In a finale filled with talk of friendship and harmony, Alfonso Ribeiro wins ''Celebrity Duets''
Alfonso Ribeiro
Credit: Celebrity Duets: Joe Viles

”Celebrity Duets”: We have a winner!

Solos aren’t really ”celebrity duets.” Nor is singing ”I’ll Make Love to You” with three members of Boyz II Men, Wayne ”Don’t Call Cadbury” Brady. (Gosh, remember Boyz II Men? They had that great storytelling music video for ”On Bended Knee” that was all moody. Yeah, I looked it up on YouTube after the show. I couldn’t find it, but I did find a blurry video of what looks like a scene-for-scene re-creation.)

Before we get to the standings, let’s review the rest of the program. The finale opened with Wayne Brady, wearing the evening gown of vests, asking the crowd to cheer for their favorite star, and I think Lucy got the most hollers even if it was just by a slim margin.

The booted celebs really put it on in that opening number, but there was no time to catch up with them, because the show had to move right on to Little Richard’s ”Good Golly Miss Molly”! It was great to see him perform, and disturbing to hear that he left so shortly after singing. L.R. looked a little shaken post-performance (and I know he played B.B. King’s this summer, so it can’t be jitters, right?). I hope he’s not ill. I was worried and wondering about him for the rest of the hour, so my mood for the finale might have been too somber.

The montage of Little Richard’s crazy was cute. I liked how Wayne Brady translated some of the comments but couldn’t even attempt to explain all of them. And I wonder if Hal’s impression will make it into a new stand-up act.

The clips of Marie and David’s ”volatile relationship” were a little silly; they never really argued. Though by compressing all of his curse words into a neat bleeping package, the montage did show how truly dirty David Foster’s mouth was this season. I guess we know why the show wasn’t on at eight o’clock.

During David Foster’s song, Jai totally hogged the microphone when he and Alfonso were singing together! He was using his big stage voice, and I thought I saw Alfonso make a face about it. Meanwhile, the songwriter himself totally avoided singing, though David has released his own album, so his voice is accessible for any of you who are curious. (Side note: I was listening to Chicago’s ”Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry” on my way home from work just hours before the show — and prior to this I didn’t even know it was on my MP3 player. Spooky, right?) Judging from her mini-performances, it’s obvious that Carly Patterson has been practicing her singing (Chris Jericho not so much), so maybe we will see her with an album in a year or two.

Anyway, on to the celebrities still in the game. I think their standings were just right.

Third is a respectable place for Hal. He rocked out and probably earned himself some new fans. Maybe they’ll see him live with his band now. Much like scribble-board poster Craig, I’d like to see Hal and his band perform at a bar, where the atmosphere would be more focused on fun and less focused on competitive performance. And hopefully his live show wouldn’t include the Celebrity Duets dancers. They were hanging from the ceiling, running on stage — it was weird. Lucy’s dancers worked, probably because Lucy was also dancing and the song was more of a booty shaker. Hal’s song was soft rock, and you can’t dance to soft rock. (Trust me, my junior-prom song was Aerosmith’s ”I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” We slow-danced during the part where Steven Tyler screams. It was so awkward.)

Metal Skool showed up to support Hal, and his girlfriend showed off her tattoos (those are kind of badass!), so he was representing as a rocker, but he also really sang for the first time. That was a whole song of not yelling! (He almost yelled once, but it didn’t have time to fully develop.) I’d give him a ”bronze metal.” (How’d you like that word play?)

Second place for Lucy was also perfect. She has a decent voice and a strong stage presence. She’s not the best singer, but she’s versatile and sweet. (For the record, I never said Lucy didn’t deserve her fans. In fact, in episode 4’s TV Watch, I said that she earned her votes.) Lucy’s certainly not one of those famous people who piss you off because you can’t understand how they got famous.

And Alfonso earned his first-place spot. His rendition of ”Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was as flawless as it could be without Elton John singing it. Alfonso seemed to love the experience of the show the most. If Wayne Brady doesn’t host next season (that is, if there is a next season), I can totally see Alfonso volunteering for the gig. For free. Maybe he’d even pay to do it. This really seemed like a dream come true for him.

My dream of Celebrity BFF (see episode 1’s TV Watch) sort of happened, according to Hal Sparks, who said the cast and the singers got really close. They showed up week after week and bonded, and now they’ll go home and be emotional. It’s like camp — only the campers are eliminated based on popularity throughout the weeks.

But I’ll be honest: My tolerance level for Celebrity Duets waxed and waned. I started to think it was too long midway through its short season. I think the show could have been a two-night event to raise money for a specific charity. But I found myself really grabbed by this results show. The stars have grown on me, and maybe they couldn’t have done that in a shorter time span. Still, I don’t think I’m down for a second season. (Unless it’s Tatyana Ali vs. Hulk Hogan vs. Carrot Top.)

So what do you think: Was the right winner chosen? Would you watch a second season? What stars would you like to see next time? And off topic, does anyone else remember David Foster’s reality show The Princes of Malibu?

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