Reality Check: Biggest Injustices of Idol's Top 30! Plus: Four Singers Who Must Advance This Week

It’s “Rush Week” on American Idol — which is quite possibly just a nice way of saying “brace for a bloodbath.”

Indeed, while J.Lo, Harry and Keith whittled the Season 13 field to just 30 hopefuls last Thursday, the next three episodes will find them slashing the roster to 20 — with the voting public then cutting those numbers in half. (The judges will offer a reprieve to a trio of Wild Cards, resulting in a Top 13.)

RELATED | Idol: Randy Jackson Will Discourage Overdone Songs, Be More ‘Hands-On’ in New Mentor Role

On this week’s Reality Check, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I ponder the carnage on the horizon — each naming our personal Top 6 based on final Hollywood Week solos, then further lobbying on behalf of our personal Top 2s.

RELATED | 2014 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s Returning? What’s on the Bubble?

Not only that, but we also take a deep dive into the Green Mile cuts that continue to haunt us, nominate a trio of songs in terrible need of a vacation and target four or five finalists who might not be ready for prime time.

So press play below for the full Reality Check experience, then head down to the comments and share your own thoughts. And for all my Idol-related news, 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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156 Comments
  1. Eli says:

    There’s no video…

  2. Lunakit says:

    (Jason, Jason, where art thou…?)

    I’m holding out hope for Emily Piriz this week, as well….

  3. tadhi says:

    I feel bummed so very bad that Ethan Thompson didn’t make it!

    HUGE MISTAKE!

    please go check his youtube channel and facebook page, guys.. please support that guy, the world deserve to know him!

    • Norah says:

      absolutely! great voice..

      • Jeremiah says:

        Wow! I just watched his video of “Stand my Ground”. I hadn’t even realized that was an original when he sung it during his audition. If I remember correctly, they showed him getting cut while Harry was talking about how some people are poor song writers. I hope they were showing him out of context, because he’s clearly a very talented writer. Thanks for the suggestion that I check him out on YouTube. I’ll definitely be watching more of his videos.

        • CapitalW says:

          Ugh I hated that. I was literally screaming at my tv screen. I hope they were kidding. Ethan has sung completely original songs since day 1(ex for group wk of course) and then they put him in a pile of contestants who didn’t make it because their songwriting isn’t as good as..what? Sam’s original song? Or Spencer’s for that matter? The Horror. See this is what’s tricky about contestants gambling their own songs during hollywood week. The judges focus TOO much on whether the song is great–like Angie Miller great. But the judges have to consider that these people are given limited song choices(as Melinda noted) so they should start opening their minds a little bit to more of the unusual, unfamiliar and amateurish songs the contestants choose to sing. At least they’re rising to the occasion. Geez when Harry was blabbing about that girl’s song sounding like Sweet Home Alabama, I was like dude I could name you a million songs that have similar chord progressions so stop whining like you’ve caught music’s most wanted copycat. Ethan’s cover of Bruno’s Locked out of heaven made me forget the original completely and his originals are promising. He’s a super talented, humble guy and he’s not a douche(looking at you Spencer). Will never know why he didn’t make it. Maybe he looked like PP too much.

    • Kris says:

      Agreed. He was a fav of mine this year. too bad he didn’t make it.

    • Katelin says:

      Ethan is incredible. Unquestionably Human is another great original and I can’t believe he was cut after Spencer Lloyd’s hot mess. Maybe he was too original for idol. Who knows?

  4. Danny says:

    Overall I think the judges have done pretty well. I thought Savion should have made it, but they’ve got information I don’t have. This season has already been better than last.

    M&M didn’t touch on my fav of each.. Maurice and Jessica. I think Jessica will probably get cut pretty soon, but I’m hoping I’m wrong. Jena I’m rooting for cuz she lives about 10 miles from me. She’s 17 though. As M&M said, it can get ugly quickly. I hope Jena holds up.

    • Jeremiah says:

      I definitely agree with you about Jessica. She’s my second favorite right now (guy or girl), after Majesty Rose. But yeah, I don’t have high hopes that she’ll make it far in the competition. Here’s hoping we’re both wrong.

  5. Kathy A says:

    I miss Jason Averett! Hope he’s back next week.

  6. bummer says:

    so depressing they never talk about my favorite for like the first 10 or 11 weeks. Oh well, still love Idology.

  7. Timmah says:

    The only good thing about Mondays is a new Reality Check. Thanks Michael and Melinda for putting a smile on my face!

  8. gdv says:

    I’m still stunned about David and Savion. What?!?! There were at least 5 other guys I would cut before those two!

    What I REALLY want, when the judges make these ludicrous decisions, is for them to say, “Hey, this is what we really like about you. But this is what we want you to work on or why we don’t think you’re ready for the competition yet.” Maybe that would provide some insight? It’d be better than them saying the same fake-out “there’s so much talent we have to cut…and fortunately/unfortunately, that isn’t/is you” every time.

    • Ben says:

      The reason why they do that is because, for the most part, it simply isn’t true. The most likely reason for them being cut is ‘because you are to similar to people X and Y, and we are casting a show, so we can’t have three people who we think the audience will have difficulty distinguishing between. You are unluckily the odd man out.” At this end of the competition, they can’t really give any honest critique for why the decision was made – it was simply a subjective call without a ‘right’ or logically justifiable answer.

      • gdv says:

        But Savion and David were pretty unique musically and style-wise, yet they let 3 Alabama country singers through, so I’m not sure your theory holds up this time. And even if it were b/c they were too similar to another contestant, why not just say “you’re not unique enough … you still need to find your voice”?

        • Ben says:

          Not saying I agree with the decision. Just saying that I don’t believe they have any honest critique to give at this stage of eliminations.

    • Jeremiah says:

      Only five? There were fifteen guys I would have cut before David Oliver Willis.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        ^this. And that goes for Savion as well. George Lovett, David Oliver Willis, and Savion Wright were my top three.

        • Ben says:

          In terms of African American’s, my top three are CJ, Malcolm, and Maurice. I guess thats why its such a tough call.

          • jules says:

            Why does it have to be “in terms of African Americans….”? Those guys are all great singers, period.

          • ben says:

            @Jules – because they are casting a show. If the top ten were all African Americans, a significant chunk of people would be confused about who is who or might have no particular interest at all. This is not all about skin colour, its also about musical stylings. Nevertheless – the same would be true of casting only white singers. The core idea that the production and judges have behind the creation of a top 30 is diversity – first and foremost – before simply picking the best 30 singers. If the best 30 all sounded and looked the same, it wouldn’t be a very interesting show and just wouldn’t mesh with a producer’s golden rule.

          • Shroom says:

            I don’t think you were trying to be or meant to be, but that sounded racist. Why should you have a Top 3 African Americans? They are all singers – why would you need to choose between the African Americans – it should be the singing style if anything. This year there were African Americans singing country and Caucasians singing R & B and both singing Pop and Indie style. That should be the only categorization, if any.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            LOL, I hadn’t even realized my three favorite male contestants were black.

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            Next season your favorites will be Asians.

          • Ben says:

            @Shroom – they are my top three men overall as well, but that’s not the point I was making. The point I was making is that the show is CAST with a certain number of African Americans. DOW and Savion were not casualties of their voice, they were casualties of their skin colour. I’d honestly be pretty happy with a top 30 that are ALL African American, but that’s never what idol is going to do.

            By the way – if you ‘don’t think I was trying to be mean’ then it didn’t ‘sound’ racist. Nothing worse than people throwing around that word in a meaningless fashion. It diminishes actual racism. You don’t even know what colour I am.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Oh snap, sister!

          • Shroom says:

            @Ben – I said it sounded racist and not that you were racist precisely because I didn’t think you meant to be a racist. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the statement is racist when you say that you have Top 3 african american list – whether or not the show is being cast that way. It doesn’t matter what color you are if you are making lists based on the person’s race and not their singing style. Racism is not exclusive to one race.

            Your further statement that people wouldn’t know who is who if the whole Top 10 was downright racist as that statement demeaned both African americans as well non-African Americans. It is such a stereotype to say that people of one race can’t tell apart people of another race if there are too many of them. Are you telling me that non-Caucasians don’t watch the Bachelor or Bachelorette because they get confused by “all the white people”?

            I think the producers casting is based more on the their front-runners and cannon fodder. I really believe they must be talking to the early favorites and explaining the cuts otherwise the number of repeat auditioners would be far lower. Candice was cut twice before the Season she won. She probably didn’t have a chance to win in the earlier years but they didn’t put her through as cannon fodder especially because they may have seen potential in her for future years just like Savion. They also look at things like whether a person is likely to pull in votes even if they are good singers because a contest like this needs you rooting for a person rather than cutting them because they are good but not memorable. The casting is more for mix of talent, “personalities” and good looking people and far less to do with race as there have been skews of race both ways over the years.

          • Ben says:

            @Shroom – you can believe what you want to, but I know what the casting process is actually like. I’m not defending it. The point of my comment, from the start, was simply to give context to why DOW is not through when he is undoubtably one of the top 15 guys. Take it or leave it. (It’s also good to know that my further comment was racist because it demeaned all races? Am I a martian?)

            PS – I never said ‘a race can’t tell people apart from another race’. I said ‘a significant chunk of people would be confused about who is who or might have no particular interest at all. This is not all about skin colour, its also about musical stylings’ (read, country singers far more likely to be white, R&B far more likely to be black, for instance). I don’t care what race someone is – if there are 5 people who look kinda similar and sing kinda similar, there will be people from every race, age and whatever other demographic that will have trouble telling them apart. That’s not me making some sweeping racist statement. It’s just the truth.

            Despite this, from the standpoint of the producers, if they cast a broad spectrum of people (including all the factors you mentioned, but whether you like it or not, also including the colour of ones skin and the age of the individual and, funnily enough, the gender of the individual (Is it sexist to point out they don’t cast the top 30 if they are all the same gender?) then they have the best chance to pull in the most different kind of people and get the best ratings. It’s just how it is.

        • GG says:

          Savion was also my favorite but I have a feeling that the Idol powers that be are saving him for next year.. you’ll see

          CJ has become my new favorite. Harry was wrong. CJ did not sound sharp

  9. Jetting Benny says:

    I have always felt that Idol picks a certain number of people whom they think will fail, so as to insure that their favorites remain and they can say what a great finale it is. So because of that, it may be why the two people you mentioned, who were chosen to stay, were selected over the singers who were far better. I also hope they don’t cut anyone on the “two mentors'” suggestions, mainly as I feel both of them were not the best choices to give young people advice. One of them had a lot of success and one had more press than success but at least one of them plays an instrument and writes his own hit songs.

    Thanks to Michael and Melinda. Your Reality Recaps are the only way I keep up with Idol. Haven’t watched a full show since Season 9.

    Oh and the guy Briston…reminds me in sound of Phillip Phillips and in my opinion, one Phillip Phillips is more than enough.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Briston doesn’t sound like Phillip Phillips at all to me. When he first auditioned with that Rolling Stones song, my first thought was “This is what Nate Ruess would sound like if he smoked cigarettes.” (For those of you who don’t know, Nate is the lead singer of fun.) But now I don’t even hear that as much from Briston.

    • MAB says:

      You must be kidding. Bristlon does not sound anything like Phillip Phillips.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      LeahKitty and MAB, I suspect that Jetting Benny’s statement regarding Briston Maroney and P2 might have more to do with style and interpretation, than vocal quality/tendencies.

    • Name That Tune says:

      It’s a curious thing when people watch a reality show on Fox and are surprised at the degree of casting that goes on. They choose people to be cannon fodder and to generate controversy. It’s that way on Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef and even tired old American Idol. Because they’re not so interested in telling a story as they are in getting you worked up. That’s the Lazaro/Zoanette factor.

      As much as you might want the 20 best singers, the producers have something else in mind. Because it’s been proven to work.

      • Mark says:

        You are absolutely right. I forget that AI is not a singing competition. It is a television show about a singing competition. The distinction is crucial. We don’t see the deliberations that go into the selections, nor do we see the input from the show producers. That partially explains why a talented singer with zero television personality like Candice Glover can be cut one year, only to return and win the following year. All of these shows have a disclaimer in the closing credits that states decisions are based on the judges’ opinions with input from the producers. In many cases, stories and personalities and the potential for drama are placed ahead of talent in the selection process.

  10. Wen says:

    I’m hoping Emily Piriz makes it, but since she was not mentioned here….I worry. M and M also didn’t mention Keri Lynn Roche’s exit – which was surprising. And I want to echo a couple people above who are missing editor JASON AVERETT…hoping he just didn’t have time to work video in (?)

  11. Ann VerWiebe says:

    When you make the duckface, your beard looks really gray. And, I’m mad about Savion.

  12. tealeaves says:

    I think Slezak is right to compare Jordan to Lazaro. If he gets into the voting rounds he can go far on his persona even if the performances don’t hold up. The judges will start off praising him too much, which will help him stay in. Then if it gets to the point where they need to be more harsh it will come off as mean and can help him go even further. They should be honest this week that he is not ready for this.

  13. Mike C. says:

    Thank you, Slezak, for finally not cluttering this up with stupid pop culture clips from movies and TV. (Though you really do need to retire the phrase “crown and sash,” which you overuse constantly and is becoming grating.) I also don’t get your Jena obsession; she’s just another screaming coyote, which is the type of diva you always go for (Exhibit A: Hailey). Just because you can wail like you’re being murdered does not make you a great singer. I agree with the David and Savion oversights, but for me the loss of Mufaraid is the one that stings most. And I am with you: If it’s week seven and we still have Briston and Emmanuel still in this, the whole improvement this season (and it IS improved, largely due to Harry coming on) will be for naught.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I think you’re getting a bit fast and loose with the term “screaming coyote.” If that’s how you define screaming coyote (i.e., Jena and Haley Reinhart), then I think we would be blessed if this species started mating profusely cuz they’re awesome.

    • Ben says:

      I have to say – while I think both Haley and Jena are great – that I agree with the fact that Michael does have a particular kind of singer (in that vein) that he likes where it seems like his objectivity around how good they actually are falls away. With other kinds of singers, he tends to like those who are good proponents of that style, and call out those who are not. With the Haley/Jena style, he tends to like them all, even those who are weak. But I’m completely on the Jena train (even if her name is actually Gina).

    • Disagree! Love the pop culture clips. They add humor.

      • S. says:

        I agree with the pro-clip comments above and below me, plus clips from things like Doctor Who and the BBC version of Emma make me happy. It’s like they’re are pulled from my “mind palace” (Sherlock shoutout) and put in the middle of Reality Check/Idology at just the right moment. I haven’t figured out how they do it, but the technology exists people, I’m telling you. Anybody got a tin foil hat I can borrow?

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Besides agreeing with the above comments from AngieOverrated, ben, and storytellergal, your comment regarding “cluttering this up with stupid pop culture clips …” are revealing.
      ~
      Most followers of this comments section are highly appreciative of Jason Averett’s talents, so if you aren’t one of those people, why are you here?
      ~
      While you have a right to your tastes/preferences, you need to accept that you are currently in the minority in this instance.

      • Matrix says:

        While I think the clips are creative, lately they have been a little excessive and disrupt the flow of Melinda and Michael, which is what I’m more interested in. I thought what Jason did in this episode was perfect!

  14. Saul says:

    - Rooting for BRIANA, GEORGE, JENA, ETHAN, EMILY, MAJESTY and MAURICE.
    – For eye-candy: AUSTIN. By far the most beautiful girl in the top 30.
    – Personality wise, I enjoy MALAYA, ETHAN and JESSICA. So, I would not mind if they make it.
    – I would NOT bet money against SAM, SPENCER and BRISTON.
    – I think the judges will chose MARRIALLE, DEXTER and C.J. as wild cards.
    – Can’t stand: JORDAN, EMMANUEL, CALEB and ALEX.

    • Ben says:

      While kinda shouty, I like the way you did that. Very clear. I have to agree with most of it too.

      I also agree that I am sort of rooting for Austin for non-musical reasons.

      I don’t think the judges will need to pick Dexter for a wild card. I think it unlikely they will have to pick Marialle either (most idol fans are not switched in to the same choices as the online community, and Marialle is in many ways the ‘face’ of the show so far, so I think she will get votes for being recognisable.) I hope CJ makes it in, Wildcard or not.

      • Timmah says:

        I’m not expecting Austin to be around long because we all know how pretty girls fare with the voters. On the other hand expect Spencer to be around a long, long time.

        • Ben says:

          Yeah. I want Spencer to be cut before the top 20 sing. If he is, I will laud the concept of cutting 30 to 20 for its brilliance (sorry Spencer fans, I just don’t like that style – eg Colton Dixon, David Archuleta. It’s not for me, I find it dull!)

          • Idol says:

            I agree, spencer has not done anything overly impressive. Never Gone, Say Something, and a bad original… I don’t see why he’s still here over Savion or David. Savion knows who he is as an artist over spencer and David is SO ready for Idol! If people can’t see that.. It’s a huge shame! And why didn’t M&M talk more about the favorites that just kinda mysteriously were never shown? Like Megan Miller was shown 40 times an episode, then she mysteriously disappeared never hearing from her again.. Plus you can search and find the songs she would’ve sang, and she sang them amazingly! Or how about Paula Hunt who was a front runner that never was seen again.. Quoting Michael from last year “Why can’t Idol let these contestants be great?!”

  15. Mark says:

    For better and worse, Simon’s shadow still looms large over this show. The hole left by his bombastic presence led directly to last year’s clusterfrack of a judging panel, and to the continued obsession with teen contestants. That’s the only plausible explanation for some of the casting decisions made this year (and in previous years). Simon’s priorities were always–in order–youth, look, talent. That mantra continues, even with Simon and Nigel long gone from the show. They should just make the cut-off at age 20 and rename it American Teen Idol.

    • Ben says:

      That’s because youth and look tend to be more important to becoming a successful artist than talent, sadly. Hardly idol’s fault.

      • Timmah says:

        The music business is like professional sports. If you haven’t made it big by the age of 25, you’re probably never going to. It’s just the reality of it.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          There are always outliers. Wasn’t Deborah Harry ancient when “Blondie” hit it big? My sister commented that she looked “so much older than the Go-Gos”. I said I’m pretty sure it’s because she was so much older than they were in the beginning – probably by about 10 or 15 years.
          I love this message board – there’s so much musical knowledge!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I guess that should read “music knowlege”. Clearly I need more “grammar knowledge”. :-)

          • marie says:

            Had to check it out – Deborah Harry was born in 1945. Their first U.S. hit was “Heart of Glass” in 1978, which would make her 33 at the time – yes, older than many.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Thanks, marie. I was thinking she was about 35 so I was close. That is “ancient” in the music industry.

  16. Ben says:

    My top 13 predictions (not in all cases who I want – but who I think will actually make it).

    Jena, MK, Brandy, Marrialle, Austin, Majesty, Dexter, Alex, CJ, Malcolm, Sam, Casey, Maurice.

    I’d be relatively happy with that 13. I’ve counted out Jess Meuse, Jillian Jensen and Spencer Lloyd, and each of those might be an error of judgement. And MK might be hopeful – I tend to hope she will get a wild card if not voted through.

    • Ben says:

      Also, I can’t see vid right now. Can anyone tell me the 4 that M&M say MUST be given a shot? (Jena, obviously, is one. I’d assume Majesty too.)

  17. The Orginal Lemon says:

    David would have been a direct threat to CJ, and they LOVE CJ, (as do I). IMO, CJ is a lock for top 10 right now, and they don’t want vote splitting. Performers don’t have to have identical styles to vote split….there just have to be some similarities. They cut Savion for similar reasons, IMO. They want no distractions from CJ. I’m not saying it’s fair or right, but they know how the voting works on this show. They also cut both of them in a way that allows them to come back next year. Anyone cut after this point can’t come back. It’s strategy.

    • Ben says:

      “anyone after this point can’t come back”. I’m not so sure about that. Last year they allowed everyone except the top 11 to come back, apparently. (David Oliver Willis was cut at the NEXT stage last year,)

      • The Orginal Lemon says:

        Interesting…..well, if any of my faves are cut this week, I would love to be wrong.

        • Ben says:

          Me too! I support the change (if its true). At least, I hope only people who America vote on can’t come back. It would be very cruel to tell people who never went in front of America that they can’t come back.

      • tealeaves says:

        David Oliver Willis was cut before voting last year. He was cut when the judges cut them from 20 to 20. Then we voted on the 20.

        • tealeaves says:

          ^^^^ is supposed to read He was cut when the judges cut them from 40 to 20.

        • Ben says:

          I know, which is the stage we are at going from 30 to 20. But – I have also seen it written that everyone outside of the top 11 could return, I’m not just inferring it from the return of DOW.

          • tealeaves says:

            @Ben I see what you mean. If they cut 10 more next week before the voting, then hopefully that means they could come back in another year. Sometimes I see comments that people who leave “before the live shows” can come back, but that normally that also means “before the voting starts.”

          • Ben says:

            If the rule is ‘anyone america voted on’ you could have an odd situation where Neco or Ben comes 16th of the boys and can’t come back, but those from 11-15 can lol! I wish they really made it clear (but I guess its the contestants themselves who really need to know)

      • I confess to skipping last year’s pre-live show rounds, so I can’t comment with certainty about last year. However, in previous seasons the cutoff has always been the Live rounds: if a singer made it to the rounds wherein America voted but then got cut, he or she couldn’t audition again for American Idol. If you were cut at any point before America voted (whether it was Top 40, Top 36), however, you could audition again. Per Wikipedia’s entry for last season, the Top 40 performed in Vegas in front of an audience but it was the judges, not voting public, who made the selections/eliminations. It was during this round that David Oliver was cut. Assuming the Wiki entry is correct, it really wasn’t a change from earlier seasons and, one could speculate, that anyone cut by the judges during Boot Camp and not allowed to perform for America’s vote this season would also be allowed to audition again next year. However, only the contestants and the show’s insiders would know for sure at this point what is/isn’t in the rules for this season.

  18. Sarah says:

    Emmanuel is the Zoenette of the season..

    • Ben says:

      I think that is a little unfair. I can’t recall hearing Emmanuel sing a note out of tune. Last year Zoanette was not only over the top – she also just didn’t sing that well.

      • Sarah says:

        I see your point, but Emmanuel has made it this far on the same basis as Zoenette – the entertainment factor. He does not have the vocal talent to beat some of the singers that were cut last week.

        • Sam says:

          He does have vocal talent, his personality just gets in the way

        • Ben says:

          I disagree. I think people are not noticing how good he actually is vocally because of his distracting personality (although yes, he does have restraint issues – but I don’t think they are as bad as Jacob Lusks’ by any stretch). All I’m saying is (at this stage) I’m not going to be completely surprised to see America vote Emmanuel into the top 13. I think it is an actual possibility (although, I hope, unlikely, given the talent on offer). I would have been completely bindsided if Zoanette had been voted in.

      • Timmah says:

        I see Emmanuel as more of a Jacob Lusk. If he can learn to dial it back a few notches it might be ok.

  19. “Where They At” ….that was the funniest little moment between Michael and Melinda I have seen in a long time. It’s so true, where did these people go? They actually featured Paisley and Paula and Munfarid very prominetly and then they just disappeared, not even given one of those montages that quickly gloss over them. They did that for people who I had no recollection on but not people that were in promos and who had long auditions. So very odd. It’s kinda like them showing Marielle Sellers twice in two different auditions. What is that about??? I still don’t get that one.

  20. BroadwayBaby says:

    Totally down with MK. Her solo made me cry.

  21. MAB says:

    I do not pick any favorites until it gets to the top 13. I’ve been disappointed too many times. People dissapear and you don’t even know what happens plus I want to hear a contestant more before they become my favorite. A snippet of a song is not enough for me to declare loyalty to someone. Sometimes it takes quite a while into the live shows until a favorite really rises. Once someone is my favorite I am very loyal and will continue to support them even after idol is over.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I’m the same way. I learned the hard way back in Season 9 to wait until finals to get truly invested. I’m not making any predictions as to who gets cut before it’s time to sing this week, because I don’t want to be too disappointed.

    • Mark says:

      Exactly. I can’t count the number of times I thought someone was great in the auditions and Hollywood week–based on 3-10 second clips–only to find that they have limited range and can’t sing anything out of their comfort zones. After two live shows I’ll start thinking about my favorites.

      • marie says:

        ^^^ Agree with all three of you. Mark, I know just what you’re talking about. Although at least twice, I really homed in on a contestant at the initial audition and got only more enthusiastic as the season went on (Adam, Melinda), most seasons I simply don’t have a favorite until the live shows.

  22. Teeny Bikini says:

    Melinda,

    I’m gonna steal “I just need you to make it known to me” for work. It’s perfect.

    Some of the choices are always pretty mystifying – if the judges don’t screw up this week with the bizarro eliminations – the Top 20 could be great. I might have to tape that show…

  23. darcy's evil twin says:

    As usual a very entertaining “Reality Check”. I wish Mr. Slezak and Melinda would have discussed some of the other contestants (Emily Piriz, Brandy Neelly, Jessica Muese, and some of the country guys).
    I’m not as wild about Brianna Oakley as everyone else but I’ve been known to change my mind before (I did not like Haley Reinhart at all until she sang “Blue”).
    I love George Lovett but I’m afraid he won’t last. Same with Brandy Neelly – she’s and Jessica Muese are my favorite female contestants.

  24. darcy's evil twin says:

    Can someone please tell me who Briston Maroney sounds like? And it’s NOT Phillip Phillips. It’s been driving me nuts.

  25. Grandma Jane says:

    I always get attached to favotites early as well. Love Majesty, MK, George Lovitt, CJ…. But one of the best parts of the show for me are those finalists who blossom and continue to grow as artists as the weeks roll on. Some early favorites just don’t do well, and others that I didn t even notice early suddenly pop out at me. David Cook was like that for me. Then there are the ones like Candice and Melinda who shined from the auditions and just got better as well.
    Meanwhile I agree Savion deserved a spot, but I just can’t place David?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      David Oliver Willis was the good-looking black guy that played the guitar and sang Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home”. They feature a little of it (about as much as was broadcast on the program) on this week’s “Reality Check” video. Last year he sang an interesting arrangement of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” and played the guitar as well – and got cut! I’m not sure what they have against him. Last year particularly he was one of the best guys there before they went to live rounds.
      .
      And P.S., props to him for singing a Sam Cooke song!

  26. darcy's evil twin says:

    Which makes me think…they should have Sam Cooke night (but NO ONE can sing “A Change is Gonna Come” – it’s been done to death). Granted, Sam can’t be there since he was shot dead in a Los Angeles hotel in 1964 but he had some great songs,some of which lend themselves to rearrangement.

    • marie says:

      Seems so obvious now that you mention it; Sam Cooke sang some really great songs.
      Then again, I find I’m really enjoying hearing more contemporary music on the show.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I am as well, marie, but Sam Cooke had a rather large catalog and it would be interesting to hear how these kids interpreted his songs.

  27. Anna says:

    WHERE IS JASON??? :(

  28. marie says:

    I don’t have much this week except to agree with what has already been said, i.e., perplexed / disgusted that Savion was sent packing while Jordan and Briston got through, But every year, they do cast a sprinkling of much younger singers – and yes, I too would love to hear simply the best 30 (or 20, or 12, or however many) singers, but I think that despite the improvements put into place by the new production team, the season has not yet come when they abandon casting for type; in fact, I don’t see it happening any time soon.
    I have enjoyed any number of performances so far, but don’t yet have any firm favorites. I think to some degree, I’m still avoiding choosing favorites this early while a virtually “Voice”-like new round of ruthless and relentless cutting is upon us (one reason I gave up on watching The Voice was what I felt was too much control by judges [producers?] vs. viewers; I’m distressed in advance that Idol seems to be doing something similar this year right before the audience has even become involved).

  29. Adam Reinaldy says:

    So I guess the Briston Maroney hate wagon is already a thing? Wow, I think I’m gonna find myself disagreeing with tvline a lot throughout this season. And here I thought y’all liked someone “unique”? Tell you what, Briston is one of the most genuinely unique contestants that has ever been on any reality singibg competition. Not only is his voice genre-bending, it’s period-bending. He can be from a woodstock generation before suddenly transforming into a lost child of the 70s punk movements (both UK and CBGB’s), a 90s slack indie-rock, or the aughts’ post-punk revival.

    And even if his quirk is not your cup of tea, I do think his singing technique is good enough. He understands restraint and phrasing, the latter of which can work to his advantage.

    • Jeremiah says:

      I’ll join you in defending Briston, although I don’t have the musical knowledge to appreciate him as well as you do. I didn’t really care for him until a few days ago, when I started thinking back on his performance of “Let Her Go”. There’s something intriguing about him. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan yet, but I’m very interested in seeing what he does this week (if the judges let him sing, that is).

    • tealeaves says:

      My concern with Briston is that he is too young. He is only 15, isn’t he?

    • Mary says:

      I am not an expert in technique so I won’t go there. But for me his voice is grating. It sounds like he sucked the helium out of a balloon and started singing. Not me cup of tea for sure. I will say that I think the judges are trying to mix it up as far as singing style so I am not that upset he made it. Almost guarantee I will not be rooting for him.

    • Speaking only for myself here but … in regards to Briston specifically and art generally, “unique” is not a virtue in and of itself. Rather, it is a quality that, when considered among others, either elevates or decreases the product’s/work’s/experience’s overall effect. When I listen to a song, read a story, or watch a movie or TV show … something common may be compelling while something unique may be off-putting or unpleasant. I can acknowledge originality without enjoying the overall package. In regards to Briston and American Idol: I acknowledge that his musical stylings are original (as far as I know anyways), but I can’t say that right now, I want to listen to it for 90 seconds every week, or would ever buy an album/CD/digital download EP of his music because I don’t enjoy it. Maybe he will convince me otherwise … but I honestly doubt it.

  30. J.B.S says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Kenzie Hall has a shot?

  31. mike says:

    What happened to Paisley Van Patten????

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      She vanished sometime after group rounds, I think, along with Paula Hunt (the woman that sang with a military band) and the guy of Pakistani descent that was so engaging.

  32. Name That Tune says:

    Next week, Reality Check welcomes back The Voice. How are M&M going to fit in all in?

    • tealeaves says:

      The Voice, not so funny.

    • tealeaves says:

      The Voice is fun because the judges have fun banter. But The Voice is far more controlled and scripted. The judges have much more control over who gets to the voting rounds, and they have much more control over what the contestants sing and how they sing it. Idol falls on its face when the producers control too much. But with Idol there is always the opportunity for the contestants to destroy their “best laid plans.” I get that Reality Check is going to have to start covering The Voice, too, but The Voice is just not as fun as Idol.

    • Saul says:

      So, is this a “Xtina” or “Shakira” season?

      20 seconds to something inappropriate said by Blake, 20 seconds to a frontrunner contestant who chose Adam, 20 second to praise Shakira; one minute for Melinda, so she can correct Michael when he is wrong… ans DONE! 2 minutes for “The Voice” and now let’s go back to the competition that really matters.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’ve never really enjoyed “The Voice” because it’s all about the judges. Aren’t they already stars?

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        You should have watched the last season, sister. Cole Vosbury had the most expressive, sexy eyes and I was constantly figuring out what was under all that beard. Plus his version of “Let Her Go” is the best of that song, ever. In my very humble opinion, of course.

  33. Lauren says:

    Uh, what in the world has Andrina done that’s been so great to be picked as a Top 3? lol. Part of me thinks Michael has picked this mediocre fodder subconsciously just so he can complain about an injustice later on. I also cannot STAND Briana. She is technically on the mark but that doesn’t do me any good since her vocal tone is about as pleasant to listen to as nails down a chalkboard. Melinda has latched herself onto a dead horse with George. He is good but there is no way he is lasting beyond this week because that would mean overcoming Malcolm and Maurice in the same style and he will be lost in the shuffle. I feel a lot of the people they did not even mention are more promising than most of the ones they deemed best.

  34. Lindsey says:

    I miss Paisley Van Patten, Ethan Thompson and Ryan Nesbitt… :(

  35. Briston Maroney is interesting. I don’t LOVE him either, but I can see the appeal.

  36. Jon says:

    Was anyone else surprised that Madelyn didn’t make it? I thought she was GREAT and deserved to make it.

  37. Clement says:

    Michael, there is a recording of “Unbreakable Me” on iTunes. So don’t riot, okay?

  38. Amy says:

    While my list of favorites is a bit different from Michael’s (and I’m cringing a bit cuz I’m feeling the possibility of his “pimping prejudice” “early frontrunner” and dare I dredge up this one but “has to do with his race/color and instrument playing” happening already against yet another worthy contender, in Sam)…all that said…
    Could not agree more and can I get an AMEN–HUH-WHAT-WAIT??!!!! for his views I share completely about the (2nd questionable??!!) David Oliver Willis elimination! I said the same thing to my TV set…”what’s Idol got in for this guy?!”, because both years I loved him, thought he deserved to go through, was excited to see more and could not understand his elimination. I was wracking my brain to try to find possible reasoning– “do they think he’s too old to market for the long haul?”…then I saw that a) he’s only 22 (almost ancient in today’s industry perhaps, but not 28 like I thought) and b) I remembered…Idol powers that be aren’t in for the long haul, but usually get their bang for the buck for about 2 years of rush to market, push/push, then drop, anyway. Has Idol decided in recent years, old school R&B isn’t today’s sound? Anyway…I felt SO bad for him, he felt SO bad, it was unmerited, I wish we’d gotten SOME reasoning behind it, which we also, questionably, did not….and I AM MAD at Idol for it. I’m also with Melinda re: Savion, who I also thought was interesting and was excited to see more of. :(( Bummed for both those guys.
    Also with Michael (I’ll storm the studios with you) if I hear Radioactive (or have to watch the J-Lo fist pumps) again this year, and I’d add Wrecking Ball to that list as well.
    a few other notes..
    Jordon–feel like he was a “casting choice”–due a personality, and aspects about the package “American may fall in love with”…though not to the end…on Idol, it still always comes down to talent and “it” factor. But casting choice for the short haul entertainment. Agree, would rather have JUST talent/appeal based on artistry/ as well as “it” factor choices across the board.
    Agree also with all points about Emmanuel. Also Briston, who’s sound, admittedly is not my favorite type music, and I really hate his voice…grates on me.
    Girls…well….I’ve already said…Melanie was one of my favs–gone,gone,gone. Jena’s interesting. But so far, Majesty, has the (I need a new term for:) “it factor”, and artistry, and my interest the most…even when she might not even be the type artist I’d buy music from, but I’m interested to see more to really judge that. She does seem special, talented, and feel like she’s sitting on way more she’s going to show us.
    Last note…Marialle…really? In a year when Johnny Newcomb was released for being too “derivative”, I don’t get a complete Miley clone holding any interest, much less early edit pimping from Idol. I don’t even think she’s that good. But, whatever.

  39. Amy says:

    ps. two other things..
    Yes, that George Lovett performance was spot on…have to see how he does going fwd.
    OT: was just wondering whatever happened to the young “other girl with ring of flowers in her hair”…haven’t seen her again.
    That’s one thing about seeing so much talent this year, which I’m loving…but we’re also losing track of lots of contestants we never get to see “the rest of the story” with.
    Also…thinking a lot of contestants have a similar, Adelle-like or new agey-hippie sound this year. In that respect seems Idol has evolved a bit from the big voice ballad belters (much as I still love them) from yesteryear…it is making a lot of what I’m hearing sound a bit homogenized. That’s why I’m appreciating when the Sam’s, Majesty’s and others we’ve named, stand out with something I can’t put my finger on different, or just for a change, a strong, melodic type voice stands out….which may be old school in today’s market, but, to me, when done well is always in fashion.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Amy, I think the “other girl with flowers in her hair” was Jade Latham (?) and she was cut earlier – was she cut in the airplane hangar?

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Yes. That Amy Winehouse copycat. I was not impressed with her. I guess the judges quickly figured her out since she was booted on Day 1 of Hollywood week.

  40. Sieves says:

    NO NO NO NO NO ABOUT MALAYA. JUST NO SLEZAK.

    She’s Amazing.

  41. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I am not going to predict a Top 13. I’m just gonna name those who I DO NOT WANT to be in the top 13: Caleb “Douchebag” Johnson, Emmanuel Lusk-Zidor, Alex “I Smell a Dead Rat” Preston, Briston “Chipmunk” Maroney. There may be others but these are the worst of the bunch for me. Geeena Asciutto, if she reminds us again that her parents can’t spell, and continue to choke herself with that literal choker, will quickly join that list. I am just so disappointed that there are no hot men for the second season in a row.

    • marie says:

      “…her parents can’t spell.” LOL! DST, bingo. You can’t write “Jena” and EXPECT people to automatically say “Gina.” It LOOKS more like “Jenna”; could even be “Jayna” spelled that way, but “Gina” from “Jena” is a stretch.
      OK, OK, I’ll shut up now; some here might recall that my pet peeve is poor grammar / spelling.
      Hey, at least I haven’t seen “loose” instead of “lose” here yet!

  42. jazzyt2u says:

    Ha! Never noticed Briana’s last name Oakley who is from Antioch, CA which is right next to the city of Oakley…

  43. dj says:

    It’s so nice to not have the frustration of watching the actual show this year. Just watching Reality Check is entertaining, and I get a little taste of Idol without getting involved.

  44. SoozinCA says:

    My favorite disappeared after a great audition and major profile piece, then evaporated into thin air. Where for art thou Paisley Van Patten??? I’ve tried to figure out why she got such a promo during auditions if she was just going to disappear after that. It made me mad to lose my favorite with not a wisp of reason. All I can imagine is that the big promo was done for some other reason, maybe so some in the industry might see her and realize she has cleaned up her act. Why show us so much to get us interested, then we never see her again? Now I have no favorites and will wait until the live rounds to get attached to anyone else. They let some really talented guys go in order to keep others far less so in my opinion – and it wasn’t based solely on race because some of those kept while David and Savion were sent packing were also African-American.

  45. someguy says:

    I think that George Lovett is the best and then Malcolm and Caleb are right behind him as well. Look George up on YouTube he is great and has amazing runs as well.

  46. someguy says:

    Also C.J. is up there too.^^^^^

  47. someguy says:

    Actually, here’s my order from best to worst with the guys……… George, Malcolm, C.J., Caleb, Ben, Dexter, Maurice, Sam, Briston, Alex, Ethan, Spencer, Emmanuel, Jordan, Casey

  48. Theresa says:

    Love Briana Oakley. Amazing voice and passion.

  49. GG says:

    The Idol Powers That Be are saving Savion for next year. Savion was my favoirte from the start. so I will vote for the unique and talented singer from Texas (Savion) next year. This year go CJ!!! CJ is awesome. All of my caucasion friens and a middle aged white lady( me) love you CJ. This is not about race, this is about talent, you are the best
    PS Harry was wrong about you CJ, you did not sound sharp

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