My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Can lightning strike twice? Can You Duet season 2

camyouduetI have to confess to a slightly shameful addiction here: reality music shows. I watch them even when I know they’re terrible. CMT’s Can You Duet, last spring, was a breath of fresh air – a reality music competition I could take seriously, because most of the acts were talented. It was a pleasure to watch, and I should be pleased that a second season has been announced for this summer. So why am I suddenly nervous?

Partly, it’s because looking at the show in retrospect, I realize a great deal of my love for it came from the presence of Joey + Rory, who were my favorites from the start, even though at the time I thought they were only notionally an actual duo. They were unquestionably country, whereas many of the other contestants represented the more overtly commercial side of modern country music. I loved Joey’s voice, with its interesting texture, and liked most of their song choices. And the Original Songs Night introduced me to the irresistible Cheater, Cheater. They went on to reward me for watching by producing one of my favorite album releases of 2008.

The winners, Caitlin & Will, were individually very strong singers (albeit in Will’s case, rock rather than country), and I was reasonably happy with their win. I’m interested in what their album will be like when it comes out, although I’m not yet sure if it’s likely to be something I’ll want to buy. I like their single ‘Even Now’ and hope it does well for them. Caitlin’s vocals on some of the songs up on their myspace are good, but the production is a little heavy at times.

I enjoyed a number of the other performances at the time, but most haven’t really stuck in my memory, with the exception of the male duo who sang ‘I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore,’ apparently to one another. I don’t think they quite intended it the way it came across, but it was certainly entertaining. Incidentally, if anyone wants to catch up, all last season’s episodes can still be viewed on the CMT website.

Can You Duet gained additional luster in my memory by comparison with the lamentable last season of Nashville Star; the less said about which the better. This really underlines my main point, though: in the end, reality shows stand or fall not on the manipulations of the judges, but on the actual talent, or otherwise, of the competitors. The success of Joey + Rory, and the fact that two other acts got record deals out of the show (although the level of their success remains to be seen), should in theory mean that some good singers who might have spurned auditioning for the uncharted first season might decide to go for it this year.

But will there be an act who will get my attention the way Joey + Rory did?

8 responses to “Can lightning strike twice? Can You Duet season 2

  1. Razor X February 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Caitlin & Will were the winners? I always thought it was Joey & Rory that had won.

  2. Occasional Hope February 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    No, Joey + Rory were third, but they got their deal with Sugar Hill off the back of their appearance. The winner got a guaranteed deal with one of the Sony group, but they seem to be taking their time with them.

  3. CMW February 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    And the second place finishers rightly vanished into thin air.

    I’m looking forward to the next season, but wonder if they’ll keep all the same judges. I got tired of Naomi Judd pretty quickly last time.

  4. Occasional Hope February 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    “And the second place finishers rightly vanished into thin air.”

    Yes – they managed the tricky feat of being both generic and irritating.

    I liked Aimee Mayo as a judge – I’m not an enormous fan of her as a songwriter, but she came across as a very sweet person, and she and Brett Manning were quite good at giving helpful feedback. Naomi got a bit too caught up in hating the Coppolas (and although I dodn’t disagree with the substance of her feelings about them (nearly as bland as Kristy Lee Cook), she laid it on a bit thick, and came across in a rather mean-spirited way at times.

  5. Leeann Ward February 10, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Yeah, watching repeats of the show, Naomi was rather nasty.

    I think the strength of J+R’s talent is significant because it caught the attention of many of us who did not see them during the duration of the show.

  6. Razor X February 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Naomi can be a big phony at times.

  7. Chad February 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I’m looking forward to it…J+R and C&W were my two favorites (in that order). I’m glad Sony took some time with C&W so they could develop their identity as a duo and not rush a CD. J+R had obviously a history and could stand a more “rushed” output–as evidenced by their outstanding first CD. (Any news on a new single, btw??)

    I’m hoping the second season can holds up to the same standards and has some real talent come out (and rise to the top).

  8. J.R. Journey February 10, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I was really impressed with a lot of the talent on this show too. I could only handle about 2 episodes of Nashville Star before I gave up on it, but I watched this one to the end – never missing an episode.

    I’m hopeful that radio will warm to Caitlin & Will now that the single is officially being released. Good luck, guys!

    Really great article too.

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