American Idol

Ranking the best Hollywood Week duets on American Idol

Fire Willmore perseveres with the help of Jayna Elise (right) after her duet partner dropped out on American Idol (ABC Photo)

Fire Willmore perseveres with the help of Jayna Elise (right) after her duet partner dropped out on American Idol (ABC Photo)


With as much talent as American Idol has rounded up for Season 21, I was hoping Hollywood Week would focus on that talent and not drama.

Apparently, producers just couldn’t resist.

So Tuesday’s show focused on duet partners who see eye-to-eye on time management, a duet partner who nearly quit the competition, a singer who got sick and dropped out at the last minute and a top singer whose guitar broke.

Longtime Idol viewers have seen most of it before. Some of it made me cringe.

And, as it turned out, performances didn’t matter all that much either.

How else do you explain that fact that two duets — Cam Amen and J. Valerione, and Zacariah Smith and Isaac Brown — bombed and both singers still advanced.

Through it all, one young lady deserves a gold star for drama defusion. That would be Jayna Elise.

First, she and Summer Joy welcome Adin Boyer into their duet when he couldn’t find a partner and went through an anxiety attack as a result.

Then, Jayna stepped up and agreed to duet with Fire when her partner, Kaya Stewart, dropped out.

Monday’s show also marked our first time hearing the platinum ticket winners since the auditions. The aforementioned Cam Amen didn’t far well at all. Tyson Venegas and Kaylin Hedges reminded us of their vocal firepower. Elijah McCormick came off the best, by far.

Oh, and Wé Ani is taking Idol by storm. She sparkled in the opening round of Hollywood Week, playing her guitar and singing an original. On Tuesday’s show, she showed off her stage presence and performance ability while performing “Hit Em Up Style” with PJAE.

Here are my picks for the night’s best duets:

1. Elise Kristine and Matt Wilson, “The Reason”: Love, love, love the tone of these two singers. Elise is flat-out one of the best female singers on the show. And Matt, one of the contenders for America’s Platinum ticket, sounded fabulous on this duet. The standing ovation they received from the judges was very well deserved.

2. Elijah McCormick and Lucy Love, “My Girl” by The Temptations: Elijah was a platinum ticket holder and picked Lucy as his duet partner. It turned out to be a wise decision, because they put on quite a show. It’s obvious Lucy’s been performing for a while. And vocally, she did more than hold her own.

3. Summer Joy, Adin Boyer and Jayna Elise, “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John: I mentioned how this duet became a trio earlier. They also get the gold star for most original arrangement, one that allowed each singer to showcase their strengths individually but still came off as an entertaining group number. Katy dubbed them the “holy trinity.” Summer’s vocals: Wow!

4. Tongi and Oliver Steele, “Save Your Tears”: Oliver displayed what Luke would call a great story-teller voice. It was Tongi’s weakest vocal to date, but he still flashed the distinctive tone that made his audition the most popular of Season 21. Oliver deserves credit for being so steadfast in his support of his less confident duet partner.

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