Reality Check: Best Battles Ever on The Voice? Plus: L.A. Reid and Justin Bieber's X Factor Beefs

Thou shalt not steal, or so the 10 Commandments tell us. But when it comes to Season 3 of The Voice, it’s more than okay to pilfer thy neighboring coach’s ousted contestant. In fact, the introduction of “The Steal” has turned the show’s Battle Rounds from an exercise in frustration to a joyous celebration.

On this week’s edition of Reality Check, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I dish this all-important format change to NBC’s reality singing competition, talk about the emergence of uni-monikered diva De’Borah as a potential threat to win the whole season, and offer some controversial opinions about the Trevin Hunte-Amanda Brown showdown on Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.”

After that, we slam down our office phones to express our displeasure with L.A. Reid’s dubious display of ageism on The X Factor and guest mentor Justin Bieber’s ridiculous Twitter tantrum. Plus, we pick our favorite performances from the Judges’ Houses rounds — including a potential superstar in Simon Cowell’s “groups” category — and talk about whether some acts are getting sabotaged in the editing booth.

So press play below for this week’s deep dive into The Voice and The X Factor, then hit the comments with your thoughts. And for all my reality TV news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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36 Comments
  1. noa says:

    -Michael Moore is from Flint… but he makes a living making movies about how no one makes it out of Flint. so who knows. :)

    -the Daria comment made me laugh. thanks Slezak!

    -10 minutes isn’t enough for Idol, and it isn’t enough for 2 shows either (no discussion of the 17-24 group…). but i feel like Reality Check is a bonus present i got anyway, so i’ll stop complaining and just be happy i get more fun with Michael, Melinda and Jason (i’m assuming Jason) before January.

    • skillman says:

      Michael Moore with loads of lies, so can we be sure he is really from Flint? Only one thing we can be sure of Michael Moore, he is fat.

      • Jackie says:

        I’m from Flint. Got out. Michael Moore had a paper called the Village Voice or East Village Voice or somesuch back in the seventies or early eighties. His movie about GM was ridiculous. The scenes he showed of abandoned homes were houses taken under emininent domain for freeway expansion.

  2. Glad to see you guys back! Really would love to see two parts of the show going forward if possible, I know the Voice and Xfactor aren’t as popular as Idol, but I feel like at this point we are missing so many high points, Lylas’ awesomeness, Emblem3 self destruct, Demi’s general awesomeness/awfulness, as well as several great battles on the Voice. With live rounds just around the corner on Xfactor, Id love to hear your opinions on more than just the best and worst of 16 acts! Keep up the awesome and fun commentary! Love both of your opinions!

    • Trent says:

      I agree that this video is just too short! I love Mindy Doo and Reality Check, but less than four minutes is NOT enough time to discuss The Voice and the great battles last week. Please make these longer, Michael!

      • Aria says:

        Oh yeah, Slezak, you and Melinda clearly have nothing better to do than double the times of your videos. Ten minutes is fine. Nice job.

  3. lbj123 says:

    love the show! but is there nothing about panda? why did she disappear? can u bring her to one of your shows?

  4. dan says:

    I agree, you could use more than 10 minutes on these two shows. It felt rushed. Give us two parts to Reality Check!

  5. raftrap says:

    “Ooh that’s a shocker!” Melinda never ceases to make me laugh here, I think that and the “We’ve conquered outer space” Skylar comment, are just two of the greatest contributions to web content in the past year, I missed watching this. And I think I’m gonna start watching “The Voice” again, I didn’t knew anything about the judges stealing contestants, sounds fun.

  6. Tim says:

    Why oh why did LA Reid get so mad about getting the over 25’s. OK Let me explain.

    Last year, Simon Cowell won the contest in the Judge’s homes round by cutting Melanie Amaro, and then bringing her back. Melanie was a strong balladeer with a bland personality (al least until we saw her open up about half way through the show), but the “resurrection edit” made her a fan favorite and she won going away.

    So LA Reid is trying to duplicate this move. By starting with the staged tantrum, he invokes sympathy for his over 25’s, and he gets to have a wider arc in his critiques. Anyone want to make a bet as to which week LA says “OMG I was totally wrong. You have won me over. You get a record deal no matter what happens on this show!”

    LA is trying to out-Simon Simon.

    “The Voice” is all about the judges.
    “The X Factor” is a little about singing, a little about judges, and a LOT about who can construct the best narrative. Last year’s winning narrative was “Girl gets unjustly eliminated, and comes back to win it all.”

    This year’s winning narrative is up for grabs.
    Could be “Simon creates an incredible rap group out of thin air.”
    Could be “Watch a young singer develop just like a Lea Michelle.”
    Could be “Unlikeable cheetah-zit girl morphs into vulnerable phenom.”
    Could be “Bullied girl blossoms.”

    The winning narrative is probably NOT:
    “Annoying over 25 voice teacher has no artistic soul, but has lots of tricks.”
    “I’m looking for my birth mother.” – Unless LA Reid has managed to find the birth mother for a tearful reunion.
    “Annoying surfer dudes are too cool for this show.”
    “Charming father of three brings back Al Green.”
    “Baby lock them doors – redux.”

    The best winners of American Idol were all about the narrative, and not about the judges. Remember Kelly Clarkson – girl next door. Carrie Underwood – Farm Girl. Fantasia Barrino – rough gospel diamond from the hood.

    Just sayin’

    • raftrap says:

      I just wanted to add that this year’s narrative is “Simon Cowell creates another One Direction”, and also that X Factor is a lot about the judges (if you ask me what I remember about last year, I can only spout two words: Cheryl Cole). About the LA Reid thing, of course is something producer made, the question is why? LA Reid has been a famous (if not the most famous) producer for a very long time, he’s know inside and outside the industry and was very well known even before this show, does he really want to be seen now as an evil reality tv character? does he want a catchphrase? does he not realize that he himself is a talented man over the age of 25? is he going to start calling the overs category the “it’s over’s”? I hope he gets it back together, last year the show had two unnecessary bad impersonators of Paula Abdul, this year we don’t need two ghosts of Simon past.

      • Saul says:

        Gosh… I love Cheryl Cole and hate Nicole Scherzqwertyuiop!!!! She needs to be back on my TV, like, right now! She divided singing competitions in two different eras: before Cheryl and after Cheryl. And “after Cheryl” sucks.

    • Tess says:

      LA’s comment was a not so subtle nod to the audience that they don’t want anyone in this category to win this year. He personally probably feels that trying to start someone’s music career after 25 (as if that’s old) is too much of an uphill battle and that the majority of the buying public aren’t interested in older singers. Course, Susan Boyle started her career at 48 and she’s had two major selling albums back to back (with a third on the way that will probably also do very well) but someone like LA would likely see her as an anomoly and not a general rule.

      • teatime says:

        Maybe most new artists are under the age of 25 because most record producers are like LA. They only want to sign kids with no real musical identity who will do whatever the market research says they should do.

      • FreeHaley says:

        And a little known pop singer, known by some as Madonna, didn’t come out with her first album until right about 25. She seemed to manage to do OK despite not really becoming known until she was 25 and decrepit. (OK, maybe she had a single a bit before 25 but basically she wasn’t the huge pop dominator until after she turned 25 and nobody considered her old and decrepit and without a chance back then….).

    • rwfblog says:

      Tim, you could be on to something concerning LA Reid’s planned story arc.

      I’ve thought of another possibility (yours is probably better), one that explains Justin Beiber’s presence. Imagine that LAR had to commit early to having Madonna or Bieber as his guest mentor — before he knew what category he would have. He chose Bieber in hopes that he would once again get a group of younger singers. (Note that LAR initially said he wanted neither the groups nor the over 25s.) In having Bieber as the mentor for the older category, he now looks foolish, whereas if he had chosen Madonna, he would have scored a coup.

      I do think that his phone-slamming was for show, and probably filmed after the actual phone call.

  7. terdrains says:

    I definitely think ageism is an issue. In the first two weeks of X Factor UK two extremely talented vocalists from the “overs” category got the boot. Case in point, a freakin’ amazing performance from Melanie Masson:

    Why don’t people like the overs? I love them; they have so much heart!

    • Saul says:

      I think they’re going to fire L.A. He didn’t become a superstar like Simon did on Idol. He continues to be the guy who signed the artists X, Y and Z. If you look at The Voice, there is not a weak link as L.A. All the coaches bring some entertainment value to the table.

      They should hire will.i.am to replace him. And bring Cheryl back would be awesome too. She is UK’s pop princess, one of the sexiest, most beautiful women alive and KNOW HOW TO MENTOR her acts. She is way better than Simon. But I know it’s not going to happen, SO… whatever. I still think LA needs to go, otherwise The X Factor will never get a chance to become a #1 hit.

      Britney will be fired too. She’s way too expensive for someone who brought zero viewers to the show. Since Cheryl is out of the question, my top choice would be Katy Perry – although not a great singer herself, she clearly has The X Factor and was a brilliant guest judge both on Idol (remember the “This ain’t a Lifetime movie, sweethart!” comment?) and The X Factor UK (she may have kissed him during the MTV VMAs but she refused to say “Yes” to Niall from One Direction). She would be awesome.

    • Tess says:

      Not sure if you can really compare the US and UK over’s categories though. In the UK, it’s usually more joke acts that get through in that category for the entertainment factor they bring. This year, Gary Barlow got the category and publicly called out fellow judge Louis Walsh for the mockery he has made of the category over the years with all the joke acts and was determined to show serious talent in the over’s group. Seems like the comments put Louis’ nose out of joint and since then he’s badmouthed Gary’s acts and caused an uproar by sending one of Gary’s acts home that he first said he wanted to keep, then reversed course to send the vote to deadlock which lead to an actual joke act staying instead of the more talented over 25 category singer. It’s as if Louis is personally orchestrating the over’s group getting booted early to insure Gary doesn’t return next season…

      Melanie Masson was by far better than Louis’ boyband that she was in the bottom against this past week, but Louis’ got Tulisa wrapped around his finger, and once she sided with him and voted to send Melanie home, Melanie was as good as gone. The new voting system over there is to blame for that one though, with voting opening at the start of the show and her going last, she was at a major disadvantage.

  8. Dan says:

    Is it bad that I thought Deborah was a boy?

  9. Blinged Up says:

    Yay to Reality Check brightening up my Monday.

    Boo to LA Reid for being a pompous, blowhard, egomaniac, biased, crappy judge.

    That about sums it up for me today.

  10. Dan says:

    No mention of Lylas? They were easily my favorite group.

  11. HelloBuzz! says:

    Mondays are so much better with Reality Check! =)

  12. d.p. says:

    I LIVE for your recaps lol. Nothing will ever beat Idoloonies (especially that EPIC season when Haley was on), but this is the next best things. I agree with your Xfactor analysis, but how could you leave out Lylas? I thought the KILLED it and are a major threat to steal the show. But then again with so many great acts, I guess it’s hard to choose…

  13. KR says:

    I agree the shows should be separated and there needs to be a mention about Lylas!

  14. Kim OQuinn says:

    Please don’t make us wait so long for the next issue. No more hiatuses – promise?

  15. JK says:

    WHAT ABOUR LYLAS SLEZAK THEY WERE INCREDIBLE!!

  16. Marianne says:

    A comment about Flint . . . . it’s pretty bad. Just sayin’ I love that girl!! ~ signed. . . a Michigan resident

  17. p says:

    Lyric Da Queen reminds me so much of Aaliyah and not just physically or because of her music or even because of the way she seems to ooze sexiness in the way she moves her body. She has that thing that Aaliyah had that told you she’s a tough woman, she could kick your ass, she HAS kicked ass before, she’s survived a lot and has the scars to show for it. But she’s also a young woman, with this vulnerability and this sweetness that both soften and emphasize her toughness, that make you want to root for her because she deserves a better life than all the crap she’s had to deal with so far.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah, that is a great group she is in too. I wasn’t expecting to like them all that much, but man, that was star power there damn.

      • p says:

        it really was. star power and chemistry. so much chemistry. it’s like they’d been singing and performing together for years. i don’t watch x-factor but i found out that they made it through that round. i hope they make it even further!

  18. FreeHaley says:

    And her life there really may have been that bad, some of those towns in Michigan there are reallly bad, I mean guns and murders like you wouldn’t (and apparenlt literally don’t) believe.

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