NEW YORK (TheWrap.com) - ABC will join "American Idol," "X Factor" and "The Voice" with a new singing competition that will again slightly tweak the familiar formula: On "Duets," debuting this summer, judges Kelly Clarkson, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie and Robin Thicke will sing along with contestants.
Despite the new twist, the new series will borrow liberally from past musical shows. Like all of them, it will feature a panel of celebrity judges. And like "X Factor" and "The Voice," it will feature judges who also mentor contestants. (It will also borrow Clarkson, an "Idol" winner who has also appeared on "The Voice.)
But the show will go even further by having the judges sing along with contestants. The judges will choose two competitors each as duet partners.
In the end, one will win a contract with Hollywood Records.
"Duets" adds to the crowded market for singing shows, but will avoid head-to-head competition with the others since it airs in the summer. (It may, however, overlap with NBC's "America's Got Talent," depending on when it premieres.)
There's no question the genre is thriving, despite complaints that networks are getting glutted with singing shows. "The Voice" is the top-rated show of this season, so far overtaking "Idol," which has dominated in the ratings for the last eight years.
(Editing by Chris Michaud)