Reality Rocks (New)

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Duets’ Promo Spoofs Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

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Many longtime "American Idol" fans were surprised when the Original Idol, Kelly Clarkson, signed up this year to be a guest mentor on "Idol's" rival show, NBC's "The Voice." And they were of course even more shocked when it was announced, soon after, that Kelly would be a regular judge on ABC's new singing competition, "Duets"--which premieres May 24, the day after the "Idol" Season 11 finale. And now that ABC's new "Duets" promo has debuted, here's another big surprise: The ad actually quite openly mocks "American Idol."

The 45-second spot, which is modeled after Apple's iconic, Ridley Scott-directed "1984" commercial, stars a surly British judge who calls contestants "atrocious" and "horrendous," a flighty female who employs the well-worn adjective "pitchy," and a bald-headed, bespectacled African American man who says "dawg." Sound familiar?

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"In a landscape where music shows are all the same, one will break through," the ad intones, as an Olympian javelin-thrower hurls a microphone stand at a screen broadcasting what we can only assume is supposed to be a faux Simon and Randy. The screen then dramatically collapses to reveal Kelly and her "Duets" co-stars (Robin Thicke,  Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, and Lionel Richie, the latter of whom has since been replaced by John Legend), ready to take on the competition--i.e., Randy's "Idol" and Simon's new "X Factor."

Is Kelly biting the hands that once fed her, so to speak, by daring to face off so boldly against the judges who once helped kickstart her entire career? (Additionally, what does it imply if the bleached blonde in the promo is supposed to be a "Voice"/Christina Aguilera spoof?) Or is it just a sweet comeuppance and fun role-reversal to finally see a singing-show veteran sitting in a judge's seat? I personally think "Duets" is going to be a fantastic full-circle affair, dawg--but I wonder if Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson would agree. Or if they'll watch.

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