7:23pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'American Idol': Past Contestants Return for Group 2 Duet Round
Group two performed their duets on American Idol tonight, with former Idol contestants Kellie Pickler, David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Jordin Sparks, Haley Reinhart and Constantine Maroulis returning to sing with the farewell season singers. After the duets, judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. were left to deliberate, eliminating five of the artists from the competition. After the solo round, the judges were somewhat underwhelmed. Connick Jr. noted that it seemed like almost everyone was having an off night on Wednesday.
Pickler joined Amelia Eisenhauer for a performance of “Suds in the Bucket,” which Pickler sang on the Idol stage 10 years ago in season five. Eisenhauer played fiddle during the performance, and both singers had a lot of fun with the song. It was definitely an improvement from her solo, and the song was well within her wheelhouse. “You stepped up to the plate in a big way,” Urban said.
Next, Kory Wheeler and Reinhart joined forces for Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” with Wheeler playing electric guitar. It was another good song choice, suggesting that the artists were much more discerning after all the feedback last night about their off choices. “I have nothing negative to say,” Connick told Wheeler.
Lee Jean was paired with Daughtry, and they sang Daughtry’s own song “Home.” Both singers played guitar for the duet, which was yet another strong performance of the night. Jean sounded amazing, and they both brought a lot of energy to the stage. The judges loved it, and Daughtry said he was so proud of Jean after they left the stage.
Cook and CJ Johnson sang “The World I Know” by Collective Soul, which was the last song Cook performed on the seventh season of Idol. Cook and Johnson both played guitar during their duet, which didn’t start on the best note. Johnson struggled a bit with pitch at the beginning, and the duet never really built to anything exciting. But Connick Jr. thought their voices blended well together and that Johnson’s experience shows.
Manny Torres and Sparks teamed up for a duet of Sparks’ “No Air.” Sparks really pushed Torres to connect with the lyrics, encouraging him to connect with the emotions in their rehearsal. He was outsung by Sparks, which wasn’t surprising, but Torres held his own the best he could, and the pair had great chemistry onstage. The judges loved how well they worked together.
Next, Maroulis and Jenn Blosil sang “My Funny Valentine,” which Maroulis performed on season four. In their rehearsal, Blosil asked Maroulis for advice on how to flirt with the camera while singing, which he was definitely known for in his time on Idol. The duo gave a sultry performance that highlighted Blosil’s quirkiness. Lopez said it was the embodiment of the perfect duet. “I feel like you were singing to each other,” she said. Connick Jr. thought it turned into a bit of a shouting match, but Urban agreed with Lopez, saying he loved it.
Pickler took the stage again with Tristan McIntosh, singing Pickler’s “Best Days of Your Life.” McIntosh had a lot of power behind her voice, but she struggled a bit with pitch and it was hard to not get outsung by Pickler. But it was another great match, and they had a lot of chemistry in their performance.
They were followed by Cook and Olivia Rox, singing Cook’s “Light On.” Rox had one of the best solo performances on Wednesday, and she didn’t disappoint with her duet, showcasing her impressive range. “Your voice is phenomenal,” Lopez said. “You sing like somebody who knows music,” Connick Jr. added. Rox again gave one of the top performances of the night.
Reinhart and Adam Lasher took the stage next for a performance of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Reinhart stressed the importance of connecting during the duet. It was a gorgeous performance, and the two definitely found that connection, making for a captivating duet. “It looked like you guys were falling in love in front of my eyes,” Connick Jr. said.
Daughtry and Dalton Rapattoni, who also had one of the best performances during the solos Wednesday night, were up next. They sang “Higher Ground,” which Daughtry sang during Stevie Wonder week on season five. The first CD Rapattoni ever owned was Daughtry’s, so it was a dream come true for him to perform with the former contestant. He kept up with Daughtry, continuing his streak of excellent performances. Rapattoni can sing just about anything.
After the judges egged him on, Ryan Seacrest performed a bit of “Ignition (Remix),” proving that he’s a much better host than he is a singer.
He was followed by Sparks and Trent Harmon, who sang “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees. It was yet another strong pairing, and Harmon was really able to connect with Sparks onstage. “It was a great showcase for you,” Lopez said. Harmon showed some new sides to his vocals.
Closing out the night, Shelbie Z and Maroulis sang “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which Maroulis also performed when he was a contestant on season four. Shelbie put a lot of power behind her singing, and she sounded great with Maroulis. It was a fun note to end the night on, but Lopez thought that Shelbie was a little lost in it and that the song was better suited for Maroulis than for her. “You didn’t seem to have a point of view to me,” Connick Jr. said.
With the duets over, the judges then had to pick the seven singers who would stay and the five going home. The first person to make it through was Jean. He was followed by Rox, Blosil, Rapattoni, Torres and McIntosh. The final person to advance was Harmon. Lasher, Eisenhauer, Shelbie, Wheeler and Johnson were sent home.
The farewell season continues next week, and viewers will finally have their chance to vote. What did you think of tonight’s results?