Everyone loves an underdog, but that’s only one reason why the once-constantly endangered Jason Farol is emerging a possible contender to win Duets, which has just one more night of performances before the July 19 finale. The baby-faced novice, who seemed so mousy and overmatched the entire first month of the season, looks and sounds like a new performer these days. All that time spent in the company of Kelly Clarkson has obviously rubbed off.
Before the final four could turn their attention to pop standards, there remained the task of announcing who was finishing fifth. To no one’s surprise, it was Robin Thicke’s last shot at glory, Olivia Chisholm, who was given the boot – following a very Idol-like segment which saw host Quddus using familiar phrases such as “America voted … and you are safe,” “You’re in the bottom two,” and “Let’s take a look at your journey.” Quddus asked Robin for his reaction to Olivia’s elimination, but never bothered to hear from the contestant herself – Exhibit 462 as to what’s wrong with this show.
Olivia’s ouster left Bridget Carrington as the last woman standing, and likely the most endangered one left – a familiar position for females on singing shows. If her duet on “Unforgettable” saves her, all credit should go to John Legend, who was at his silky smooth best on an uncanny channeling of Nat King Cole. Bridget, however, was only fair, seeming overly mannered and mechanical, as if she wasn’t really feeling the song. Also, having to do a standard only heightened Bridget’s season-long problem of coming across as too old-fashioned and hotel-loungey.
Jennifer Nettles has seen to it that J. Rome has been able to show off his versatility all season long, and the pair scored again with “God Bless the Child.” Not everything about the big band arrangement worked, but he threw in a run near the end just to prove that he could (few on a show like this would dare to perform with Billie Holiday’s restraint for an entire song). J. Rome remains the one pro in a field of amateurs; the only thing that could stop him from winning is the perception that he started great and just kept running in place.
For all I know, John Glosson is the one who is really connecting with America, but the difference between Jennifer’s two partners is that John really only knows one way to sing, which is to cheese everything up. “Georgia on My Mind” was a good choice for this Peach State pair, but his oversinging bugged at first. Things got better after the bridge, and he brought it home in a way that voters would keep in mind (Jennifer is easily the best of the stars when it comes to knowing when to defer). He has another week of safety ahead.
Kelly suffered a hairline foot fracture during a performance this past week, but her relative immobility didn’t affect her voice any. “Feeling Good” was a risk for Jason – despite his improvement, he’s still awfully inexperienced and it’s a really big song – but he at least looks like he belongs on a stage now, and he wasn’t completely overshadowed by the band and his partner. I don’t know that he was better than Bridget, but getting to sing last rather than first was a huge break.
Look for Bridget to head back to the tax office next week, and for the now partnerless Robin to phone it in even more than he’s been doing.