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American Idol’s duets = some of the best Idol in years

American Idol’s duets = some of the best Idol in years
Dominique duets with Aloe Blacc on American Idol. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC)

American Idol is winning me over episode by episode, and last night’s episode—a new addition to the format, where the contestants sang duets with well-known artists—was often extraordinary.

I did not expect to be enjoying the show—and the singing!—this much.

The venue, Academy LA, was intimate and perfect. (I kind of wish this was the venue for the whole show.)

The interaction between the contestants and their duet partners was great television, both during and before the performance. The rehearsal footage has often been Idol material to fast-forward through, but for the most part, they were so well-paired that it was fun to watch them discover their chemistry together, as performers and people.

There are little things I could point out, like how the judges were very tame and seemed unwilling to offer much criticism, or my confusion about their final decisions about who to eliminate.

But it’s a smart addition to the format, showcasing the contestants while also challenging them—and providing the raw entertainment that Idol lacked in its later Fox years.

This format continues next Monday, with the other 12 performing duets. Here’s who performed last night, from ABC’s press release:

  • Brandon Diaz with celebrity duet partner Luis Fonsi
  • Cade Foehner with celebrity duet partner Bishop Briggs
  • Catie Turner with celebrity duet partner Andy Grammer
  • Dennis Lorenzo with celebrity duet partner Allen Stone
  • Dominique with celebrity duet partner Aloe Blacc
  • Gabby Barrett with celebrity duet partner Sugarland
  • Jonny Brenns with celebrity duet partner Andy Grammer
  • Kay Kay with celebrity duet partner Pat Monahan
  • Layla Spring with celebrity duet partner Sugarland
  • Michael J. Woodard with celebrity duet partner Pat Monahan
  • Michelle Sussett with celebrity duet partner Luis Fonsi
  • Trevor McBane with celebrity duet partner Bishop Briggs

And here’s who’s coming up next Monday, after another round of solos on Sunday night:

  • Ada Vox with celebrity duet partner Lea Michele
  • Alyssa Raghu with celebrity duet partner Banners
  • Amelia Hammer Harris with celebrity duet partner Bebe Rexha
  • Caleb Lee Hutchinson with celebrity duet partner Bebe Rexha
  • Effie Passero with celebrity duet partner Cam
  • Garrett Jacobs with celebrity duet partner Colbie Caillat
  • Jurnee with celebrity duet partner Lea Michele
  • Maddie Poppe with celebrity duet partner Colbie Caillat
  • Mara Justine with celebrity duet partner Rachel Platten
  • Marcio Donaldson with celebrity duet partner Allen Stone
  • Ron Bultongez with celebrity duet partner Banners
  • Shannon O’Hara with celebrity duet partner Cam

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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