My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Can You Duet

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?