Reality Check: Is J.Lo Likable or Lightweight? Plus: Nepotism, #Lazaro and a Criminal Snub!

Baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low: American Idol‘s Season 13 auditions are in the books, and it’s time for the nightmare that is Hollywood Week.

But before Reality Check can launch into a discussion about those Holding Rooms of Doom — seriously, my cohost Melinda Doolittle is still traumatized by her Season 6 experiences — we’ve got to dish the highs and lows of the Salt Lake City and Omaha episodes.

On the docket? J.Lo’s obsession with saying “Yes” (which runs second only to Keith Urban’s use of “baby”), Week 3 standouts like Paisley Van Patten, Paula Hunt and Austin Wolfe, and the inexplicable “no” votes that Harry and Keith gave to the sublime Jessica Bassett. Not only that, but we’ve got added goodness from Sherlock, Short Term 12, Community, Shadow of a Doubt and more!

So press play below for our latest episode, then hit the comments with your thoughts on this week’s show — and on any contestants you think we snubbed in our discussion! And for all my Idol-related recaps, videos, interviews and exclusives, 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. J. May says:

    Compared to the musical knowledge of Harry Connick, JLO doesn’t even come close to knowing what she is talking about and it shows. Except for Jessica.

    • Marko says:

      My favorite JLo’s quote from last week – “I love country music, it’s my favorite”.

    • zaza says:

      I don’t think a judge has to be a trained musician to be effective, because being a success in the music business relies on a combination of things: voice, personality, looks, showmanship. i do think J-Lo is qualified to comment on some of those things.

      Also, they need some people in Hollywood week who are not as good, so they have someone to eliminate, so why not give someone a chance to go there, even if you know they won’t go any further than that.

    • Kelly says:

      I wish JLo would find a way to comment on the contestants’ style. Nikki used to do this in a way that was helpful and not insulting (unlike Simon). It would give JLo a stronger purpose to be there. I don’t mind if she just says yes to the vocals if she can give the singers pointers to become more stylish and fashion-forward.

    • MamaLis says:

      Did anyone just see JESSICA on Ellen Degeneres? OMG!!! I just watched this Reality Check this morning and I think we all loved Jessica and sure enough – Ellen just scooped her up, gave her an awesome little makeover, and debuted her amazing little song! The song is going to be available for download on iTunes and Ellen within 24 hours. I hope we can all support her.
      SO cool. The song was so beautiful I had to rewind because I couldn’t believe she actually wrote it. Wow.

    • ChellemaBelle says:

      Totally agree. Doubt that they could ever get her, but American Idol really needs someone like P!nk. She can actually sing, knows how to perform on stage, and has a sense of humor that could definitely work well with Harry Connick Jr.

  2. Aida says:

    I can’t wait to hear more from Majesty Rose

    • Joey says:

      I second that.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        I third that.

      • Eurydice says:

        I’m not a huge JLo fan, but I think she’s been pretty good this season. For some reason the producers have decided to edit out her no votes, maybe at her request, who knows. But, she has to have said no sometime or else they would have had a lot more going to Hollywood. This year it’s just over 200, but I think the past 2 seasons it was closer to 300. And the thing is that Keith, who is so very pretty, has been the yes tie-breaker whenever Harry and JLo disagree, so we might criticize him for being too nice…except he’s so very pretty.

  3. Rachel says:

    I had vowed not to watch Idol this year, but I’ve been DVRing it and FF thru much of fluff. JLo is better this time, kept in check by sanity of Harry and Keith, but she’s still such a lightweight it’s almost embarrassing. Why they have a judge who lip synchs during live performances is a puzzle, but I notice they don’t cut out the fawning, “I love you JLo;s” from the final telecast. Fangirls/boys over and over again equal total turnoff. Sing, sing, sing, contestants. Tha.t is what they are there for, so do it!! Harry and Keith setting good tone and doing their job, even if I don’t always agree with their choices. I do hate that maternity/paternity of certain contestant determined fate, but I guess that’s “good tv.”

  4. james says:

    I needed this today. Thanks for making me laugh as always!

    • the real wendy says:

      ITA!! Slezak had me in tears!! I agree with everything you guys said tonight. But I really want the SugarHill Gang girl to go far so we can see the on-stage reunion!!!

  5. Timmah says:

    Love the Sherlock clips!

  6. Joey says:

    She’s a lightweight for sure, but as Rachel says, Harry and Keith will be a good influence on her. They needed a pretty female on the panel, so J Lo fit the bill.

    I would have asked David Bowie to be the third judge, but what do I know?

  7. A says:

    Just love these :-). Have loved Harry & Keith on this panel Really wish JoLo would let Harry talk and finish explaining the musical comments. Yes we in American need to learn more- I like Professor Harry.

  8. Timmah says:

    J-Lo says yes a lot, but keep in mind we’re seeing (for the most part) only the very best of the auditioners. And since she was the only one who said yes to Jessica, I’m giving her a pass.

  9. Mick says:

    JLo serves her purpose I guess but it would be better to have somebody like Brandy who may not be a songwriter but is a truly proficient technical singer or even somebody like Toni Braxton. Even Leanne Rimes knows more.

  10. JEF says:

    It’s hard to take JLo seriously although she has been successful, she is not someone to be giving singing advice!

  11. Sarah says:

    The editing this week was on point. I am almost on the floor! And as always, I agree with Melinda on basically everything. And I am so Team Majesty this year, that girl is going places.

    • Amy says:

      I liked her a lot too. She seemed smart also. She has the “it” factor. More to see in all these “possibles” during Hollywood week, for sure.

  12. Roche says:

    Wait! Slezak runs?

  13. Teeny Bikini says:

    Hm.. Jewel was a great example of a female judge that is super smart about her craft, gives constructive criticism while remaining likable. I prefer constructive over likable, but that’s just me. Michael, JLo is there because she’s JLo – she’s not expected to add anything to any discourse. You need to figure out how to ignore her – like me :) I agree there were some definite average singers put through this week – but as Ms. Melinda says “there has to be somebody to eliminate during Hollywood week.” [not a direct quote, but close] This season is still hands down better than most, so it’s fine for now….

  14. Teeny Bikini says:

    PS- Thank you ssoooooooo much for posting. We just got hit with more snow than ever. I needed this. XO

  15. LeahKittyS says:

    A few things I’d like to say:

    1. Yes Yes Yes Doctor Who 50th Anniversary clips! Thank you!

    2. Stop picking on past Idol finalists, the good ones and the bad ones. It gets old very fast. What’s done is done. Unless you want to flash back to a particularly good performance from a past finalist, keep the focus on the current season.

    3. Glad to see Austin Wolfe as one of your favorites. And I also agree about Dexter.
    4. Kenzie Hall will prove you wrong. Just you wait. And maybe Briston Maroney will as well (the Rolling Stones kid whose name you forgot).

    5. I’m sure there is a logical reason why Jessica Bassett was not sent to Hollywood. We never heard her story; we may be missing a key detail. Or maybe they reached their quota for women with guitars. It’s not the end of the world. In a few months I will probably forget her name.

    6. Ladies and gentlemen…let the 13th annual Hollywood Games…begin!

    • S. says:

      They can say whatever they want about past Idol finalists. It’s relevant, Melinda’s a former finalist herself, and it’s their show. It isn’t old and in the past. It’s precedent. Also, they’re definitely right about Kenzie Hall. Mediocre. I have no expectation she’ll prove them wrong. If anything, Melinda’s prediction that we won’t see these people for much longer is probably pretty accurate.

  16. Leela says:

    I’ve wanted to hurl my TV against the wall every time I see JLo. She is musically clueless & simply vapid. To her credit she wanted to put Jessica through – however – since she liked almost everyone else that isn’t saying much. That Keith & Harry voted no was the one serious WTF of the entire audition rounds for me. And the way the panel voted immediately to send Carmen through tells me the judges are not making their own decisions (at least not for the contestants who have connections) and that this season will be the same old story. Is anyone else bothered by the singers (like Tessa) who have that horrible goat-bleaty vibrato? I know Stevie Nicks (among others) have been very successful, but it’s not musical or pleasing to the ear. Maybe it’s just me.

  17. Ginger Snap says:

    I am wondering why TPTB have trouble with the idea of having an intelligent female on the panel? We don’t need JLo or Mariah or Niki Minaj. Kelly from X Factor or Melinda but not fricking JLo!

  18. Betsy says:

    I didn’t even watch AI last year for the first time ever (but I did watch Reality Check and read the recaps)…..this year I wanted to watch it SANS RANDY and it is SO MUCH BETTER. This may be the best season yet, just because we finally have the right mix of judges who have charisma, charm, humor, intelligence, beauty and chemistry with each other. So What if JLo isn’t perfect, it’s a great mix of judges – part of what has made The Voice so much better than AI recently is that the judges are fun to watch. (And BTW, Shakira is also very knowledgeable and a great female judge) Plus, they’ve finally stopped doing the ridiculous horrible auditions just to make fun of people, which is a great relief. I am not looking forward to Hollywood Week, but after that this is looking like a great season to watch AI.

  19. Brigette says:

    Return of the Scotty-bot! Yaaay!!!
    Ok, this week’s auditions were odd. The judges definitely had some bad judgement calls. I hope this will not be a trend as we continue onward.

  20. Chris says:

    I’m giggling as I’m typing Harry’s question, “What’s wrong with challenging America?” I get his point, but really Harry? Even the best sales person in the world would have a hard time with that one. I appreciate the enthusiasm but that is just way over most of the AI viewers heads, follow JLo’s lead on that one (can’t believe I just said that).

    • Amy says:

      I have to disagree; I think a good portion of AI viewers are smart, musically savvy and can be challenged. I also think viewers are wanting an AI that rises to the higher ground rather than dumbing down, cheesing out. That was Nigel’s game, I think more so..

  21. Timmah says:

    FYI Jessica is going to be on Ellen tomorrow.

  22. Peter says:

    J. Lo is a light weight. They’ve gone too far toward recovering from last year’s debacle.

  23. sam says:

    Jennifer lopez is a great judge and the biggest reason now why I love idol and am watching, i must admit that I didn’t think Harry would be good, but he is — I am just annoyed that he over thinks if someone is gonna make it to the end or pigeonholes someone that he knows their voice when they only sang 30 seconds of one song.

    • twinge says:

      Define great.

      • Ginger Snap says:

        Oh you know, it’s like Steven Tyler and the word ” beautiful” . She never actually “judged” in Season 10 & 11. She doesn’t want to harm her image by having an opinion. So it’s “yes” to everyone. The “goosies” can’t be far behind.

        • Amy says:

          She’s already brought out “the goosies”, twice…I cringed. If nothing else, you’d think she wouldn’t want to be cliche’ and use a term she over-used 3 seasons ago. Anyway, though she wasn’t my pick for female judge, (I’m with others here, Jewel, Shania etc… real artists with down-to-earth & musical intelligence would have been more my choice), but I’m not getting annoyed by her, “Yes’s” or otherwise. (I reserve that for all the pimping of her latest videos and/or ventures we’ll have to endure later in the season.) …but then…even ole Randy never bothered me the way he does some…so I guess that tells you…something. Intolerable thing to me was the negativity, tension, lack of professionalism that went on last year, where Nicki and Mariah got over-paid to act like spoiled brats. At least this year, so far, panel is professional, positive.

    • S. says:

      How could he possibly be overthinking that? That’s what they all should be thinking about. If you’re gonna have someone who won’t make it to the finale either because their voice is gonna get strained and give out well before that or because they aren’t quite special enough, cut’em now. They will have serious problems due to lack of good technique meaning they’re not ready yet. It’s not just a snap judgment by Harry. We’re only seeing 30 seconds or whatever, but they see more than that. You can also tell when someone doesn’t have good breath support without making them sing for 3 minutes. Lauren Alaina suffered a burst vocal chord before the Idol finale and nearly couldn’t perform. It could make for a serious problem for a live television show, if nothing else.

  24. LeahKittyS says:

    Guys, I know why J.Lo is being a softie. At the beginning, the producers told the judges’ panel that they want to take American Idol back to its glory days. So to recapture some of the old magic, she’s trying to be Paula Abdul.

  25. LAR says:

    I like the panel this year. I think J Lo has been much better and I haven’t minded what I’ve heard from her. The chemistry between the three is really fun to watch. Re: Jessica, I was watching Ellen, and she sent an open invitation to her to contact the show for an opportunity to play live. Ellen thought she was pretty terrific, too. Who knows why the guys didn’t like her. I didn’t get it–but they were both pretty emphatic that she needed more time. It might be because they think she’d be able to make a real run for the title with a little more …. whatever they thought she was missing.

  26. Kevin says:


  27. karenb says:

    “Baby” 😍

  28. Kelly says:

    Michael – and everyone – the sublime (and robbed) Jessica Bassett is going to be on Ellen tomorrow (2.4.14)! She has some great YouTube videos. Don’t understand why they said no. Perplexing.

  29. marc says:

    Really wish they hadn’t brought J-low back. I might have given idol another chance but I absolutely can not stand her. I thought I could just enjoy Reality Check but even just seeing her clips in the video is too much to bear. I’m out… until The Voice starts up anyway… haha

  30. Kosha says:

    LOVED the “Shadow of a Doubt” clips!!! One of my favorite movies!! Love you Michael.

  31. Jeffy says:

    The answer to the question in the headline is Lightweight. There is nothing likeable about her, quite the opposite in fact.

  32. Cookie says:

    You could string together JLo’s “YouknowhatImean”s for infinity. I promise you JLo, I am grasping the meaning of “I love everything!” and “It’s a yes for me.”

  33. Shel says:

    I am liking JLo much better this season. Yes, she is a lightweight compared to Harry & Keith, but she seems willing to accept that sometimes. Like the time she just gushed over the guitar player who could play and sing on different beats because she can’t play, and so it always amazes her. That was sweet and real.

    I think she is better this year because (1) maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder; (2) like childbirth, the bad parts of judging Idol fade away with time; (3) she realizes she should have just been grateful for the job and all that moolah; (4) Harry and Keith are the best partners she could ask for. I choose probably a combo of all reasons, but give the heavy lift to #4.

    The judges are a unit this season……….and it is making it fascinating and very enjoyable to watch.

    One thing I would have either liked to see, or have made plain it didn’t happen: JLo saying “no” to Harry and Keith’s “yes.” I tend to doubt that ever happened.

  34. Amy says:

    Another good Idology(oops)RC..loving the Jason-edits, as always.

    I haven’t read the comments yet, but noticed in last AI thread and this, no mention of little Johnny Newcomb from last week. More than loving his voice, I thought he was interesting, and I get a feeling from him and his responses, “can I play you something else; I think I can change your mind”, he’s got self-assurance & more to show. He has that old soul for his young age vibe to me…and, yes more than his share of puppy-dog, kitten cute going on. We’ll see. Surprised, though, he didn’t even get a mention. (side note…his dad was a bit intense and for sure we don’t want any more opportunity for stage-dad stories, invented or otherwise…but he was kind of funny the way he said “Whatever they told you, you better do it!”)
    I did forget his name (I call him “Non-Plussed”, cuz that was his sign), “Sam?” …of all the talent I’m interested in and have hopes for…he was “the one” I got that immediate feeling about, (much like I got with David A., Adam, Phil Phillips, Candace) …that he was going all the way, if not necessarily winning #1 (as we know that can go either way even with the best.) I did think he seemed interesting, and want to see more. I haven’t been commenting on my favs in any post because, and this is a good sign, there have been so many I liked a lot, I can’t keep them all straight yet and haven’t memorized the names. This is different from every other year, when I had only 1-3 favorites, with usually one #1 favorite…even by now. I’m looking forward to the HIGH DRAMA of Hollywood week. As usual, we’ll see a lot of the so-so’s weeded out. I think many of the strong contenders mentioned so far will make it through. I do recall a few I love besides “non-plussed” guy and Johnny N….. I loved Melanie (name?)…blonde w/ guitar from Georgia; both girls with ring of flowers in their hair, guy with dreads & kid who says “Daddy’s taking us on an adventure”, and many others I forget now. I think, too, there are more similar styles of singing/playing and levels of vocal talent this year…so many that I like a lot and curious to see who rises further and stands out…so far no drop-dead stand-out like other years. jmo.
    Side note…I’m hoping with this “new fresh start” on Idol, the over-used wgwg stuff is put to rest. I think even Idol has attempted to do that by showing us just about every type they can with a guitar in auditions! Said it before, say it again…I still think, when it comes down to finals, America judges and gets it pretty right, based on talent, with all types, so the wgwg thing doesn’t hold, to me. Like Uncle Nigel and all the old school thinking…hoping it’s a thing of the past!

  35. Amy says:

    … meant re: Johnny N….didn’t necessarily love his voice, (didn’t hate it), but rather than that found him interesting, and think he has more to show me. …wasn’t sure that read right!