Reality Check: Week 1 Standouts on The Voice! Plus: Are the Coaches Really Flying 'Blind'?

A whopping 17 contestants made it through the Blind Auditions and into the Battle Rounds during Week 1 of The Voice‘s fifth season. And while that made for highly entertaining television, it also left my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I with plenty of room for debate on the identity of the show’s current front-runners.

In the season premiere of TVLine’s Reality Check, Melinda and I dish six different Voice hopefuls we think are worth watching closely — including the guy who’s in the running toward becoming Melinda’s Next Top BFF, the woman who got verrry up close and personal with Adam Levine and a pair of ethereal beauties — one of whom might’ve erred by choosing Team Blake.

RELATED | The Voice Season 5 Premiere Recap: Here for the Party

Last but not least, we delve into the question of whether the Season 5 coaches might be getting a little too much background information about the participants of the so-called Blind Auditions round. And yes, we’ve got circumstantial evidence to back up our theories.

So press play below for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments and tell us which Voice contestants are topping your chart right now. And for all my reality TV recaps, video and news, 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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  1. Lili says:

    Will “Reality Check” be all about “The Voice”?? Please talk about “The X Factor” too, for the all the dozens of people who still love to hate watch that train wreck.

    • AlyB says:

      LOL @ train wreck. I can’t watch that show. I’ve tried but nearly everything about it kind of irritates me.

    • Kariann Hart says:

      I agree…we love to hate a certain judge on another reality show. Any chance you’ll be making comments?

    • Eli says:

      I hate to say this guys, but I think Slezak and pretty much everyone else have given up on X Factor. The ratings are now so dramatically low the show is basically in its dying hours. Not really much point to doing a Reality Check about it.

      • kti says:

        Agreed. And I’d like to think Melinda has better things to do than watch that mess.

      • Lili says:

        I didn’t. Michael still recaps the show every week, right? So he didn’t give up on “X Factor” either. The fact that you don’t watch it anymore, it does not mean that the show doesn’t deserve an edition of “Reality Check”.

        The only good part of “The Voice” is the “blind” auditions, then it all goes downhill. And even as the ratings for the FOX show are low, I still think two seasons of “The X Factor” produced more exciting acts/singers than five seasons of “The Voice”.

        I don’t think “The X Factor” is dead. And, for me, until both shows prove that they can produce a real superstar (instead of solely boost the careers of their judges), they will continue to be the No. 2 and 3 singing competitions in the US.

        Last argument: Given the extravaganza, any Reality Check for The X Factor will be 100% funnier than this one (which was good, by the way).

        • Tess says:

          You’re right, X Factor isn’t dead – the show’s at the very least maintained its week to week audience this season which means people seem to like what they see there and this week actually went up a tick against all new shows rather than repeats when most people would’ve expected it to lose viewers.
          For the record, while the US version has yet to produce a “star” act, the UK mothership version’s got several that have made headways to varying degrees not only in the US but in other countries outside their own… that’s still something for Simon and Co. to brag about that the Voice’s various incarnations haven’t managed so far as I can see… I’ve at least heard songs on the local radio stations from US X Factor alum like Chris Rene, Emblem3, and Fifth Harmony and I have yet to hear one song on the radio from a Voice contestant, and one of the former winners is actually from the next county over from me.

          • beth says:

            What does hearing ex-contestants on the radio have to do with whether or not a TV show is entertaining? I’ll never understand this argument. The (Emmy winning) Voice has twice as many viewers as the X-Factor, that should tell you something.

    • Thea says:

      I’ll see your X-Factor and raise you a Dancing With The Stars. Melissa watches that too. =)

    • james says:

      Yes! And Project Runway, Survivor, Amazing Race, etc…

  2. Babybop says:

    Yay!! I’ve missed this! Love you two!

  3. Karl says:

    if I learned anything from this video, it is that pride and prejudice is available on blu-ray

  4. Joe says:

    wow way to keep editing out blake saying he specializes in 16 year old girls winning the show just to make him sound creepy

  5. Dan (Haleyloonie) says:

    Make em LONGER!!!!!!!! ;)

    • Tyler says:

      Yes. I agree. Make it longer. I wish someone would explain when the blind auditions were filmed, what they thought about the song choices, and what strategy they think the coaches and/or contestants are doing.

  6. Laura says:

    YES! I’m so excited you’re back!

  7. AlyB says:

    Dead on perfect. Melinda nailed my sentiments about Holly & Caroline. I love that quirky, haunting quality they both have. Blake better not steer Holly to country. I don’t think that’s her personal style & her potential fans would be turned off. I can see why there’s a lot of love for Tessane & Donna. I enjoy the power singers performing but it’s never really music that I buy. I like Jonny but I’m not as thrilled with him as Michael is. The live rounds will tell the tale I suppose. I’m just thrilled to see you two covering The Voice. Thank you, thank you. This makes me very happy. Love it!

  8. silverwhite says:

    Well, about the conspiracy theory :

    1. Isn’t it possible that the coaches are prompted to ask certain questions sometimes only AFTER an audition? Or maybe they are given prompts for every audition and use them even for the failed ones

    2. The coaches are too keen on winning to be influenced by a backstory if they don’t hear a good voice

  9. Kariann Hart says:

    Good to see you two back again! I don’t suppose you have time to cover two shows? I actually prefer The Voice to the X-Factor. Now, what about those who already have/had a professional career? Is it fair for the to be in the competition?

  10. Ron says:

    First, let me say I’m soooo happy Reality Check is back.

    Second, I agree about those tidbits of scripted moments in The Voice. Though I will say, the thing with Christina mentioning E.G. looked familiar could have been scripted or not. It probably was, but I only say it may not have been only because on the first episode when Carson was shown talking to her for, like, 5 seconds in the sound booth, even from that short amount of time I knew right away that was E.G. Daily, without even having to google her name or who she was. She’s actually quite famous. So I do find it plausible that Christina just legitimately recognized her. That said, the whole soldier thing and Blake asking about the guitar — someone was clearly talking in their ear.

    • jari says:

      I immediately recoginzed her from Friends. She was Phoebe’s partner and she’d do jingles and she “steals” Smelly Cat from Phoebe. It is truly possible to recognize her.

      • Ron says:

        Yep, I also recognized her from Friends. And, because Rugrats was my life as a child, I knew she was the voice of Tommy Pickles — yes, I knew the face behind Tommy Pickles (is that sad?). Also, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is an insanely popular movie. E.G. is just a very recognizable person because of her fame. There are plenty of arguments against that bit being scripted and her truly just being recognized.

    • Jon says:

      But we’re talking about Christina Aguilera!!! It took her so much longer to remember who Tony Lucca was!!!

  11. norma says:

    I was so excited to see this this morning. I miss seeing you two. Always love what you have to say.

  12. GTS says:

    I’d rather see nick hit on Blake.

  13. Tyler says:

    At this point, my faves are Tessanne, James, Kat and Holly.

    I’m not sure what Slezak sees in Jonny. He’s OK but nothing special. I put him in the same league with Barry Black.

    IMO if Donna wants to win then she should sing more contemporary songs. I don’t think a woman of her mature age to sing golden classics like You Are So Beautiful will help her any.

    Why didn’t you guys talk more about James Wolpert? He’s probably one of the most original contestants so far. At least he didn’t sing You Are So Beautiful for the 1000th time.

  14. Robbie says:

    No X-Factor?? :(

  15. Kiddoo says:

    I’m (we’re) a huge fan of Idoloonies and can’t say how happy I am that The Voice is getting (at least in the fall) the same treatment. Keep it up y’all.

  16. Chablis says:

    Not s fan of Donna. Dated look, old fashioned song style.

  17. billnyc says:

    Melinda! You look fantastic! Love the new hair style!
    Happy you’re both back. Great comments as usual.

  18. AJ says:

    love the first two episodes. love reality check also.

  19. Montavilla says:

    I’m so happy you’re doing this again! Can’t wait for the X-Factor dish!

    (And good for you for pointing out the “scripted” bits.)

  20. Alienate says:

    Thanks for doing this. I love the voice. I also wish you would do a bit of X-Factor even tho it is driving me crazy.

  21. Eric says:

    Hey I actually like the X factor this year, wish you could of done both. I can’t wait for the 4 chair challenge, it looks really good.

  22. verucasalt says:

    Grammar police (sorry, slezak!):” And while that made for highly entertaining television, it also left my cohost Melinda Doolittle and *me* with plenty of room… “

    • Caryn says:

      Thanks, verucasalt-that was bugging me, too!

    • NatasyaF says:

      Sorry, grammar police, but Slezak is right. Leave out ‘Melinda Doolittle’ to see that “It left ME with plenty of room. . .” would be correct–you wouldn’t say “It left *I* with plenty, etc”. . .

  23. K. says:

    Agree, X factor is 10 times better this year then the past 2! Also think it would be really better if they did 3 judges and just do 3 groups like boys, girls and groups with any ages!

  24. Jann says:

    I have no doubt that some of the comments are scripted – maybe most of them. But Cee lo’s comment about the soldier came from the lyrics in the Killers song – I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier!!

  25. TheVoicefan says:

    The bit with Ceelo and the boots he was admiring seemed semi-organic, and was very funny…

  26. liz says:

    Yay its back! I love Reality Check!! And you guys have saved me 4 hours a week now cause I can just watch this (which is considerably more entertaining). Some XFactor coverage wouldn’t be unwelcome lol

  27. Deb M says:

    The talent on the Voice is by far superior to the X Factor so far. Some of the people the X factor judges have put through had me rewinding to hear if I misheard them the first time, but sadly, no. Only one or two standouts so far on the X Factor, as opposed to I can’t count how many I loved on the Voice so far. BTW, I don’t want Nic Hawke to be my Bestie. I want Michael Slezak!

    • scooby says:

      It’s hard to fairly talk standouts on X Factor this season when they cut so many of them off after a few notes followed by a ‘you’re the next superstar’ comment and then show entire songs of failures. Wait for the live rounds. I feel like The Voice has a few contestants every year that sound intentionally quirky, like if Norah Jones and Bjork had a baby. Not really sure how you sound like that and don’t already have a record deal, yet here they come like clockwork. The tone’s incredible and a little too precious at the same time. Something’s up when you see certain kinds of contestants, i.e. ringers and/or quirky voices. I think at this point, agents are long wise to the game of getting their clients on shows like this (see trying-to-go-solo Cassadee Pope) and X Factor (see Carly Rose) in order to get them press and shortcut their way into promoting a future album with pre-existing name recognition. Few of the singers just straight up audition. Jordin Sparks got rejected the first time she tried out for Idol producers–and by “producers” I mean whatever intern they put at the cattle call audition table she went up to. She went to another city and made it. Not everybody who does that is deluded about their chances. ;)

  28. jan says:

    Agree with Melinda about being worried about Holly being on Team Blake. I hope picking Blake doesn’t come back to haunt her. She’s my early favorite and I hope she sticks around for a long time.

    • MC says:

      Exactly. I wish Holly was on another team; perhaps she will be stolen during the battle rounds. Christina described Holly’s tone as “silky.” That’s a great adjective for Holly. My favorite audition (the only one better than Holly) so far was “I’ve Got The Music In Me.” Cee Lo understands Kat’s affinity for Queen and David Bowie and he has a star on his hands. Kat might be too OTT for some folks, but I think she’s great. Tessanne should also be a contender, although I’m curious as to how she would handle up tempo arrangements. I liked Donna’s audition when I first heard it. It’s very old school. I can perceive that as a positive, but she will have to break free from the “old-fashioned” label very soon to advance far in this competition.

      • thedeviledadvocate says:

        My favorite so far this season is Kat, with Holly running a close second. I would love to see a rocker chick win one of these singing competitions. I think Kat has an advantage over Holly because there are so many rock songs that are right in Kat’s wheelhouse, while songs that are in Holly’s wheelhouse are less abundant. Holly’s style reminds me a little of Melanie Martinez, and I loved Melanie, but her performances were a sort of hit and miss with me. I think Holly has a stronger voice than Melanie, but I think she will run into the same problems as Melanie did.

        Kat just has something about her that I find fun, and Holly has something about her that is very interesting. I hope to see both these girls go far this season, and I wouldn’t be upset if either of them won.

        • I disagree with you saying songs that are in Holly’s wheelhouse are less abundant than the songs Kat could possibly sing. Kat pretty much will be stuck singing only rock songs (which is getting pretty old and dated because great new rock songs are sadly becoming fewer and fewer) where people like Holly are much more adaptable. They can turn pretty much everything into a folksy type song like Dia Framton did with Heartless, Lindsey Pavao with Say Ahh, or Melanie Martinez with Seven Nation Army. I think the reason why some of Melanie Martinez’s performances were hit or miss is because it seemed like she did not want to be performing some of them most notably The Show which was a bit painful to sit through. As long as Holly put 100% into her performances, no matter the song, it should be at the very least good if not great no matter what the original genre was.

    • tealeaves says:

      Blake coached both Dia and Xenia. I thought he did a great job with them. I was hoping Holly would pick Blake.

  29. I wish you guys made it half Voice half X-Factor. Some of us do still watch that show. It’s frustrating to watch The Voice, only to see all the Voice alumni die horrible chart deaths when they release their CD’s.

  30. dj says:

    Yay, Reality Check is back! I always enjoy Michael and Melinda and Jason. It’s nice to see Melinda disagreeing with Michael a bit. She’s gaining more confidence every season. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of that Blake 16-year-old girl quote. I like the way the season is shaping up. I can barely sit through X-Factor, but I’m enjoying The Voice. I agree with the worries about Blake. I think winning three times has gone to his head, and it’s swollen to three times its normal size. Let’s hope he lets his artists be who they are. The soldier dude with the long hair looks just like my sister-in-law, so I’m rooting for him, and I hope he doesn’t cut his hair, because then he won’t look as much like her. I think it’s hilarious that some of the singers are hitting on Adam Levine. Maybe there will be a tug-of-war or a sissy fight over him later as a ratings-boosting bonus. Did they get rid of Christina Milan? I’m hoping so.

  31. marygrace says:

    love reality check!!

  32. Yeah! You are back!! Whoo Hoo!!

  33. David7118 says:

    Is there really anyone who watches The Voice that thinks the auditions are truly blind? Also Blake did make mention that he wants a diverse group this year and that he’s not going to go all country again. Only time will tell if the producers allow this to happen

    • melissa says:

      I hope Blake was being sincere when he said that. Because if he punts Holly in favor of a country singer, I will be crying more than her cute little brother!

  34. The Voice Problems says:

    Follow @thevoiceproblem :)

  35. Canadian Fan says:

    Blake-bashing seems to be Michael’s sport. Shame on you.

  36. Dave says:

    The scripted remarks tonight had me searching for ear pieces, but I noticed they have monitors on their stands below the button. I caught a glimpse when the chairs were turning around. If the coaches aren’t given details before the show then I bet the questions are prompted through the monitors when each song ends.