The first live episode of ‘Duets‘ kicked off with a bang this week with all four celebrity mentors taking the stage first to perform their rendition of George Michael’s 1990 classic, ‘Freedom.’ Noticeably different was Kelly Clarkson‘s hairstyle — which shifted back to a platinum blonde that recalled the singer’s early years as a pop superstar. Not as noticeable was Jennifer Nettle’s growing belly, with the Sugarland singer announcing her pregnancy since filming the first batch of episodes. After another impressive showing last week with a first and second place finish for J Rome and John Glosson, respectively, did the mother-to-be step it up and set raise the bar once again this week?

Of the five remaining hopefuls, Glosson was the first to take the stage during the live telecast. Much like many of his past performances, the Georgia native opted to perform a big ballad to show off his equally-large voice, singing Josh Groban’s ‘When You Say You Love Me.’ Also much like his past performances, Glosson received generally positive reviews from the three remaining superstar mentors.

“I’m not shocked you did amazing just then,” Clarkson said of the consistent contestant. “It was beautiful.”

Following the performance, Robin Thick poked fun at Nettles’ recent pregnancy announcement saying, “Legally, that’s not a duet anymore,” a comment directed toward the first-time mother. “There was a little bit of breaking the rules there,” joked Thicke.

It wouldn’t be a competition if there wasn’t a healthy dose of criticism — and John Legend was the judge to give it. “As a matter of taste, it felt a little bit syrupy,” said the ‘Ordinary People’ singer. “Your voice sounded magnificent,” Legend added.

“I’ve used my gut feeling from day one,” Glosson told the studio audience after the performance when asked about the added pressure of the new live aspect and public voting system. “I’m gonna keep doing it that way.”

“She believed in me when I feel like no one else did,” J Rome admitted just before taking the stage to perform R&B superstar Usher and famed DJ David Guetta’s monster pop hit ‘Without You.’ With five consecutive weeks at the top of the scoreboard, did Nettles’ confidence in the young hopeful help the singer wow the crowd once again?

“You are so ridiculous,” Clarkson gushed following the performance. After threatening to throw her shoe at the singer following last week’s performance of ‘I Will Always Love You,’ the Texas native playfully followed through with the act this week, just before praising J Rome even more. “I can’t wait to come to your concerts one day,” said the ‘Mr. Know It All’ singer.

Much like his comments following Nettles’ performance with Glosson, Thicke poked fun at the mother-to-be. “I love J Rome, but my favorite part of the performance was watching Jennifer drop it like it’s hot,” said the ‘Lost Without You’ singer, commenting on Nettles’ impressive flexibility on stage.

Once again, Legend offered the only criticism directed towards J Rome, saying, “That was one of your weaker performances.” Even with the sub-par assessment, the singer offered J Rome much-deserved praise. “As usual, you delivered such a professional performance,” added Legend.

Noticeably absent following J Rome and Glosson’s performance was the judge’s scoreboard, which was used to rank the hopefuls based on weekly scores during the first five weeks of competition. Beginning this week, the viewing audience is encouraged to call the toll-free number to vote for their favorites. The contestant with the least amount of votes will be eliminated at the beginning of next week’s episode.

To vote for J Rome, fans can call 1-855-962-5002. To vote for Glosson, fans can call 1-855-962-5004. Calls are toll-free from landlines.


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