Fox’s Celebrity Duets is over. In case you missed it, here is a brief overview of the series.
THE CONCEPT: In the show, created by American Idol judge Simon Cowell, “celebs” with some degree of singing talent were matched with two different music “legends,” chosen at random before the episode. The celebrities competed and one was voted off every week by the viewers at home. (For the first episode, the judges decided who was ousted.) The duet partners changed from week to week. The winning celeb won $100,000 for charity.
THE HOST: Wayne Brady.
THE JUDGES: Little Richard, Marie Osmond and David Foster.
THE CELEBS: Actress Lucy Lawless, actorAlfonso Ribeiro, former Olympic gymnast Carly Patterson, actor Cheech Marin, actress Lea Thompson, WWE superstar Chris Jericho, actor/comedian Hal Sparks and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy regular Jai Rodriguez.
THE FINALISTS: Sparks, Lawless and Ribeiro. When the dust settled — or, more accurately, when the confetti and streamers settled on Sept. 29 — Ribeiro stood tall (or as tall as he could next to the statuesque Lawless). Based on the run of the series, Ribeiro earned his victory. He was the most consistent of the singers and held his own with the myriad superstar singers he was paired with, including Chaka Khan, James Ingram and Gladys Knight.
Lawless was the runner-up, and although she slipped in and out of tempos and genres more than any other performer, she never sang with any passion. That may be due to her vocal training in musical theater, where singing the same lines the same way night after night is the norm, or it may be due to having too soft of a singing voice. Nevertheless, she appealed to an older audience by mainly sticking to softer hits and standards.
Third-place finisher Sparks was the token rocker. He threw in stage antics, played a little six string and had fun doing so. He wasn’t a total joke (for that, see Marin) because he had a big voice that, although not always in tune, still commanded attention. Sparks also seems to have a bit of musical theater training in him, and a stint in the Broadway adaptation of The Wedding Singer can’t be too far down the road.
THE FUTURE: Will Fox bring this show back? Hopefully, no. This show was a mess, from the poor choice in contestants to the self-serving judges to the out-of-touch superstar duet partners.This might be an all-time low in summer filler TV. This was not exactly a ratings bonanza, and it just wasn’t interesting enough to merit a second go-round. Maybe Fox will do this as a variety show next season and not make the audience sit through it for multiple weeks.
— By Mike Madden