John Legend was out to find the purest voice when choosing a partner for his team on ABC’s new reality show ‘Duets.’ After sifting through dozens of talented but not-quite-right singers, the singer-songwriter chose an unlikely partner to sing his hit ‘Ordinary People.’ Johnny Gray towered over Legend at the piano while singing the love song.

Viewers learned that the Seattle, Wash. resident was a big softy soon after he was chosen to sing with Legend. “I wanna cry but I’m a big linebacker, so I can’t do that,” Gray said as he went running off the stage. If it wasn’t for a moist brow, America would be left to believe he was a smooth as the man he was singing with.

Gray’s big baritone bellowed over the smoother Legend, and he moved around much more than the songwriter. Earlier, Legend had advised him to play the song straight. In other words he wanted Gray to cut the vocal gymnastics, but the crowd and judges like Kelly Clarkson appreciated his range and riffs.

“That’s so sexy on a man, good job,” Clarkson said praising his vulnerability. ‘Duets’ allows the three non-performing judges to grade each contestant, who are ranked in order of their scores. Thus far, the totals haven’t been revealed after each performance so it’s not clear who truly liked Gray, but all three — including Jennifer Nettles of the country group Sugarland and Robin Thicke — praised him.

“You have a beautiful low end that just makes it smooth like honey,” Nettles said. After finishing, Gray learned he was second of two singers who’d performed thus far. No matter where he falls, he’ll be back to fight for a spot on the show next week.

Watch Johnny Gray + John Legend Perform ‘Ordinary People’