At the end of the first ‘Duets’ show, both of Kelly Clarkson’s duet partners were both at the bottom of the scoreboard. Her young partner with a grown voice, Jason Farol, ended the night in a disappointing 8th place. Clarkson was sure she could help him do better this week.

The two chose to sing Mariah Carey and Brian McKnight’s classic duet ‘Whenever You Call.’ Because the show is about the partners and not the superstars, we won’t go on and on about how fabulous Clarkson sounded singing a Mariah song. She could sing the label of a box of granola beautifully. But she already won her competition show, so this isn’t about her.

To keep Farol out of last place, Clarkson wanted to work on Farol’s confidence. She felt that he can’t let his voice shine if he’s hiding in her shadow like he did last week. She said, “To get out of last position, he needs to not be nervous.” And Farol stepped up to the plate. He had more stage presence and seemed to be enjoying himself more this week. It helps that when the two sing together, their voices blend in a smooth buttery goodness.

The judges seemed to be as pleased with Farol’s performance as Clarkson and the audience were. They all said they could see an improvement in his confidence from last week. But they still didn’t find a perfect performance. John Legend said it seemed like Farol was looking to Clarkson for approval while he was performing, instead of engaging the audience. He said, “You’re not owning it yourself. You have to open up to the audience a little bit more and let us feel you.”

Robin Thicke built on Legend’s constructive criticism by telling Farol that when he stepped away from Clarkson as the song built, he exploded. He saw Farol’s confidence build, but only when he let himself step out of Clarkson’s powerful circle. Jennifer Nettles saw Farol’s growth from last week and felt like when he hits the high notes it sounds really great. She went on to give him some tips for his next rehearsal, which she admitted jokingly may not be the best idea in a competition show. She said his upper body seems stiff and he should work on loosening up.

Farol is young and he’s never performed for audiences like this. He admitted that he often hides his singing and isn’t used to showing his stuff. It’s obvious that Clarkson can hear a gorgeous voice muffled inside his shell and she’s trying very hard to bring it out. She said she was frustrated because he’s not using what he’s got. Next week they start eliminating people. If he’s going to use what he’s got, he needs to start using it soon.

Watch Kelly Clarkson + Jason Farol Perform ‘Whenever You Call’