Warning! The following contains spoilers for American Idol**'s celebrity duet rounds. Read at your own risk!**
American Idol began its celebrity duet round on Sunday evening, and while some of the pairs impressed viewers, other couplings were viewed as bad matches making things unfair. In particular, a number of audience members think contestant Shawn Robinson was thrown under the bus by his celebrity duet partner, pop-rock star Elle King, following their "Proud Mary" performance. Readers can decide for themselves who's to blame by watching said act below, which starts at the 1:05 mark.
As seen in the video above, the duo paused ahead of jumping into the third verse of "Proud Mary," and both artists got out of sync with where the band. It's up for debate exactly how that happened, and it's just the kind of debate that reality competition fans love to get loud about.
Some could argue that Elle King was to blame for the snafu, as she ended up re-singing the first verse instead of the second one. That may have thrown Robinson's timing off, leading to him coming in too early and messing with the song's flow.
Others could argue that Shawn Robinson was to blame. Such as Elle King, who didn't bring up her own error after the performance ended, but instead ascribed blame to her partner, making the moment all the more controversial, since some viewers are contesting the mistake wasn't totally Shawn Robinson's fault.
As mentioned, some believe that Robinson only jumped the vocal gun due to Elle King, whose first-verse redo got him to follow along as if he was going into the second one.
The judges didn't really acknowledge any "fault" in the event, so the audience was left with Elle King's version of events told to Ryan Seacrest. Whether it was an intentional brush-off or not, King didn't put any wrongdoing on herself, which made Shawn Robinson look worse in comparison.
While some were plainly upset by the way Elle King laid out the situation, others were blaming the error on Elle King for having changed the version of "Proud Mary" that they brought to American Idol audiences. The duo was originally set to perform Tina Turner's rendition, but King requested at the last minute that the tempo be slowed to match the Creedence Clearwater Revival version. Shawn Robinson was notably uncomfortable with the change happening so close to the actual performance, but he went along with it anyway.
From the moment the performance ended, it seemed that many fans online felt that Shawn Robinson's American Idol run was in jeopardy. The contestant himself looked flustered, although did point any blame towards Elle King in his post-performance interview.
The audience's instincts were correct, and Shawn Robinson was indeed one of the three contestants cut by the occasionally understanding and sometimes emotional judges in this first night of celebrity duets. Whether Elle King is to wholly blame or not is left for viewers to decide, although it is also worth noting her other duet partner Laine Hardy did advance.
For all the criticism Elle King got from various individuals, the singer did get praise from at least one American Idol super fan. Maddie Poppe, who made an unexpected cameo on Season 17, threw some praise the singer's way.
Poppe wasn't the only person showing love to Elle King, so it could be said that some of the complaints aimed at King were from fans disgruntled about Shawn Robinson's shaky performance. Unfortunately, big mistakes in any stage of an American Idol season are almost always grounds for elimination, especially when the talent is this good. Robinson isn't the first American Idol singer to lose with some controversy, and probably won't be the last.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC starting at 8:00 p.m. ET. CinemaBlend is the place to be for updates on Idol, as well as other great shows on television. For more on the reality show, check out who we think are the top performers in the competition so far that have the best shot at winning it all.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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