Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The deal with duets

American Idol tried something new last night,they had the Final Four pair up to sing a duet along with each one performing solo as usual. One was clearly better than the other(which I'll get into more detail tomorrow)but it was an interesting way to see how well the finalist's voices were able to sing together in either harmonious or faulty fashion.

Duets are a timeless device that singers employ to either combine their talents with a fellow music maker or a shameless ploy to boost their flagging careers. When done right,a double dose of melody making can be a true joy to behold. Let's take a gander at some of my personal picks for duets to be remembered:

SUDDENLY: This tune by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richards is featured on the Xanadu soundtrack but Cliff never appears in the movie. The song is sweetly romantic but not cloying,yet the true mystery is "whatever happened to Cliff Richards?" The guy seems to have vanished from the pop music scene after the eighties. Perhaps there is a Behind The Music episode that explains it all:

SAY,SAY,SAY: Despite the innate creepiness of Michael Jackson's later years(especially in this video where the saloon girl he flirts with is played by one of his sisters),he and Paul McCartney do a great job with this song. The whole theme of old timey con men for the video story line suits the song to a T:

AGONY: This lyrical compare and contrast between the two princes in matters of the heart is one of the most popular bits from Into The Woods. It's so good,in fact,that the brothers' lovelorn lament is redone later on in the play,a follow-up on their new love interests(and they say women are fickle,hah!):



YOU'VE GOT THE LOOK: Prince really enjoys collaborating with women(musically,for the purpose of this discussion)and Sheena Easton was one of his most eager singalong partners. In addition to this tasty team-up,they also did a love duet for the Batman soundtrack called "The Arms of Orion",which would've made an excellent Best Song nominee for the Academy Awards that year:

ON THE RISE: Out of all the wonderful songs from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,this duet between the not-so good doctor and the object of his obsession skillfully showcases the yin and the yang of newly found love and dashed romantic dreams in one fell swoop:

I don't know if American Idol will keep the duet gimmick for future seasons,but if they do, the music selected for this hat trick shouldn't be limited to rock n'roll. A real test of vocal talent is in taking on some of those old school classics meant to be cherished and well enunciated. Regardless,a great duet can be both stylish and heartfelt,with even a little personal touch that means so much:

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