Kelly Clarkson won American Idol. She's been a mentor on The Voice. Now she's ready to move on to her own reality singing competition: ABC's Duets.
The show, which debuts Thursday night, features Kelly, country star Jennifer Nettles of the group Sugarland, and R&B stars John Legend and Robin Thicke searching for undiscovered talent across the U.S., and then performing with that talent every week in front of a live studio audience. The winner receives a recording contract with Hollywood Records.
Since Kelly's the expert, what does she think is the most important component of a reality singing competition? "The 'real' factor," she tells ABC News Radio. "I mean, I think as long as you're keeping it real and you're not focused on just the television show, you still are focused on the actual talent on the show, I think that that matters a whole lot."
Kelly says Duets has that "real factor," and unlike some other reality shows, it's focused on the contestants -- not the celebrity judges. "It's about making your partner shine 'cause we're not in the competition," she explains. "I've already won one! I'm not here to win another one." She adds, "I'm here to get my partners [up] to the best of their ability on this show and showcase why I picked them...[as a judge], you have to know when to step forward and when to step back."
What Kelly really likes about Duets, though, is that it gives her the opportunity to help, as she puts it, "me at a younger age." Noting that she could've used a big break when she was an unknown struggling to make it as a musician, she says, "I think it's really cool 10 years later to do that."
Kelly has sung with numerous artists in her career, so she claims she knew right away what she wanted in a prospective contestant. "Soulfulness, that's what I looked for whenever I was looking at all the video submissions," she explains. "A lot of people can sing, and even a lot of people on the radio can sing really well, but not a lot touch me, y'know? I need somebody that's really soulful and has that depth in them."
Duets requires all the judges to perform with one or both of their contestants each week, and each other as well. That, Kelly says, makes it more difficult than her stint on American Idol. "You're not worrying about one solo performance. It's a lot more that goes into it than just worrying about yourself which is what I did on Idol," she says.
Kelly adds, "Even on The Voice, I was mentoring those kids but they just worried about themselves. That's a lot easier."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio