Mentor on ‘Duets’ takes his work home

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Mentor on ‘Duets’ takes his work home

NEW YORK - Robin Thicke is a mentor on the new ABC singing series “Duets,’’ but the R&B crooner could find himself partnering on a song with his 2-year-old son or his wife, actress Paula Patton.

Thicke says both his wife and son can sing.

Patton, whose film credits include “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire’’ and ”Mission Impossible 3,’’ sings a small part on a song Thicke produced for Usher, the slow groove “Can U Handle It.’’ It appears on Usher’s Grammy-winning 2004 “Confessions,’’ one of the last decade’s top-selling albums.

“The song called for a female vocal, a very simple, more like a talk-whisper part and .?.?. I said, ‘Hey, honey, you mind putting something down for me?’?’’ he recalled. “And of course it turns out to be Usher’s biggest album and one of the biggest albums of all-time.’’

Thicke, 35, said Patton would ask him, jokingly, to let her sing on songs he worked on.

“She’d be like, ‘Hey, baby, can I just sing a little song just so I can hear my voice on tape?’ And I was like, ‘No! We’re not starting that.’?”

Thicke says there are no plans for Patton to release her own music, though he admits: “She does a mean impression of Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.’ But nobody is allowed to see that. That’s just for daddy.’’

Patton gave birth to the couple’s son, Julian Fuego Thicke, in 2010. Thicke says he also has singing skills.

“He has incredible pitch,’’ Thicke said. “He wakes up every morning and before he even cries to be taken out of his crib, the first thing he does is sing.”

Thicke says he’s let his son tag along when he tapes “Duets,’’ which debuted last week and airs Thursday. Each week the Grammy-winning singers perform duets with amateurs, one of whom will go on and win a recording contract.

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