Reality Check: How Tessanne Won The Voice by Slaying a Played-Out Song! Plus: #TeamAdam Sabotage, X Factor's Nauseating Ending!

The Voice and The X Factor have concluded their respective seasons with righteous wins by Tessanne Chin and Alex & Sierra — so how come the former finished on an epic glory note, while the latter show left us with ear-piercing microphone feedback?

PHOTOS | The Voice: 25 Best Performances of Season 5

In the latest installment of Reality Check, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I dissect Tessanne’s never-really-in-doubt victory, which she achieved by transcending an overdone song choice (and daringly reggae-fying The Beatles). We also debate the final solo performance of her worthy Season 5 runner-up Jacquie Lee, plus the eyebrow-raising treatment of third-place finisher Will Champlin. (Speaking of “eyebrow-raising,” Melinda and I should probably both plead temporary insanity regarding our own flights of lunacy on this week’s show.)

RELATED | The Voice Season 5 Finale: 15 Additional Awards to Accompany Tessanne’s Win

If that’s not enough, we also spend some time dishing X Factor champs Alex & Sierra — or more specifically, why they deserved the win even though they may have been slightly outshone by Jeff Gutt during the Season 3 performance finale. And yeah, we also come down hard on Simon Cowell & Co. for the unforgivable Demi Lovato/”Annoying Juice” “comedy” montage.

So press play below for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments with your thoughts on “Le Scat,” “#putalittlereggaeonit,” my cacophonous dream-dinner menu and Melinda’s thoughts on Will’s finale duet partner.

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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61 Comments
  1. Nancy says:

    I don’t see that the video is attached to the post???

  2. tracyg36 says:

    Oh, good! So it’s not just me, then…

  3. Craig Hansen says:

    Sorry, but no. The two of you are genetically programmed to never give X-Factor a fair assessment, and you both mark out for the Voice even though it’s a friggin’ joke… they’ve admitted all they care about is ratings and don’t care at all if any of their winners ever experience success post-win. So you two have nothing to say that I care to hear.

    • Stormy says:

      Then why are you here?

    • Blair says:

      Yeah X Factor cares so much about their contestants post-win?? How come Meanie Amaro hasn’t released an album yet? ALso why didn’t they invite Tate Stevens, last years WINNER, back to perform? The Voice actually had 5 alums return and and perform!

      • Eric says:

        I mean at lease she has put out three singles that people know about, and Tate has put out an album, and some of his songs are on the radio. I really haven’t heard a lot from the voice winners except for Bradberry.

    • DJ says:

      Even if they’re only worried about the ratings, can you tell me in good faith that this season of X Factor was good as the season’s The Voice?? I seriously doubt it (especially after that horrific “annoying juice” montage), and as such, they’ve [Michael & Melinda] focused on the better show.

    • X-Factor has had three years, and it’s never been a quality show, even when it’s produced quality singers.

  4. Ryan says:

    celine’s scat for the win

  5. Dan (Haleyloonie) says:

    I’ll miss Reality Check… Fortunately Idology starts in January! :)

  6. TMac says:

    Avicii doesn’t sing that somg, and they’re not a band or group. He is a DJ/Remixer – so the Voice actually got the real vocalist of that song to perform with Will. It’s not like they picked some random guest off the street.

    • Ashbash says:

      But the voice went more out the way for tessanne and jacquie. Tessanne got Celine Dion! and Jacquie lee got paramore two really huge acts, will really did get some eant

      • Ashbash says:

        Some random black guy who no one knew. I don’t even think aloe blacc is in the music video. They could have gotten a number of better acts like Gavin Degraw, Fall out boy, even imagine dragons some act that complimented his vocal skills and that the audience recognized. I’m sure Adam has some friends who could have done his artist a favor but aloe blacc?!!! If people want to get on Adam for “sabotaging” then i want to get on the producers of the voice for their definite sabotage smh okay want done

        • TMac says:

          I agree. But the way Melinda and Michael were talking, it sounded like they thought they brought someone who sang the song once at karaoke. It is the actual vocalist on the song. But they could have gotten someone more on par with Jacquie and Tessanne’s artists.

          • LG says:

            A little research by Slezak or Melinda would have helped. “I Need A Dollar” by Aloe Blacc was a #1 song in the U.K. While The Voice should have had a level playing field as a far as getting each of the final three a top name artist to perform with, it’s probably not that easy to schedule one to perform at the last minute.

  7. I think this ended up to be a very fitting finale for both ‘The Voice’ and X-Factor. I am actually very happy with the outcome, the right persons won. I am most excited to see what Tessanne can do, I think she definitely has a career ahead of her

  8. Teeny Bikini says:

    Hey Michael and Melinda – you posted an amazing season! Really. And thank you for posting 2 days before Christmas.

    The Melinda scat thing is comedy gold. Actually, she’s been hysterical all season, aside from being incredibly knowledgeable in general.

    Michael, I j’dore [spelling?] you and this show. Looking forward to Reality Check for AI – although I cannot bear to watch with JLo back. #IWillNotBeAssociatedWithIt :)

    Now, excuse me while I watch this video 5 more times. Cheers!

  9. abz says:

    I really feel bad for Will. I usually like Adam as a coach aside from some of his poor song choices at times, however, that was a d*ck move what he did to Will. I have no problem with him preferring Tessanne winning, but keep that to yourself or between you and her. Don’t go taking all of the man’s hopes away.

  10. abz says:

    Also, I love these reality check videos. Melinda is too funny. I vaguely remember her from American Idol but I feel like checking out her music.

    • NatasyaF says:

      Good point on the props to Melinda. I’ve enjoyed Michael’s recaps for MANY seasons; having Melinda contribute has been a terrific bonus. Whether I agree or disagree, their perspectives are interesting and knowledgeable, and their interactions make me laugh. Excellent job, yall.

  11. A says:

    Dream On will always be Amanda Brown’s

  12. greg says:

    now, tell me now Can somebody Shut UP Michael, does he know anything about singing, Jacquie can sing but she just couldn’t match Tessanne, Jacquie cannot control her vocals, she straining and puffing tired and have her mouth wide open, it pains me to see her behave that way. Hands down, she couldn’t manage it… period…

    • Kate says:

      dear, we all have opinions and different taste in music! Free country!! If Michael likes Jacquie is a matter of taste. he even said it.It does not diminish tessanne’s vocal abilities

      P.S obviously tessanne was going to be a better singer than jacquie. Tessanne has at least ten years in the industry and comes from a music family. Jacquie is an untrained and amateur singer that needs development.

      KEEP IT CLASSY!

      • KiP says:

        ^This
        I get that Michael’s preference for Jacquie annoyed many people, but he has always stated it in terms of his own tastes. Its been frustrating to read comments that are so over the top anti-Jacquie. She’s a teenager and could use more training, but can sing and has a distinctive style. Whether you like that style or not is your own opinion. Tessanne is an amazing singer and I’m glad she won. I don’t think, however, that means that its necessary to trash Jacquie like she’s some puppy killer or something. I, for one, hope that Jacquie keeps working at it because I think in a year or two she could be an exciting pop act to watch.

  13. Jim says:

    Can We please make this a half hour weekly series on E! ????
    That would be soooo great

  14. Kevin says:

    They didn’t seem to understand the relation of Avicii and Aloe Blacc to “Wake Me Up”. Avicii (his real name is Tim Bergling) is the EDM DJ/producer of the song (not a group/band, Melinda) and Aloe Blacc is the vocalist. Not just a guest vocalist, THE vocalist. I’ve never understood why some EDM songs usually disregard the vocalist almost completely when it comes to crediting the artist of the song, but oh well. Nevertheless while Aloe Blacc is relevant in that sense, I agree that compared to Hayley WIlliams and especially to Celine Dion, Will seemed to get the short end of the stick.

  15. Mika02 says:

    Yes and Yes to everything you guys said especially Melinda’s commentary!

  16. Mika02 says:

    @michael & @melinda do you think Adam’s treatment of Will has anything to do with the fact that Will’s father is an established singer in US with tons of connections?

    • Ashbash says:

      Will’s father’s presumed many connections is an ongoing assumption with voice fans. If will’s father had such great connections or was willing to use his “connections” wouldn’t you think that will would already be an established singer by now. Maybe these connections aren’t there. I could understand if his dad was part of a band like Bon jovi or Aerosmith but I don’t think that being part of the band Chicago would have as great of current connections these days as opposed to being part of a band that is still pretty current in Hollywood these days.

      • Mika02 says:

        No I am saying was that Adams ideology in his treatment of Will. His behavior kind of came out of nowhere to me.

        • Ashbash says:

          I think all the coaches kinda knew that will was the least expected to win. Blake and cee lo on different occasions even mentioned how no offense to will they saw tessanne and James advancing farther than him. And it became pretty clear towards the semis that if there was going to be a winner on adam’s team it was likely going to be tessanne. So I think what everyone really misunderstood as mistreatment was Adam being a mentor and coach being like I know it’s unlikely for you to win so let me give you as best advice as I can and help you grow as an artist. So I think Adam just decided to take on a guidance role with will because while everyone think he mistreated and sabatoged will I’m betting he will sign him to his label now that the show is over.

  17. CC says:

    I agree with you on basically everything you said about the Voice, including Adam’s treatment of Will – but- I must make a case for Aloe Blacc. In my opinion, I felt like this was the type of music that Will would actually make, and from what I saw, he seemed genuinely excited to be up there singing the song, whether or not it was with the biggest star of the night. And if you aren’t familiar with Aloe Blacc, look him up- he’s great! Celine Dion is amazing, and an icon, but she is not the most current of stars. What Will got to sing was current and moving and he just seemed pumped about the song.

    But yea- everything else, right on point!

    And also- Jacquie with Hayley Williams, did not expect that to be so fun!

    • Singing_gal says:

      Thank you! I loved aloe blacc’s last album, and I am sure his new one will also be Amazing! Ol’ school throwback Bill Withers style. Actually surprised Melinda doesn’t know who he is. Sad times when extremely talented artists aren’t recognized.

  18. James says:

    I agree that the Jacquie and Hayley’s duet was really fun. I wish that Christina had given her something that fub, maybe some from the Paramore’s songbook? She can slay it like she did with Stompa. On a side note, I bet Jacquie would sound awesome on The Only Exception.

    • lee says:

      i was thinking if christina had kept olivia instead of josh then she could’ve turn olivia into the power singer that she wanted jackie to be and jackie could’ve sang songs more her own age

      • Ashbash says:

        ^^This
        I never knew that Olivia could sing like that. She was definitely the powerhouse singer that christina wanted. Although Grey surprised me too. Didn’t know she could sing like that either both of them were on tessanne’s level. If only they had better song choices from their coaches their potential could have been realized.

  19. Jason says:

    Your homework assignments until American Idols starts in January, Michael: Rewatch Dreamgirls at least 10 times to know how to properly sing And I Am Telling You since you have no idea what you’re talking about when you said that Jacquie sang it with passion, fury,…
    Melinda kills it as always. That ‘wa-pa-pa-pa-pau’ totally makes my day :D. However, you should also rewatch Amanda Brown’s Dream On several times. That’s how you really nail that note.
    Anyway, you both make The Voice and X Factor much more interesting to watch. Thank you for all the work you’ve done and looking forward to Idology.

  20. DS says:

    Didn’t dig the comments about Aloe Blacc. They guy has an incredible voice, it is a popular song this year… While I will rightfully agree he is not as famous as Celine or Haley, I thought it was a nice fit, and it was one of my favourite moments in the Voice finale, so I heartily disagree about you and Melinda’s little chat there.

  21. Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” is a great song and was the theme song to an HBO series, but the guy cannot catch a break.

  22. Jason says:

    It seems to me that most of the contestants this season were headed in the wrong direction. I can’t imagine how exciting this season would be if Jacquie did something more age-appropriate and fun, Cole didn’t just sing country, James sang something intimate like A Case Of You instead of rock, Caroline’s with a darker song,….. Even Tessanne struggled a lot before she found her groove with reggae, sailed her way into the final and won. This is the best Top 12 in 5 seasons of The Voice, but having the worst song choices of all.

    • Don Viajero says:

      I agree that song choices became too predictable and somewhat boring during the later part of the season. I wonder if this is because the other coaches picked up on Blake’s winning strategy of playing it safe with old classics.

      But I also don’t think this season would have been the same if Jacquie hadn’t done songs like “I Put a Spell on You”, “Love is Blindness” or “I’m Telling You”. While I did enjoy the more youthful carefree vibe of “Stompa” or “Ain’t it Fun”, and think that’s probably the direction she should aim for in her own career, her performance of some of those supposedly less “age-appropriate” songs Christina chose for her were among the highlights of the season.

      As for James, while he did well with A Case of You, I’m glad we didn’t get a whole season of that. I think his problem was being given all these classic rock anthems rather than more alternative stuff like his blind audition.

      Where I do agree was with Caroline. She needed to mix in some darker stuff – perhaps along the lines of Lana del Rey or Daughter.

      In any case, the important thing is that the person with by far the best voice won and that the other two finalists both deserved to be there. I was a Mathew fan, but I have to admit that both Jacquie and Will were simply more consistent than he was.

      As for X-Factor, I’m no Demi fan, but I also thought that supposed “joke” was in incredibly bad taste. But I guess that’s par for the course for that mess of a show.

  23. Um, may I say that I LOVE these shows every week. Michael and Melinda are fantastic together.

  24. Maris says:

    I’m gonna miss Reality Check, I’d love for you guys to bring it back for the next season of The Voice instead of just Idology

  25. Grumpy Ol' Lady says:

    X Factor USA had a lot of promise. Cowell et al had a winning program in the UK and the rest of the world, but they weren’t paying attention and didn’t learn from the success of The Voice–the US public just didn’t want more joke acts, reliance on appearances, inexplicable eliminations of good singers, or sob-sister back stories.
    .
    I had a lot of hope for X Factor, but the snafu with Demi’s package illuminated exactly why XF has failed (or will, if they gasp out another season). The way the entire show was run was awful, from top to bottom. Cowell either wasn’t emotionally invested enough in the show, or he trusted the wrong people to run it for him. I don’t want to believe Simon actually vetted the “annoying juice” package, because I can’t believe he’d be that stupid.
    .
    After the “annoying juice” piece, however, I don’t believe there can be redemption for XF. This said by a person whose s/o has auditioned twice for XF, and we were planning on doing so again this year, so we had a vested interest in it continuing.
    .
    We’re now looking into The Voice.

  26. Davey says:

    I love Michael and Melinda but I will not miss the praise for Jacquie Lee. So glad she didn’t win.

  27. Terry says:

    HAHAHAHA, omg thanks for all the laugh out loud moments Melinda, you crack me up! Happy Holidays! As for you Michael, every time you start saying something I don’t agree with, I’m going to mimic Melinda’s Celine Dion scat impersonation. GOLD!

  28. Juju says:

    I do not think your assessment of the x factor is fair. You obviously care about the voice coz of $$$.
    Jeff had a great partner for the duet! The best of the series!!!
    The live duets were not that planned as Simon hinted, it was good enough big stars gave up their time to come to these duets! Unlike pre-recorded obvious ones from the voice.

    And will everyone light the heck up about the stupid demi joke, it’s a JOKE. No one cares about her drinking problem, stop making such a big deal! In no way it was reference to alcohol, and that’s why simon made her shut up.

  29. Adrian says:

    Thanks Michael and Melinda for doing this reality check! This is my biggest discovery in 2013. I possibly will watch American Idol because of you two! I 100% agree with you that Kelli needs to get a permanent job as a judge in these singing contests.

    About Voice finale, Tessanne just gained the momentum towards the end and “I have nothing” is just so amazing. Melinda is right and Tessanne pushes it up another notch. Musically, you can’t do much with this big ballad. About Will, I love him but Adam and the producers can do better. Adam should have at least found one of his better friends to sing in the finale with him and at least do your part as a coach. He has shown preference towards James and Tessanne throughout the show, and I really think he is not being fair at times. We are humans and have preference, but at least give Will a better finale night. In terms of the actual show, Voice finale is definitely a good show overall and I am surprised none of them talked about the duet by Lady Gaga and Christina, which is the best performance of the night.

    About X Factor Finale, I am disappointed with the actual show itself and compared to its semifinal, the finale show has gone down a notch. Given this show’s high possibility of not coming back, I will still want to make sure that no more celebrity duet on the actual performance night and when the contestants are sort of judged? Obviously some of these celebrities do not give this duet enough rehearsal time or thoughts, so the duet between Leona Lewis and Alex & Sierra is a disaster, not as bad as Carly Rose and Lee Ann RImes. But given how great Lewis was the next night singing her solo (she was dancing too), it was obviously that Miss Lewis did not care much about this duet or give too little time in rehearsing the song. For the performance night, I still think the mentors should sing with contestants and three out of four are professional singers. Simon can’t sing, but since there is only three of them in the final in the way, one can always fill in. The judges/mentors listen to these contestants all season long so they must know their styles and can give a better performance. Demi can sing a beautiful duet with Alex & Sierra. Kelli can certainly do a powerful duet with Jeff. Paulina can sing a Spanish duet with Carlito. Just save the celebrity duet the next day, when there is less pressure. BTW, Leah Michelle was amazing on the finale with Cannonball. This is how you sing live people!

    Thanks again Michael and Melinda and can’t wait to see you two back for American Idol!

  30. Steve Z says:

    Actually, didn’t David Foster work with Katharine McPhee on going up on the key change when she did “I Have Nothing” on Idol? Just saying… it’s been done before (I still love you two).

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