Did a fortune cookie really decide their fate?

Friday night’s episode of CMT’s “Can You Duet” showed 12 of the 25 duets still competing on the show as they took part in individual workshops with award-winning songwriter Aimee Mayo.

As part of group one, the 12 duets were working to fine tune their act and make sure each duo had chosen the right song for the next round of auditions.

Brownell and Richey, the duet comprised of Waxahachie native Jeremiah Richey and close friend Nick Brownell, heard more than their fair share of criticism during the workshop.

“We were both really sick the day before,” Richey said in an interview after the airing of the show. “We didn’t really have time to prepare.”

The two showed up to the workshop having decided to perform “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band, but had yet to decide who would sing which part.

Mayo did not mince words in her criticism of the two for failing to prepare.

“She was upset because we weren’t prepared,” Richey said. “And they told us that they expected more from us.”

Though Brownell and Richey showed definite room for improvement during the workshop part of Friday’s episode, the two made marked improvements to their act for the audition with all three judges. But though the two were shown performing well, the episode was edited in a way that made Richey feel misrepresented.

“They made it look like the judges weren’t into us and they were,” Richey said.

According to Richey, some comments from the judges were taken out of context.

“Remember what I said yesterday,” said Brett Manning, judge and one of the most sought after vocal coaches in the country, after the two auditioned. “The voices were good, but not great.”

Richey stresses that the words Manning followed with were more indicative of the way the duet was received at the audition.

“But what I was today was great,” are the words Richey claims were cut from Manning’s comment.

Judge Naomi Judd’s comments, however, were impossible to misunderstand.

“Well, you did it for me,” she said.

When Brownell and Richey were brought before the judges at the end of the show to learn their fate and whether or not they would move on the next round of auditions, the judges took the opportunity to make use of the left-over fortune cookies from that day’s catered meal of Chinese food.

“Whatever this fortune cookie says will be your fate,” Judd said to the two nervous artists.

“Don’t be surprised by the emergence of undiscovered talent,” the fortune cookie read. And Brownell and Richey were moved to the next round.

But Richey feels strongly that they would have been moved on even if the fortune read had not been as positive.

“We would have just done another take with another fortune cookie,” he said.

The winning duet will receive a record contract with Sony BMG and a $50,000 cash prize.

For more information about the show, to view audition pictures or to see a video of Brownell and Richey’s audition, visit www.canyouduet.com. The next episode will air at 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, on CMT.

E-mail Amy at amy.burk@wninews.com