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CELEBRITY DUETS, Episode 4

Sept. 21, 2006

This Fox competition is down to five contestants, with two being let go this week before next week’s series finale. Here’s what happened in the fourth episode:

Best performer of the night: Alfonso Ribeiro was tops on a very bad night. He sang “Through the Fire” with Chaka Khan and did a decent job of keeping up with her liberal use of vocal acrobatics. He’s a solid singer who deserves to be in the finals.
Lucy Lawless.jpg

Worst performer of the night: Lucy Lawless (above) was a notch below the crowd for a second straight week. Lawless whispered “Right Here Waiting” with Richard Marx and made him seem like the life of the party. Of course, it didn’t help matters when Marx sauntered onstage with an acoustic guitar for this piano ballad.

Funniest performer of the night: Hal Sparks takes the “cheese cake,” if you will, for his hair metal duet with Twisted Sister‘s Dee Snider on “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It’s been obvious over the run of the show that Sparks is not the most serious performer, and by the sound of his screeching vocals, he might be fine not winning this contest. Additional credit for the funny nature of this performance should go to judge David Foster, who was a target for Sparks. Foster has been critical of Sparks’ rock star mannerisms and got himself a faceful of it last night.

Strangest performance of the night: Host Wayne Brady sang with Patti LaBelle during a bonus performance of “On My Own.” Anyone who’s seen this show the past few weeks had to see this coming from a mile away. LaBelle sang with Jai Rodriguez earlier in the night and returned to fill time at the show’s end. What made the duet odd was how they nailed it. LaBelle tends to over do it with her extra notes (and this was no exception), but Brady wasn’t afraid to keep his vocals low and smooth. This made for a very pleasant end to the show.

The proverbial fat lady should sing for: Cheech Marin and Lucy Lawless. Marin is charming and a fun addition to this galaxy of C-list stars, but he doesn’t belong in a singing competition. And despite her beauty, Lawless has been the most boring performer over the past two weeks. She can’t even act like she wants to sing at this point. If they’re ousted, this will leave Rodriguez, Sparks and Ribeiro to slug it out on next week’s finale.
(Carly Patterson was eliminated last week by viewers.)

— By Mike Madden