The merits of Andrew Lloyd Webber—sappy hit-maker? one-note fraud? musical genius?—have been the subject of many a dinner party fracas. Less debatable are the vocal abilities of Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson, and their cover of The Phantom of the Opera’s “All I Ask of You” should soothe even the most fervent Webber skeptic.
Groban is very much in his slow-boil, baritone comfort zone here, but Clarkson, queen of the live cover, continues to astound with her range: There are only a handful of singers who could tackle Webber and Rihanna with equal élan. The duet was part of Stages Live, a PBS special based on Groban’s Stages album, which celebrates his lifelong love for Broadway musicals.