What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show is a glitzier, glammed-up spin-off of American Idol, brought to us by none other than Idol producer Simon Cowell. Everyone participating is a celebrity -- the contestants, the recording stars, the judges, even the host -- and in some ways, it feels more like a contest to see who gets the most media attention. But if you're comfortable with your kids watching Idol, then this show will seem benign. Women do wear low-cut gowns, both women and men sing sexy songs to each other, and there are some sexual innuendos in the song lyrics and subtle comments from judges. But there's something to be said for the nervous celebrity contestants, who are at least trying something different. It's OK for tweens and up, but parents may want to be on hand to censor lyrics of some songs.
What's the story?
Each week on Simon Cowell's CELEBRITY DUETS, non-singing celebrity contestants perform with well-known crooners before the audience votes one of them out; the last one standing gets $100,000 donated to his or her charity of choice. The parade of stars includes (on the contestant side) folks like wrestler Chris Jericho, actress Lucy Lawless, actor Cheech Marin, gold medal-winning gymnast Carly Patterson, actor/director Alfonso Ribeiro, culture-vulture Jai Rodriguez, actor/comedian Hal Sparks, and actress Lea Thompson. Some are very talented singers and others aren't, but it's entertaining and fun watching them when they're paired with successful singers like Michael Bolton, Taylor Dayne, Peter Frampton, Macy Gray, James Ingram, Patti LaBelle, Randy Travis, and others (many of whom are past the first blush of success and are likely using the show to boost their careers). The judges (Marie Osmond, Little Richard, mega-producer David Foster) generally give very clear feedback to the performers; they disagree now and then, but it's nothing like what goes on between Cowell and Paula Abdul over on Idol. And host Brady is on target at all times, never missing an opportunity for a quick joke.
Is it any good?
There's plenty of glitz, bling, and silly banter between host Wayne Brady, the judges, the contestants, and the singers, but based on language and content, it's a fairly benign show for tweens. The only potential red flags are the skimpy outfits and sometimes-suggestive interaction between celebs while they perform.
If your kids like watching singers perform, Celebrity Duets is a show that the family can enjoy together (even if a lot kids probably won't be familiar with most of the contestants). In the process, kids will be exposed to musical legends like Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, and Gladys Knight. Just be prepared for some sultry ballads, low-cut outfits, and lots of bling.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the participants' motives. Why would well-known singers want to be paired with non-singing celebrities in this contest? Who is this show promoting? Parents can also talk about the hard work it takes to be a performer (as shown by the rehearsal footage). This might also be a good opportunity to get kids interested in singing legends like Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson.