It’s “Original Song Night” on CMT’s Can You Duet (CYD). As host Lance Smith reminded us, “Two weeks away from handing out a record deal.” It’s down to the final four duos. JB Rocket and Ryan & Avalon are the only two remaining of the couples the judges put together at the beginning of the series six weeks ago. Of the original couples that came to the auditions only The Stellas and Steel Magnolia are left. After tonight, there will be three pairs still in the competition.
Lance also paid his dues to the judging pane which includes Big Kenny (a.k.a. BK), a performer and songwriter both with John Rich (Big & Rich) and on his own, and Ms. Naomi Judd, also a noted singer/songwriter, in duet with her daughter Wynonna as The Judds. The big man of the hour is Mr. Scott Borchetta, founder, president and CEO of both Big Machine Records (Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Jack Ingram) and and its sister imprint label Valory Music Co. (Reba, Jewel, Emerson Drive). Scott was mentor to the singing partners this week. We were reminded of his win at 2009's Academy Of Country Music (ACM) award show as executive producer of Taylor Swift’s album of the year Fearless. We will see in each segment tonight what the role meant to him as he helped each pair hone their song choice into the best he felt it could be.
Before we go any further, here’s Scott’s wish list for the qualities he’s looking for in the winning duet:
- Undeniable talent
- Undeniable desire
- A great vocal blend
- Star power
Lance asked Scott, “What exactly were you looking for and how did it go?”
He replied, “This is where it gets down to business because we don’t sign artists on cover tunes. We sign originality. We sign unique. We sign artists with vision. And really, when you get down to original songs it really defines what they’re really about and what they feel about themselves. It’s gonna be a great night tonight... very excited.” Not only do I agree with his list, but what he added in his response. Getting to hear music each couple has put together is their own vision and I also think it will be a terrific show.
Up first was Ryan & Avalon. In their clip of the mentoring session Scott thought they’d probably have the biggest challenge as he didn’t know if either one of them are great writers yet. His guidance had to do with the dynamics of their song because “it’s really gonna get down to their vision and can they elevate.” The name of the song wasn’t mentioned but I gathered from the lyrics it’s “Take Me Away.” Avalon wrote the song and I have to say that if you’ve been watching the show it’s no surprise that she did.