“Never underestimate the insecurity and the ego of an artist,” Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles told her partner John Glosson as they geared up to perform Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on last night’s episode of Duets.

Though no one went home this week—they’ll let go of two contestants next episode–the competition is surely heating up. Last night the superstars and their partners tackled classic duets from the likes of  Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey and three from Gaye. But the night opened with Kelly Clarkson and Robin Thicke sexily squaring off for their own rendition of “State of Shock” by The Jacksons and Mick Jagger. A pretty tough act to follow, which is the thing about this show. It’s hard for contestants to compete with their talented co-stars. Last week, a lot of the criticism was about lack of confidence, but can you blame anyone for feeling a little inadequate when they have someone like The OI (Original Idol) by their side?

Last time we saw Kelly, both her partners were in the bottom two. This week Jordan Meredith tried her hand at Pink’s “Misery,” not exactly a classic duet, but it did give Kelly’s pink-haired singer a chance to show off her soulful rasp. Though she ended up taking a spot smack dab in the middle of the pack, Clarkson’s other partner, Jason Farol, landed in the bottom two with his take on Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight’s “Whenever You Call.”

The night again belonged to Nettles and J Rome, who repeated his reign of the top. Showing off his best Danny Zuko impression, the two went for corny with their version of “You’re the One That I Want,” and won out. Unlike last time though, J Rome had some competition from John Legend and his new partner, Maleana Brown, who only had three days to prepare for the competition after Legend’s original partner, Jonny Gray left for “personal reasons.” Or so says ABC. The singer took to Twitter last night, leaving some questioning how true that really is:

Brown started off strong with a tried and true version of “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross to tie for the top spot. Thicke, pulling out a food metaphor, called the new addition the perfect sandwich, “Just the right amount of meat…you even brought the Provolone!”

But unfortunately, it wasn’t Robin’s night. After a decent showing last week, both his partners earned a spot in the bottom three. Though there’s chemistry between him and Olivia Chisholm, the two failed to bring the passion with “Where is The Love” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. Alexis Foster on the other hand couldn’t shake her nerves on another Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell song performed last night, “You’re All I Need To Get By.”

Luckily, next week is a new week for everybody. Now they just have to prove they deserve to stick around.

Shannon Carlin, CBS Local

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