'Duets' Finale Recap: A Fitting End to a Breezy Season
Thursday, July 19, 2012
ABC's new reality singing show has finally come to a close, and Quddus has dressed sharply for the occasion. Plus, the eight amateurs are all back, including Olivia Chisholm and Bridget Carrington, who will take the stage again with their Superstar partners one last time. This show has been a super positive version of its more intense, dramatic counterparts, and it seems tonight's finale is going to end on that lighthearted note.
After the female Superstars Jennifer Nettles and Kelly Clarkson start off the show with a duet, the male Superstars (whose partners have been eliminated) return for one encore duet with their last eliminated partner. First, it's John Legend and Bridget, who sing the Rolling Stones' "Give Me Shelter." Seeing them on stage together reminds me that they were a solid duo, but perhaps just lacking in that "it" factor. Then Robin Thicke and Olivia perform Ray Charles' "Fever," which is perfect for "Mr. Suave," who is practically oozing with tongue-in-cheek charm.
John Glosson's Journey
Now it's time to address the remaining three finalists and the journeys they've taken on the show. For John, this opportunity came out of the blue, since he was already settled with a family and a business when he auditioned for Jennifer Nettles. He and Jennifer decide to sing "For Good" from the musical Wicked to represent how they've been changed (aww, how moving).
I love this song choice and performance. It's just John and Jennifer, sitting on stools as they sing these touching lyrics to one another, and the crowd seems to be cauhg up in the moment, too. Kelly is uplifted by John's "beautiful voice" and Robin feels that song speaks for all of them--"I've been changed for good"--once again reinforcing the feel-good nature of this show. John Legend doesn't cry, but does call John "a gift to this show and to America." For Jennifer, her partner has reminded her of the value of family and community. OK, enough with the sentimental comments, onto Jason Farol!
Jason Farol's Journey
Jason has certainly had the most improved run on the show, which he takes as a lesson of "if you work hard, you always rise to the top." The fun-loving Kelly doesn't get super emotional, because she knows this isn't good-bye and that their relationship will last "for the rest of our lives."
The two partners sing "Heartbreak Hotel" by Elvis and it's clear Jason has developed his own style of swagger on this show. He finally seems to be having fun on stage and letting loose--afterwards, Quddus asks, "who are you!?" Jennifer and John agree that witnessing Jason's growth on stage has been rewarding. When asked what advice he would give to himself at that age, Robin quotes his father: "If you're good at something, make sure they pay you for it." Sounds like sensible advice.
J Rome's Journey
I thought John's segment was emotional, but now J Rome and Jennifer are talking about the wonderful friendship they've developed and they're both crying. "I love J Rome dearly, I just want him to win--in life," says the teary mentor.
The dynamic pair sing "Ryhthm of the Night" by DeBarge to end the season in celebration. It's probably one of my least favorite performances of J Rome's, but I can understand the song choice and given that there's a 99% chance he'll win, it's OK to have a fun-spirited song at the end just for kicks. The three Superstar judges can't offer more praise than they already have this season, but they repeat it anyway: J Rome's crazy versatile (John), he's "a great human being" (Robin) and "I love you!" (Kelly).
Well, with that, it's pretty clear who should win--but now it's time to see if America felt the same. The three guys join Quddus on stage for the final reveal. The amateur in third place is... Jason Farol! Kelly doesn't seem disappointed that her partner hasn't won, because she's just so proud of him for coming this far.
Which leaves Jennifer Nettles' two partners as the final two, which she describes as "the best and worst decision" for her, because she loves them both so much. Both John and J Rome agree that winning Duets would change everything (J Rome says, "I wouldn't be poor" with a laugh). It's time to reveal the winner...
It's J Rome!
The humble star-in-the-making can barely look up because he's so overcome with joy. But Quddus insists that everyone from the Superstar lounge join him on stage to celebrate the win and sing along with him as he ends the season with his "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" solo. There's confetti, virtual fireworks and J Rome singing through the hugs.
It's been an extremely predictable season full of support and encouragement on Duets. Perhaps this kept the stakes from seeming really high and stifled the tension that usually builds up in reality competitions. But that's all right, because it's Duets! And what we've learned from this first season is that it's all about having a good time.
(Image courtesy of ABC)