Reality Check: Alex & Sierra Trump Restless Road (as Simon's Credibility Crumbles) on The X Factor! Plus: Xtina Cracks the Whip on The Voice

There are only 16 acts in total left standing on the current seasons of The Voice and The X Factor — and yet this past week’s editions of NBC and Fox’s reality singing competitions were surprisingly lackluster.

On this week’s edition of Reality Check, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I discuss the recent struggles of Voice front-runners Cole Vosbury, Jacquie Lee and Caroline Pennell, dish Cee Lo’s weird criticisms of his last woman standing and ponder the effectiveness of the show’s relentless push to fantasize about putting a ring on Matthew Schuler.

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On The X Factor side of things, we delve into which acts are making Season 3 worth watching, and wonder why Simon Cowell seems so hellbent on making Restless Road happen. Plus, I make one of the most awkward transitions in the history of YouTube while attempting to change the subject from Lillie McCloud to Alex & Sierra.

So press play below for this week’s Reality Check, then hit the comments to share you own thoughts and theories on the week in singing competitions!

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. sg54 says:

    Yes! The best part of my weekend is here!

    • Stacie says:

      I wait to watch this show on Mondays, so I can at least have something to look forward to on Mondays. Michael and Melinda are great together, and I really only watch the X Factor at all so I will know what they are talking about. I did fast forward X Factor a lot this past week and I do feel I will eventually stop watching, but I am glad that Reality Check fills me in on what I miss.

  2. DarkDefender says:

    This week, Mike and Mindy Doo.. You nailed it. Completely agree.

    CeeLo doesn’t know what he is doing and Caroline is gonna suffer for it. Matt is the over pimped, anointed one and Tessanne killed it.

    On the XF.. Simon has lost what little credibility he once had, Alex & Sierra (and Rion Page) are the only reasons to watch.
    Also, Restless Road.. Ain’t.Gonna.Happen.

    • Marcie says:

      A part of me thinks CeeLo put down Caroline’s song on purpose because TPTB wanted her in the bottom three to juice up the Twitter Save. They’ve made such a big deal about the save, but what if nobody uses it because the bottom three is boring. How embarrassing that would be.

  3. Dani says:

    You guys need a show of your own. Like a 22 minute show with in depth analysis and recap. Kinda like those sport shows. 12 minutes was not enough.

  4. Tyler says:

    I am convinced that Slezak is bias. And Melinda is a much more objective music critic than he is. At least she acknowledged that Tessanne turned in a very close 2nd place performance this past week. I really don’t know how Michael could say with a straight face that both he thought both James and Caroline’s performances were better than Tessanne’s performance?! James was pitchy and Caroline was sleepy. Slezak is about as bias as NBC pushing Matthew to win the Voice this season. So when Matthew sings an Emeli Sande song (Beneath Your Beautiful)–he gives it an A- and calls it the best performance of the night. But when Tessanne sings an Emeli Sande song (My Kind of Love), he gives it a B+ and wonders why she isn’t doing better. I bet if Tessanne wasn’t on Adam’s team–Michael would like Tessanne’s performance a lot more.

    IMO I don’t see the difference between Adam and Christina as coaches. I think they’ve both been making terrible song choices for Tessanne and Matthew. They both assigned Tessanne and Matthew to sing boring Emeli Sande songs. And Matthew sang a non-challenging song like Wrecking Ball, and an overplayed song like Hallelujah. To top all that off, all three songs did not leave viewers with an idea of what kind of artist Matthew wants to be. (The same can be said for Jacqui by singing a Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song, a U2 song, and a Zedd song.)

    At least Adam was a little bit more consistent by having Tessanne sing soulful R&B songs like Many Rivers to Cross, My Kind of Love, and If I Were Your Woman. Unfortunately, that’s not the type of artist Tessanne want to be. And Adam should know by now that she wants to rock out–that’s why she chose him instead of Cee-Lo. Maybe he’s afraid to take chances with different genres not only for Tessanne but also for James and Will because he was all over the map last season with Amber, Sarah and Judith. But my point is if Slezak want to be bias towards Tessanne because of Adam’s poor decisions as a coach, then he should be bias towards Matthew because of Christina’s (and Blake and Cee-Lo) equally poor decisions as a coach.

    • B. says:

      Honestly I don’t think it’s due to song choice as much as it is peaking early… it happens every season. Judith Hill, Trevin Hunt etc. had like the best blind auditions and battles in their respective seasons. After that it just becames SO hard to top such performances and WOW people… and viewers begin to get bored. The same thing is happening with Tessanne.

      • Viewers get bored because they sing boring songs. Tessanne didn’t peak early, Adam’s been giving her range-stretching, elitists songs and she isn’t having any fun. She needs to go back to stuff like P!NK. New, rock, fun, entertaining. Like all the other divas he’s had before her, he continually tries to prove what great voices they have, instead of letting their personalities shine.

    • Britt says:

      I agree with B. People sometimes want variety in song choices. I personally would rather see someone take a song outside of there comfort zone and make it their own, then someone always singing the same type of song. People like risks. This is the reason why Caroline was in the bottom because all her songs sound the same and blend together.

  5. Maisy says:

    Michael, where is your song? You promised us some SANGing this week if Caroline was saved, did you not?

  6. Montavilla says:

    I had to watch twice just to see Melinda say “that was awful” about Restless Road again.
    And yes, I believe that you promised us a song. Get on that, Michael. You dyed your hair Allison Iraheta fuchsia when Kris Allen won. You can get through this.
    In the meantime, I’m going to go watch that Restless Road bit one more time…

  7. Britt says:

    Michael, You didn’t sing!!!!!

    I agree that both shows were pretty lackluster. I voted to InstaSave Caroline because she is very consistent, but her song choice is always puppies and rainbows. Cee-Lo needs to pick better songs and should have told her that her song choice was boring. I don’t get the love for James, I can’t stand his singing. I tried, but he does not for me and I forget every performance. I do think that Matt and Tessanne were the best and Caroline sounded great, but those hippy songs are old.

    As for the X Factor, Simon is not being himself. He is telling people they are bad when they aren’t and Restless Road always gets a free pass. Stop trying to make them happen!!!!!!!!!!!! Restless Road is terrible and should be called Useless Road. They don’t sound good at all. Also, Ellona needs to stop dancing so much and just sing. Overall the show needs to calm down on the production and the extra loud tracks. It is very distracting.

  8. Brendan says:

    I think Simon is desperate to have the American version of The X-Factor be a success. That’s why he’s forming groups left and right in an obvious attempt to catch the same lightning in a bottle that was found when One Direction was formed. But you can’t force things like that to happen… and I still don’t think Fifth Harmony is going to be as big as he wants. He is still trying with them, but it’s not the same IMO because they are not as fun and forming boy bands is different than girl groups…

    That’s why he is trying again with Restless Road. He noticed how many cute, semi-talented country guys (some more talent than cute TBH but most are less than amazing) seem to be making the finals on all the other shows and he figured that in America, he might need a country boy band to hit big. That’s why he formed Restless Road and why he will never talk badly about them – he wants them to succeed because he thinks it’s his best chance to save the show. First season Melanie won and she has not turned out like Leona Lewis, so he wants a boy band for southern girl voters to go crazy about.

    Of course, Restless Road is not that amazing… but he thinks he can convince people that they are by being honest about other groups performances being good (like praising Lillie and Tim for singing well) while lying about his own (to him, they are always amazing). And when it comes to who is in danger, he never admits that his own acts could be in danger and is quick to throw others under the bus even if he was honest about how good they were earlier (like he did to Lillie last week). I just hope that America does not fall for it. Just because Simon tells the truth most of the time, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t lie when it counts… in fact, it only makes those lies more powerful. To me, Simon has lost most of his credibility now and it’s sad to say that his ‘new’ show will never be as popular as American Idol used to be.

    • HTGR says:

      That does seem to be what he thinks (or maybe just thinks they could be a quick $$$ ticket before the show goes under).
      But I think a win for them would just kill the show even more, between Tate and the three Tates (only ones who don’t sing in tune nearly as often), he would just drive off all the rest of the diversity left in the audience he would surely be turned off by such wins back to back. I think they may have already lost some chunk of audience after last for that reason (and Idol seemed to bleed viewers too after the whole shove the country pair to the finale everyone else be damned thing).
      Maybe he think that audience has already left so he may as well lock in who remains? Or take the money and run if he can?
      All I know is they were far and away my least favorite of his groups and yet they are the only ones he seemed to be utterly 100% behind fully from the critical start. His lackadaisical initial support for SS probably pushed them over the edge to getting quickly cut.

  9. Adam says:

    How the F did Michael even like James Wolpert’s Without You? To me, it’s one of the worst renditions ever, even worse than Amber Holcomb’s on AI.

    i never watch X-Factor, and am not going to, but I think Simon’s goal is different on this show. He’s no longer looking for talent, instead, he wants good-looking testosterones that could make money out of the most auto-tuned productions.

  10. Teeny Bikini says:

    I don’t care about either show as much as I care about yours. Melinda was HILARIOUS this week! And the two of you together are magic! Thanks for the post. Made the day! Cheers.

  11. GTS says:

    Someone better give Caroline a song about a woman scorned, or at very least, in love, fast.

  12. Mike says:

    I’m still confused on their comments about Cole. He was the highest Itunes seller of the week and yet they think he was “down” for the week. I think Itunes has a few thousand people that would disagree.

  13. I found myself agreeing with Melinda again. Tessanne and Lillie were my two favorite acts this week.

  14. Rachel says:

    Season 5 of ‘The Voice’: The quest to find that one special artist who is destined to finish in second place ahead of Jacquie Lee and behind winner Matthew Schuler.
    Season 3 of ‘The X Factor’: Simon Cowell’s attempt to sexualize a group of moderately talented teenage country boys (by constantly showing them shirtless, twerking, in tight jeans, or some combination of these) in order to win the majority of votes from a very small viewing public so that they can win a soon-to-be-discontinued talent competition and eventually split up in order to unsuccessfully continue pursuing solo careers.

  15. Davey says:

    Gosh I really don’t agree much with Michael and Melinda this week and I often do. Matthew’s first notes of his song were terrible. And he had the same expression on his face that he has every week. Caroline’s Leaving on a Jet Plane was a disaster and she captured none of the poignancy of the song. And she sounded weak next to Tessanne in Royals. (I do like Caroline, though). At least Michael admitted Cole didn’t sing the melody during half of his song.

    I did agree with Melinda that Tessanne sang well. But she needs a better song this week to give her a big moment.

    And Will was actually good but he wasn’t even worthy of an evaluation by Michael and Melinda. I think he deserves to move forward more than James, but Adam seems to favor James more.

    • Catniss says:

      Completely agree! Will did very well and deserved to be mentioned.

    • HTGR says:

      Yeah Matthew’s start to that song was probably the weakest job anyone did this week. OTOH, he did bring it after that, brought it big time.

    • TC says:

      there’s no way Caroline was outshined by Tessane in Royals. She was just as good if not better. Her tone is amazing. And as much as I like Tessane and her voice, we’ve heard similar ones in the past.

      • Sam says:

        When the song started to go uptempo, Caroline’s voice did sorta get lost in the crowd whereas Tessanne’s voice brought texture to the song.

  16. HTGR says:

    I liked Tessanne a lot more on Royals to be honest. Sure she did fine with her solo, but the something missing part was there with her Royals duet. And James this week….???? hmmm haha I’m all with Melinda’s expression on that one. He needs to quit that rocker stuff. Every time he tries and every time it goes bad.
    I’d say James faltered more than Jacquie (and Matt’s start was much weaker, although luckily his intro was much shorter than hers).
    Yeah Lillie took XF this week (from what I saw FF through most of it). A&S were not bad.
    Restless Road managed to bring out some Britney level expressions on Demi’s face when she listened to their anti-harmonies it appears.

    • Adam says:

      IA on James. He’s been trying too hard to display his “rocker” persona. It just never came out authentic, that’s due to his vocal chops not being able to pull off a completely gritty rocking skill.

      • Sam says:

        Agree. IMO Adam has it all backwards. He should give Will the rocker songs and James the mellow songs although I did like James performance of Love Interruption.

    • Dan (Haleyloonie) says:

      Anti-harmonies… :) Perfect description.

  17. Jeremy says:

    Melinda made my day with “I can’t liveeeeee” :))

  18. Becky says:

    I don’t think The ecstasy charges against CeeLo are not helping him and his team. He should of sat the season out.

  19. John Anthony says:

    Well, the two shows are quickly coming to a conclusion. Both The Voice and The X-Factor are filled with 16 acts that couldn’t possibly produce a star! The talent left is enough to fill roadside bars and dancehall events across this country at best. The two shows are trying their best to get us to believe a bunch of average talent is somehow going to be transformed into this mystical star just on their word alone. They should join forces this season but the move still wouldn’t produce a single act that would go on with a huge following needed to try and attempt any kind of success out in the public eye. Reading all the comments and not one has created a stir!!!! Not one has separated themselves from this pack of second line performers. The shows should be honest with their fans and admit they failed this season to find a real possible star. They won’t! Like the president’s lies, ” You won’t lose your health insurance if you like it period! You will save $2500. 00 per family period! You won’t lose your Doctor period! The Voice and The X-Factor cry out, ” We’ll give you a star period!!!!!” Go ahead, believe it all if you wish!

  20. dj says:

    Michael and Melinda, you are too funny. You have the hardest weeks when the shows have the hardest weeks. Melinda, you still have such a hard time saying anything negative about anyone, and Michael, you come right out with it and then turn red and crack up at yourself. Fun to watch. Anyway, I quit watching the X-Factor early on this season, so it’s fun to hear your recaps and congratulate myself for not suffering through that show. The Voice was not so great this week, but at least the group performances were good, so it wasn’t a total loss. I wonder if the era of the reality singing shows is dying out, and something else will begin. It seems like the producers take an idea and beat it absolutely to a pulp until everyone is thoroughly sick of it, and only then will they move on to fresh territory.

  21. T. says:

    is this guy really married?

  22. Titina says:

    Restless Road is a disaster. I hate that Simon thinks people are stupid enough to think otherwise.
    Does he really believe they are the next big country boy band group? Come on! They are just not happenin..They can´t sing in harmony and to be honest they are not even cute. They just don´t work!
    Please concentrate on Alex & Sierra & Josh Levi who at least they have potential.
    But seriously Restless Road needs to be the next to go! Enough already! Hope the little girls voting for them get it soon.

  23. John Anthony says:

    Restless Road is my wife’s favorite performer no matter what they sound like. Your right about the girls voting for them. You can’t change their minds and they do vote! You also have Simon on their side and he’s a very powerful person with his own label. Win or Lose, if Simon wants them out there he’ll spend the time and money to give them the chance of a lifetime. One thing, even Simon fails if the talent isn’t there over time. Also, even if this season’s talent is very limited maybe there is a market out there for someone like Alex & Sierra. I wasn’t a big Sonny & Cher fan but they could end up with as big a career if managed correctly as you say. Josh can be put in a vast pool of white and black singers who shout it out with average talent.

  24. Timmah says:

    Simon wants so badly for XF to succeed in the US that he’s thrown out the window what made him popular here in the first place — his brutal honesty.

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