odd considering that this was the song that led Legend to choose Meleana. Hopefully Brown will be able to move up from the fifth place rating she received for this.

Olivia Chisholm performed afterward with a spirited cover of Beyoncé‘s debut single Crazy in Love. Chisholm appeared to have a lot of fun with Thicke as she danced with him but there was something missing. I don’t know if it’s Chidholm‘s personality or vocals, but I always feel unimpressed by her. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. I secretly wish that she had received a lower rating than sixth place.

J Rome then gave another outstanding performance as he sang Michael Bolton‘s How Am I Suppose To Live Without You, with Jennifer Nettles. The singer dedicated it to his deceased grandfather and by the end of the performance he was crying. The cover was brilliantly amazing and sent shivers down my spine. Once again, J Rome also showed that he can hold his own with Nettles, which is no easy task. It was of no surprise that J Rome didn’t move from the first place rating he has received since opening night.

When it was announced that Jason Farol was to perform Leonard Cohen‘s critically acclaimed song Hallelujah, I was a little skeptical. Luckily though, he delivered, alongside Clarkson, a refreshingly beautiful rendition. It wasn’t the best cover of the song that I’ve ever heard, but I think that it certainly deserved a higher rating than seventh place.

The final contestant to perform was Bridgett Carrington, whose upbeat cover of Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight‘s I Heard It Through the Grapevine was very entertaining. It got me dancing along with it and what I loved most was that it sounded fresh. The performance definitely earned its fourth place rating.

This week’s episode of Duets was the first week where a contestant was eliminated and I actually really enjoyed the elimination method. The bottom two contestants were forced to enter a solo acapella showdown and I really can’t think of a tougher test for a musician.

Jason Farol, who had received seventh place, gave a soulful cover of Mr. and Mrs. Jones that left me very impressed. While Alexis Foster‘s Natural Woman cover was pretty good as well, I was rooting all the way for Farol.

Foster’s final performance simply lacked the creativity and soul that Natural Woman needs. Simply put, it left me wanting so much more. The judges must have felt the same because at the end of the night it was Foster who went home.

Next week, we’ll be moving on to party songs and though I have no idea what to expect, I am excited.

Check back next week for our review and let us know what you thought of this week’s episode in the comments.