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Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke and John Legend: Duets Is Harder Than American Idol!

Robin Thicke, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Watch Out American Idol, The X Factor and The Voice!

ABC is joining the reality singing-competition game with their new show Duets, which puts a twist on the genre: Judges Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles will each choose two contestants to mentor and perform duets with.

We chatted with Kelly, Robin and John at the Entertainment Weekly-ABC upfront party about the show and what sets it apart from all these other reality singing competitions. Plus, Kelly reveals that Duets is harder than Idol...

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Kelly is excited about doing the show in part because it is so much different from her experience on American Idol. "It gives the kids an opportunity that I didn't have when I did Idol. Nobody really was guiding us or helping us. And I could have really used it," she explained. "So that kind of turned me on about this show. Also I love that we get to compete with them so we're not just watching. I have to be honest with you, it's way more challenging than I thought it was going to be!"

She added, "It's a lot more work than people have to do on Idol or The Voice!"

Robin was also intrigued by the prospect of getting to perform with the contestants each week, telling us the moment he decided to join Duets "was once I hear we get to sing every week. I wouldn't be comfortable just sitting there judging. It's not my bag baby. But to have the opportunity to perform and sing and give my gift back, that's the joy for me."

The idea of finding new talent appealed to John, who told us, "It sounded fun like a fun thing to do. I love looking at new talent and nurturing new talent and mentoring new talent and this seemed like a perfect thing for me to do."

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The fact that the judges will be singing with the contestants each week is what sets Duets apart from other reality singing competitions. John explained, "That's the cool thing that makes it different from the other shows. We sing with them, we coach them, we mentor them and it's been a lot of fun so far."

Still, singing with superstars is a double-edged sword: It's a lot of pressure, but also gives a contestant a crutch to possibly rely on. "Sometimes they rely on us to protect them and other times they getting a little freaked out when you get a little close," Robin explained. "They're like 'Ah, John Legend is singing in my face!' That's the fun of it; it's an unpredictable performance each time and you get to include these wonderful voices and incredible talents."

John added, "They benefit from our advice and our counsel, but I think they also are a little intimidated that they have to sing with us onstage."

Will you be checking out Duets this summer? Sound off in the comments!

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