The Ten Most Cringe-Worthy Celebrity Vocal Duets


  • The soon to be collaborating Voices. Courtesy of NBC

Oh great. The judges/coaches from NBC's hit karaoke tournament vocal competition "The Voice" are going to collaborate. Specifically, Maroon 5, led by slightly soulful popster Adam Levine will be joined by Christina Aguilera to perform their new single "Moves Like Jagger" on the June 21 episode of the show. This seems like an authentic pairing and not a publicity ploy for the show, don't you think?

Not that Levine and Aguilera are the first to seize a momentary fad and duet the hell out of it. Or attempt to revive fledgeling careers with a superstar pairing. The results are rarely pretty. Here's a look at the most insidious, contrived, and downright horrible vocal collaborations we wish we'd never heard.

10. "Cruisin'" - Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow (2000) Good lord, why have we been allowing Paltrow to sing for a whole decade? This chunk of schlock from the 2000 film Duets should have been enough to stop Paltrow from her current stomp through all things musical. If we as listeners accept Gwyneth and Huey Lewis as a karaokeing father and daughter demolishing a Smokey Robinson song in which they promise their relationship isn't just a one-night stand, then we as a society don't deserve nice things. Like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duets.

9. "I've Got You Under My Skin" - Frank Sinatra and Bono (1993) Are they singing the same song? And is Bono stalking Frank? A sweet little classic ditty is no match for two of music's biggest egos ever.

8.. "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" - Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson (1984) If there's a better way to introduce a suave Spanish crooner to unrefined Americans than pairing him with Willie Nelson, we sure as shit don't know what it is. Waylon Jennings was offered the part first, but cracked an empty Evan Williams bottle over the PR asshole's head before he'd finished asking.

7. "Whatzupwitu" - Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy (1993) The 1990s were not kind to Michael Jackson or Eddie Murphy. Both had started their downhill slide from '80s glory. And then there was all that business with child molestation trials and arrests for picking up transvestite prostitutes. Both superstars needed a boost. This wasn't it.

6. "Something Stupid" - Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams (2001) Nicole Kidman was fresh off proving she could sing in 2000's Moulin Rouge. Hey! Let's capitalize on that new-found skill and make a record! While Kidman's vocals are better than Paltrow's, and this song became Robbie Williams' first UK number one single, it conjures up memories of an earlier version by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy singing the romantic date song. Which is creepier than the video where Robbie Williams ribbed off his skin and muscles. 5. "I Know I Want You" Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey (2003) So, you've got one of the most-loved voices of the past two decades, and a rapper who mostly forgoes his whip-fast rhyme style for romantic "crooning". It only makes sense to take that multi-range voice and stick it in the background for a little whispering and moaning, right?

4. "Romeo" - Dolly Parton and Billy Ray Cyrus (1994) What the ever-loving fuck, Dolly? The queen of country and one of the best songwriters of the modern era doesn't need gimmicks. People love you, Dolly. There's no need to haul future-joke Billy Ray Cyrus to grunt on any of your songs. It's an insult to you and to Shakespeare.

3. "Lady Marmalade" - Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Pink, Mya, and Missy Elliott (2001) We've had a decade to ponder the success of this pile-up of early-aughts sexpots. With that historical perspective, can we objectively say this song was necessary? About as necessary as Mya changing the song's locale from New Orleans to Moulin Rouge. For shame, ladies. And put on some damn pants.

2. "Stan" Eminem and Elton John (2001) Look! Eminem's not homophobic! While gay rights groups protested outside the 2001 Grammy awards because Marshall Mathers was nominated for homophobic rants, they calmed the masses by pairing him with America's Most Accepted Gay Man, Elton John. See? Eminiem can't be a homophobe - he's playing all nice with Elton! That totally makes up for Em saying that New Kids on the Block partook in a lot of fellatio, right?

1. "In the Ghetto" - Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley (2008) Any duet performed between a second-generation singer and a dead parent transcends this list in horribleness. But this ... not enough people know this exists. How can we fight the battle if we don't know the enemy?

Also? That baby with the guns? He uses them to shoot his TVs when he doesn't like what Elmo has to say.

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