Reality Check: Is It Too Late to Save Idol's 13th Season? Plus: The Great Alex Preston Debate! And Is Team Blake Unbeatable on The Voice?

To say it’s been a frustrating season of American Idol would be as much of an understatement as saying Jennifer Lopez likes her clothes on the revealing side.

But what, exactly, is keeping the show’s latest crop of contestants from achieving true greatness, from delivering musical moments that deserve to be branded in our memory banks alongside Fantasia’s “Summertime,” Jason Castro’s “Halleluah,” Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” and everything by David Cook ever (to name a few)?

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That’s the tricky topic tackled by my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I on this week’s installment of Reality Check. Not only that, but we engage in some heated debate about the success/failure of Alex Preston’s “Every Breath You Take” and Jena Irene’s “I Love Rock ‘N Roll,” throw some side-eye at Harry Connick Jr.’s uncomfortable time-wasting antics, and ponder the continued competitive survival of C.J. Harris. Plus, I share what I want for Christmas.

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

If that’s not enough for you, we dish last week’s Voice proceedings — including the not-so-surprising depth of Blake Shelton’s Final 3, and the one Battle Rounds victor that left us with a split decision.

Press PLAY below for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments and share your thoughts about your Idol and Voice faves. And for all my reality TV news, interviews, exlusives and recaps, 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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264 Comments
  1. Simon says:

    Jason?!

    • Terry says:

      YASSSSSS!

    • Renee says:

      omgomgomgomgomg Jason’s back!!!! Hannibal as the 4th judge?!?! Perfection!
      I find it kinda funny, find it kinda sad that Michael has joined us on the dark side re: these contestants. But I BELIEVE Jason’s presence could turn it all around! Next week, Sam emotes, Alex doesn’t look like he’s auditioning for Clockwork Orange the Musical, Jena and Jessica come through as the dark hearted, talented girls we know they are (and JLo cheers them on), Caleb apologizes for auditioning for a Rock of Ages parody and lends his voice to something not sung at nightly karaoke, Dexter and CJ volunteer to leave – Dexter misses his dogs and CJ goes home with Dexter to learn to sing on key. All Because of Jason.

  2. Max says:

    JASON!! :D

    • Erin says:

      JASON!! Where the hell have you been!? Best comment: READY! (As in to throw things at Slezak). Seriously takes Reality Check from informative and interesting to hilarious and very entertaining. Good work!

      • Tom22 says:

        plus 1 – > fun show, whether or not Jason deserves all the credit (but certainly the roasting of the “thats all I have to say” helped) I was laughing with the snarks, not feeling bitter…life’s too short for bitterness… but bitterness needs to be countered…
        .
        RE the show themselves, I seemed to enjoy the best of what each of MS and MD liked and wasn’t as put off by what each didn’t like… That meant I had a higher overall net-enjoyment level from the shows last week….guess i’m lucky ; )

    • JM says:

      Oh my gosh, how I’ve missed him!

    • ktbanks says:

      OMG I’ve missed Jason so much! Slezak and Melinda are delightful alone as well, but Jason takes it to 11!

  3. Justin says:

    So nobody from Idol is “on fire” yet they are from The Voice? Ok.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Well, in fairness to The Voice, they haven’t even gotten to the Top 12 yet.

      • Joe says:

        exactly what I was thinking

      • Akash says:

        I would argue Sisaundra has had more moments already on The Voice than ANYONE has had all season thus far on Idol.

        • Jessie says:

          Sisaundra has had the same moment after every songs. She sings a couple of lines, then glory note. It’s all the same.

          • Jessie says:

            And the glory note is not even a lyric in the song. It’s usually an added yeah or noooo!

          • Adam Fachry says:

            Lol anyone would go out on a limb to gratuitously bash Sisaundra with incompetent critiques that basically describe her as anything but a remarkable singer. Frankly, their criticism sounds the same “she can only do glory notes”, “she screams”, “she needs to tone down”, etc. But they always found different yet inept aspects to add to their critiques, case in point the one I’m replying to at the moment: using ‘moments’ as an excuse. What’s next? Her voice is a form of exorcism?

          • tealeaves says:

            There is a difference between “someone is a remarkable singer” and “someone is an interesting singer that I want to hear again.”
            This is a constant point of contention on this site. Some fans focus on the technical singing. Others focus on the artistic impression. Did the performance convey the emotion of the song? Is this interesting and creative? Is this contestant likely to sing the same song again and again just with different lyrics?

        • Sandee says:

          I’m over Sisaundra. I don’t even remember what she sang. All of her singing just blends together into one long big note.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            It was NY State of Mind. I’ve listened to her recording so many times now that I actually have the key of her rendition ingrained into my head. Pure, unadulterated awesomeness is what that was.

          • Tansy says:

            She creeps me out. It’s like she’s from RuPaul’s Drag Race or Kinky Boots.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            That comment is all kinds of rude, Tansy. I’ve seen some nasty comments on these message boards, and that’s one of the grosser ones I’ve come across. Congrats!

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Well, yes, Akash. Every time Sisaundra sings is a moment of heavenly glory for me. Let’s see, she’s had 4 performances now? That’s 4 moments! I can’t speak to Idol’s moments as I haven’t seen every performance, but of the performances I’ve seen nothing has been comparable IMO.

          • Samara Desiree says:

            I really hate it when people who don’t even watch Idol bash it unnecessarily or say it’s the worst season when they haven’t even watched it. Troll much?. I’ve seen many moments on Idol and Sleazak even talked about them in his recap. Sisaundra can sing, but she needs to learn that loudness does not equal emotion. I just feel like she’s singing to see how many notes she can sing. Vocal acrobatics are not emotion,. I can say Caleb had a moment every night and Jena had a moment with Decode, Unbreakable Me, and Bring Me to Life.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I watched Idol until the final 11. Every episode. Including the auditions. And I’ve watched about half the performances since then on youtube. So pipe down, sistah!

          • Adam Fachry says:

            @Samara: I found it funny that you don’t like Sisaundra for being Loud yet you listed Caleb as one of your favorites. And don’t give me the whole “because he’s a rocker” BS because quite frankly, a singer in Sisaundra’s genre (soul/gospel) does need to demonstrate how adept she is at loudness as well every now and then. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Caleb, in fact he is one of the contestants I look forward to the most every week on this season of AI, and I do understand the common knowledge that classic rock singers need to be loud but your comment reeks off ignorance, in that, not only is there a double, but also, triple standard to the way you generalized Sisaundra (e.g. gender and genre).

            I could also know by now that you would counter my argument with Caleb’s attempt at slowing it down. Well, Sisaundra has done the same with the beginning of New York State of Mind. Yes she was back to her loudness during midway through the end, but that shows dynamics and not a showy display of her talent. OhMy, you Sisaundra haters continue to fascinate me.

          • deedee says:

            How can anyone hate Sissaundra? She may not be your thing, but the woman is ridiculous! The power and accuracy of her voice, plus the choices she makes so effortlessly … I mean, Melinda is right- she’s the beastmaster. Btw, I thought what she did at the beginning of NY State of Mind was fantastic. Very jazzy/Ella Fitzgeraldy.

    • Name This Tune says:

      Well, Team Blake is on fire.
      We watch Sisaundra on Tuesday, then here comes Idol on Wednesday. And the life gets sucked out of the room.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Seriously, this is the first time I’ve liked all of Blake’s finalists. So far so good. We’ll see how Shakira and Adam do tonight, but it’s shaping up to be a great season.

      • Jessie says:

        Sisaundra is boring. She does the exact same thing every time. Sing a couple lines, belt a glory note. She is one note and I would not buy her record.l

        • SisaundraTisAmazing says:

          You mean the LEAST boring performer in many seasons of THE VOICE.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          You’re right. She does do the same thing every time she gets on stage. Kill it! And take no prisoners. And drive the audience insane. I like that kind of consistency.

    • Akash says:

      This is THE WORST season of Idol…and now even TV Line (the site that loves Idol the most) knows it too.

      • Timmah says:

        This is not a great season, but I wouldn’t call it the worst. Last season was the worst.

        • Danny says:

          I agree with Timmah. Both seasons have had no moments. This year has had way more good songs than last year though. As bad as the judging is becoming this year, it beats last year by miles. I’d say the one thing both years have in common is if the best in either year- Janelle for me last year and any of the top 4 this year- they’d all be competing for about 8th place if they were on Season 11.

          Janelle, Candice, Amber from 12, and Caleb from 13 if I’m not mistaken were all cut from Season 11. I 100% agree that all should have been cut. They’re all decent. I just think they all fall more into the Someone’s Gotta Win This Thing than Great Winner type singer.

          I’ve at least enjoyed most of the shows this year. 1 was brutal, 1 was average. The rest I’ve enjoyed. There hasn’t been anything I’ve wanted to play back 25 times this year, but at least the shows have been fun to watch for the most part. Last year I enjoyed 2 shows the whole season.

          This year actually started out with some promise. I cut my cable so I actually went and rewatched some of the old shows again before I turn in my DVR box. This year got messed up some by the quick exit in the airport hangar, the axing at the top 30 not letting everyone sing, and Harry turning creepy on us. Last year though started out with a thud and went downhill right from the start.

          The way I see it is last year put a great big hole in the ship and this year hasn’t been able to bail out the water. This year is still better than last year though. Although I don’t think it’ll happen as long as the camera’s keep showing Lopez for half of everyone’s song, it at least has a chance to improve. Even if it doesn’t it’s still better than last year.

        • will says:

          I’ve only been watching since Season 7 but I’m pretty sure this is the worst. Last season we had Candice and Kree and Angie and Amber and even Devin though he went home too soon, as well as a pretty talented singer in Burnell. I might even place Season 9 as the worst just for how poor the guys were and how badly everything panned out in terms of eliminations. At least this season, the top 4 are still standing as of top 7 week.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I thought the season Carrie Underwood won was awful, LOL. Okay, I like Carrie okay now, but sure didn’t at the time. Bo was also okay. The rest of them were forgettable.

      • tealeaves says:

        It is too early to rank this season. IMO the original songs were all moments. They should have gotten more credit for them.

    • Samara Desiree says:

      Wait a minute Sleazak. Complaining about everyone sucking all the time? I read your grades last week. Everyone got an A or B grade. You said you still loved this show. Now this? What’s up?!

  4. Louise says:

    JASON JASON JASON

  5. spider3tattoo says:

    Haha. Tell us how you really feel. It has been terrible, it still is terrible. Put a a fork in it after this season FOX. Welcome back Jason!

    • will says:

      If they had cancelled it after the last “Worst season ever” we wouldn’t have had seasons 10-12.

      • Erin says:

        I have to say that this is not the worst season by a long shot. Disappointing, sure, but please try to remember when Uncle Nigel was at the reigns. The complete manipulation and pushing some contestants and burying others. I hated the way Idol used to make me feel, frustrated at the utter crap they were presenting us. At least this, albeit a bit boring, is more real than Idol has been in years.

  6. LeahKittyS says:

    Hooray! Jason has returned! Welcome back, buddy. We missed you.
    And for the record, I liked what Alex did with “Every Breath You Take.” I always thought it was a love song at first, and he did say he knew the whole stalker deal, so I don’t mind him taking the teeth out. I also like what Jena did with “I Love Rock & Roll,” but I love Jena I’m a sucker for that song because my dad’s a Joan Jett fan, so maybe I’m biased.
    As for “Can the season be saved?” Depends on what you mean. I will call it an entertaining season if we get a worthy winner. But if you’re talking about ratings or public interest, then the show is gone and never coming back.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yup, I totally agree about Alex. Art can be interpreted in many ways. I think he did a fine and believable job. Jena’s transition from the slow to the fast part, just lost me, but I do appreciate her. At least she still looks like she having fun. I can’t really say that about most of the others. The show = meh. I think it’s jumped the shark. I won’t make the mistake of watching again next season, if there is one.

      • Max says:

        One not-so-quick thing, if you even remotely think that there won’t be a next season, then you don’t know American Idol and especially Fox too well. American Idol is still their highest rated show. They will exploit it for at least one or two more years. They want money, and many networks just don’t know when to end a series (especially the one who brought you The Simpsons).
        I will keep watching, if only because I am for now not able to watch The Voice live and watching a repeat or on the internet kinda sucks in my opinion. Once American Idol is gone (not cancelled, Fox will never use those words when it comes to this), all the talent will be The Voice’s to take, there will be a golden age for them, and then they will fall from grace due to another reality show.

        • Ben says:

          It isn’t their highest rating show, but it is still their highest EARNING show, which is the key. People are daft if they think there is any chance there won’t be an AI14. I can’t see it ending before we’ve seen a season 15. X Factor had worse ratings than idol does right now from the start, it was a worse show with less talent, and it was still given 3 seasons. It’s because the show is cheaper to make and is has more ways to be profitable than a lot of their other hours of tv.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I do think there is going to be a Season 14, and I would not be surprised by a Season 15. But I do not see it going past that. Is that reasonable?

          • Name This Tune says:

            So let’s remember that to sustain those earnings, the show has to pull in ratings similar to Sunday night football. It can’t lose overseas markets, like the UK, which Channel 5 canceled due to low ratings.

            What has been happening is that the rates that Fox charges for a 30 second spot has dropped substantially over the past 3 years. With ratings veering towards 8 million viewers and a share of less than 2.0, they will be charging less than The Simpsons for ads.

            Last week, Idol dropped out of the top 20 shows,and it has every chance of dropping out of the top 25 by the end of the season.

            And last Thursday, Idol only had 7.5 million viewers. The last time that happened was July 3rd, 2002. This week could be the first time in Idol history when it drops to less than 7.5 million.

          • tealeaves says:

            @Name This Tune, Pop Idol in the UK was cancelled 11 years ago. Is that what you keep bringing up in recent posts? I fail to see the significance,

          • LeahKittyS says:

            No tealeaves, Name That Tune was indeed talking about American Idol. It would air on Channel 5 in the UK, but that network just cancelled it, so it no longer airs over there. This is a sign that Idol is losing the international market.

          • Ben says:

            @Leah – reasonable right now. It’s ability to go past that is determined by how it performs in the future, not now, I think. If next season has great talent, and the ratings stabilise (they won’t go up, no matter the talent) then I could see it breathing longer. I think its reasonable to predict its end after 15. I think anyone who predicts its end after 13 needs to wake up and get a dose of reality.

          • Ben says:

            @Name – luckily for idol, its earnings are not limited to being directly linked to its advertising prices. It has other revenue streams – sponsors, studio sales, tour sales… its long term viability rely just as much on that as anything else.

          • Name This Tune says:

            So Idol lost one big source of revenue when AT&T dropped out as a sponsor this year. What killed The X Factor was losing GM and Pepsi as sponsors. We’ll have to see if Coke and Ford are going to hang in there for another year.
            As for other sources of revenue, their iTunes numbers are far from spectacular and they drop cities off the tour and play in small venues. The tours are dependent on the popularity of the show.

            It’s all dependent on how many people are watching the show.

          • tealeaves says:

            @Leah, thank you for the clarification. I still don’t see the significance, though. It is really scraping the bottom of the insult barrel to say that some show airing in some other country from the same franchise got cancelled.

        • deedee says:

          The Voice’s problem is not a lack of talent. They can have all the talented contestants in the world and it’ll still be a show about Adam and Blake and their cutesy play-fighting. The voice has never inspired the kind of rabid loyalty to a contestant the way Idol has done for years. The contestants on The Voice are a prop, whereas on Idol, they are the focus. Having said that, this season of Idol hasn’t inspired any rabid loyalty to anyone because 1) the producers picked a lukewarm bunch, and 2) the new production team has taken everything that wasn’t broken on Idol, and “fixed” it.

          • @ deedee: I’m honestly curious – IYO, what have the new producers fixed on Idol that “wasn’t broken”? What changes (if any) have you liked?

            For myself, I give credit to The Powers That Be for (until this past week) changing/broadening the themes, having newer and different songs included on the clearance list for performers, the changes in voting, and the producers displaying less obvious manipulation in regards to contestants and feedback. I also have enjoyed the genuine sense that the judges like each other. I didn’t enjoy the Rush Week setup or the continued use of Randy Jackson on the show.

          • deedee says:

            @Kevin, some of it is hard to put a finger on because it’s a sort of feeling of “difference” that is unwelcome. The changes I can point to are:
            .
            1) Broadening the themes to the point of meaninglessness. I always liked the constricting themes, but just wanted the show to expand them a bit with fresh ideas, new songs, etc. But the concept of forcing the kids to work within narrow parameters has always been exciting to me, and it made Idol different from the other shows.
            .
            2) Tampering with the stage. I don’t like the round stage on level with the judges’ table. It makes the finals seem “smaller” than when the performers were raised higher. I also can’t stand the walking on/off stage through the audience. Again, it’s just less “grand” for lack of better description. It doesn’t elevate the kids to professional-style performers. The kids remain just folks they picked up off the street to be on a tv talent show. I liked it better when the contestants became sort of *special* … even if we all knew it was a producer-manufactured specialness that would all be over unceremoniously after the season ended. Not sure I’ve explained that well.
            .
            3) The horrible overly-crammed split screen nonsense that dominated the first several live shows (I think they’ve calmed down lately). You had the contestant walking up to the stage from the audience area (ugh), then an insert of them talking about their song – barely audible because of the cheering audience, plus some other split screen with Randy yammering on about whatever, and you don’t know what you’re looking at anymore because of how busy it all is. On top of it all, you lose the anticipation of the performance because there’s so much visual noise coming at you as the contestant walks up to the stage to sing. And then the performance almost seems like an afterthought.
            .
            4) The dearth of past Idol finalist performances.

            So, in general, Idol feels less familiar than it used to – not in a good way. There’s a certain foreignness to it that makes it feel like a science fiction movie in which the Aliens reconstruct an identical universe and plunk you in it. Everything is pretty much the same, and yet … you feel something is off but don’t know why. And you sit at Starbucks with your friends and ask them if they sometimes feel like they’re in a scifi movie, where everything is the same, yet not. lol. Does that make sense?
            .
            I do like the judges, though. That’s probably the most significant change that actually works well.
            .

      • Danny says:

        @Teeny- I hear ya on checking out. I think this season is a lot better than last year, but it’s not enough to save the sinking ship. I’m going to finish watching Idol and the Voice. I’m enjoying the shows, but I think 10 years of Idol and 4 seasons of the Voice is enough. They’ve just run their course.

        I watch Idol pretty much from start to finish except for the commercials and the judges walking out and taking their seat. The Voice I’m basically only watching the actual singing and the judges decisions on who to keep. The judges comments and the pre song stuff I FF along with the commercials.

    • Bonquisha says:

      Is Jason the editor?

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Yes, he’s the one responsible for the in-show commentary and the clips from other movies and TV shows. He’s been on hiatus for a while now; I’m glad to see him back.

  7. Becky says:

    When Michael Slezak loses his interest in the contestants on American Idol, the show is in big trouble. But clearly he and Melinda are correct – there has not been a moment on the show yet this season. I can recall performances from five to ten years ago that I still want to see again and again. This year, I can’t think of one, and I haven’t purchased one song. Let’s hope things can turn around in the next few weeks.

    • noa says:

      i still watch performances from 2 years ago. even last year had some youtube worthy moments. remember last year?? if that train wreck is better than this year, we’re in BIG trouble. i stopped watching after top 13. just Idology (i refuse to accept the new name) for me.

      AND WELCOME BACK JASON. WE ALWAYS WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK.

    • situated says:

      Yes, we’re facing a sad cultural moment when even Slezak is bored. I do think that Jena has a future. She has charisma and the guts to follow her own path. But I really agree w/the point that there have been no performances that I want to replay (as I did w/Candace and Adam and Bo Bice).

    • Brigette says:

      SAME! Last year was a train wreck, but I feel like it was still riding on the momentum from the previous seasons. This year, we’ve got less enthusiasm because of last year, and the talent just isn’t doing anything. It’s like what Michael and Melinda said– all these kids are too chill about it. It’s disappointing because I really felt like Idol was coming back in a big way in the audition rounds. I don’t know who to blame. Is it the contestants realizing you don’t HAVE to win to get a record deal? Is it because the theme weeks are loser so we don’t see how people deal with putting their own style on a genre they don’t always do? Is it behind the scenes stuff? Let’s just blame Randy Jackson.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I think we need to stop blaming season 12 of Idol for the train wreck that is season 13. The reason season 13 is not working is because the talent level is crappy, not because viewers have lost interest because of season 12. I fail to understand how that’s a valid argument. Even if viewers started hating on Idol because of season 12, season 13 could still be amazing in its unwatched vacuum. And it’s not. It’s horrific within its unwatched vacuum.

        • Sandee says:

          Last year was worse than this year. If you only like glory note singers, then last year was your shindig. However if you iike singer/songwriter, musicians, and artists, then this year is better. This year has far more diversity of talent than last year. S12 was Candice. Kree or Angie never had moments. This year Jena’s Decode was a moment. Jess had Crow and the Butterfly. Alex had Fairytale. I guess because they aren’t oversinging, they aren’t considered worthy?

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Not gonna feed the troll. Nice try though.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            I guess because you don’t know what oversinging means and instead of actually understanding the term, you put your biased blame on powerhouse vocals? That’s fine if last season was not your cup of tea but to describe it as something to be criticized for, much less with an inaccurate generalization, shows how poor your judgment is.

            Season 13 HAD the potential to be good. I agree with Angie that it’s not season 12 to blame. Look at the comments regarding this season on earlier episodes circa audition and Hollywood rounda. People WERE happy. But it was a case of enjoying it while it lasts because once we went to the voting rounds, the judges picked lots of wrong contestants, Randy was still around, the production started to become desperate for attention, the contestants got more and more complacent or delusional, and the song choices started to become trite.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Adam, you’re wasting your breath. I agree with each and every point you’re making, but this is some kid just throwing around inflammatory statements to get a response.
            The great thing about a reality show is you get to hit the reset button every year. Despite Idol being probably my favorite show of the last decade, I’ve only given up on season 13. It has the potential to come roaring back talent wise next year, even if it’s with a lower Nielsen rating.

          • Sandee says:

            @Adam season 12 is far worse because they had Candice and that’s it. Kree had no moments. She was just consistent and got a lot of the same criticism that Jess is getting now. Angie was ok and had no moments. Amber was the CJ of this season. She was always off pitch. Only she was never called out because of her potential marketability. I cant even remember the guys. This year, Caleb, Alex, Jena, and Alex all stand out to me and I prefer them to someone like Sisaundra

          • MC says:

            Angie was not a singer/songwriter or a musician? Okay, that’s news to me. She also had plenty of moments and always sang with passion. I know that lots of folks tuned out the show last season because of the “manipulation.” I know that many folks on this board claimed they were not watching last season. I hope those people are not the ones now claiming that Candice was average and/or had no moments. That would be disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Candice sang fewer glory notes than Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Fantasia Barrino and a host of other singers throughout the history of AI. The reason people liked Candice was because she delivered the nuances of the songs that she sang, not because she was an over the top singer. She was the exact opposite of a glory note singer. Some people on here hate “ballads” and Candice sang many ballads. She simply sang them very, very well. Music is subjective, but those who disliked Candice are in a very small minority. There were very few experts, bloggers, pundits or regular viewers who thought Candice was anything less than excellent during her time on the show. One might think that someone in that majority of people and experts knows what they’re talking about. It was a great victory for Candice because her consistency and improvement from season eleven to season twelve were rewarded. Incidentally, Candice spoke specifically about how she totally changed her approach from season 11 to season 12. She learned more songs and practiced diligently between the seasons. She increased her knowledge of music and was a much more informed singer when she returned for season twelve. Candice wasn’t merely some retread from season 11 (as some folks like to claim).

          • Adam Fachry says:

            You’re trying to turn opinipns into facts. Kree had no moments? Here I thought you were a fan of understated singing/delivery. Kree SCHOOLED those vanilla, bland, style over substance singer-songwriter type of contestants lhow to sing with an understatement. Crying, Help Me Make It Through The Night, See You Again, Up to the Mountain, What The World Needs Now Is Love can be considered moments. Amber was always off-pitch and last season’s answet to CJ? Lol. She did have several off performances and was complacent, but never was her intonation as bad as CJ’s. And while I’m not a fan of Angie, she had presence and was a good performer. Janelle was last season’s answer to Alex and I’d argue, her rearrangments on both I Will and You Keep Me Hangin’ On were miles better than the latter’s which I continue to find interesting yet formulaic, pleasant-sounding but have no teeth. Too bad, Janelle lost her mojo and never seemed to get it back.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Sigh. My girl Kree. Boy did she have a few moments. Stronger and Here Comes Goodbye and See You Again. Here Comes Goodbye and Stronger actually had me right on the cusp of having an emotional moment. Those were so so very very good. [Ok, I'm lying. I actually did very lightly cry after Stronger, which will go down as probably my single favorite ever Idol moment]
            And despite my screenname (I might need to change that), yes, Angie had her moments too. I hated her passionately, but she killed it at least once.
            Won’t even bother bringing up Candice and Amber because their moments were self explanatory.

            Adam, any performances this year you think I should take another look at from Idol? I freely admit I only watch a few per week on youtube. But it seems like our taste is similar.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            @Angie: Hmm…I’m not sure if our taste is gonna be that similar when it comes to this season of Idol. Basically, I don’t have any absolute favorites this season, but I’ve found myself looking forward to performances from Jess, Jena, and Caleb. Jess’ Blue Eyed Lie, Rhiannon, and The Crow and the Butterfly are arguably three of this season’s highlights. White Flag was also good despite the pitch-problem midway through, the same can also be said of The Sound of Silence which was butchered by the band’s wrong key but not her fault whatsoever. My only problem with her is that I seem to want more from her, because I know she’s capable of so many things, but she hasn’t hit her stride yet. When I first saw her way back on her audition episode, I thought for a second that “wow, for once, Idol might have someone who could finally nail both a PJ Harvey and a Neko Case song.” But it feels like she’s not all the way there to her maximum potential yet.

            Jena stepped up her game on both Rolling in the Deep, Decode, and to a lesser extent Bring Me to Life (I’ve never been a fan of the song and Evanescence’s oeuvre in general). Caleb imo, has delivered several true moments so far with Dazed and Confused, Working Man, and Pressure & Time. This might be unpopular, but I found his rendition of Skyfall underwhelming despite the general praise of tackling a ballad from a woman song. So far, I wasn’t a big fan of his quieter moments. I liked some of Malaya’s performances, which I think you might find good as well (e.g. I Am Changing, When I Was Your Man).

            Hmm…if I were to pick the best performance of the season so far, it would be a tie between Caleb’s Dazed and Confused and Jena’s Rolling in the Deep.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Thanks, Adam! I’ve already listened to all those performances, so I know which ones you’re talking about. I’d say the ones we agree on are Malaya’s When I Was your Man, Jena’s Decode, and Caleb’s Dazed and Confused. I wasn’t crazy about Jena’s Rollin’ in the Deep. I found it kind of weird and offputting actually, but I applaud her effort to try something different.
            I guess what I’m missing is something I can’t wait to listen to over and over and over because it got me so excited. Like Haley’s Bennie and the Jets or Candice’s Love Song or Amber’s Lately. We haven’t had anything “WOWWWWWWWW!!!” this year, but the performances you noted are very good.
            Jess… I just don’t get Jess. She is a talented woman, but I find myself not caring anytime she sings. When she starts singing I invariably end up washing my dishes or something without even making a conscious decision to do so.

      • Mary says:

        I think it is because they are young and really don’t know who they are as an artist. These contestants are green and to be honest I do not think the get the support behind the scene as previous idols. Alex is the only one who really changes up a song and they all sound the same to me a jazz version of the song. Some have worked but this week IMO was a fail. The most exciting artist are Jena and Caleb.

        • deedee says:

          I’ve been trying to like Alex because I love Jason Mraz. Week after week, I really really WANT to enjoy what he does. My brain understands that he’s “good”, but … I just can’t. Something about him doesn’t resonate with me. But this week’s “Every Breath You Take” was the final nail. It was “interesting”, but bottom line – I hated it and will never make the effort to try to like him again!! I feel so liberated.

      • Montavilla says:

        They should know that you do have to win, since, for the first time last season, the runner-up wasn’t signed.

      • Bonnie A. says:

        Agree with almost all of what you said. I have so many special moments from past seasons on my iTunes and can listen over and over. Haley, Kris Allen, David Cook, PP, Elise, Allison. I found this site because I could hardly wait each week to hear Haley again. This year is such a disappointment and I thought Harry would make a bigger difference. Now he just seems interested in himself. Melinda and Michael expressed it so well. Like the “opening socks” in every present at Christmas analogy.

        I fill out a survey every couple weeks on this show and have been trying to give them this type of feedback. We’ll see what happens next season.

    • Karina says:

      Last week he gave almost everyone A’s and B’s. Then this week, they are no good? Make up your mind! You say there are no moments, then say that Jess’s Blue Eyed Lie and Crow and the Butterfly were standouts! Come on now, you are inconsistent!

    • Danny says:

      Becky- I hear ya. I haven’t given a standing O/watched a song 20 some odd times since Joshua Ledet in top 4 week. Both seasons lack that difference maker that I’ve just got to watch. Season 11 had 7 of them. The last 2 years none combined. Even Season 9 had Siobhan and Crystal. Paint it Black is still my all time Fav Idol performance.

      I’m not saying it’s the same for everyone, but for me (for you) the show has just run its course. I’m enjoying it, and will finish watching the season. It’s just not Must See Tv any longer.

    • Mark says:

      This season has been a disappointment and that is not likely to change in the final seven weeks. Earlier I believed that the cast was as talented, on average, as any other cast in the past 12 years. The problem, I felt, was that the lack of a clear front runner made the whole group seem less talented. I’m now of the opinion that the lack of a front runner is not the problem, but only a symptom of a larger problem: There is no Idol in this group.
      I do think every one of these kids is a talented singer and deserving to be in the top seven of just about any season. There are no frauds in this group. Even tonally challenged CJ and deer-in-the-headlights Sam is a talented musician. However, every one of them is flawed, and this far into the competition I don’t see a competitor putting it all together and emerging as a star. Caleb is a great singer and performer, but he lacks creativity. Almost all of his performances are note for note copies of 70s songs that are heard only on classic rock stations. Jessica is lovely woman with a beautiful voice, but she’s a zombie on stage. Alex is creative and talented, but even he is lacking something I can’t quite put my finger on. Variety, maybe? Jena can be wonderful with her re-purposing of old songs, but she is just as likely to end up in the weeds as in the spotlight with her arrangements. They don’t always work, and when that happens it can be disastrous. And Dexter? What he’s doing just isn’t my style.
      So where is this show going? Probably a finale involving some combination of Alex, Caleb, or Jena. I think Jessica’s inability to connect with the audience is eventually going to catch up with her.

    • deedee says:

      @Becky: I’m totally with you. Only one contestant succeeded in making me re-watch a performance, and that was Majesty’s “Happy”. That’s it. Melinda is right on when she says this crop is using Idol as their platform for America to discover how great they are. I partly blame the wide open “themes” that allow these kids to get away with singing songs they’ve done for years. Maybe they wouldn’t think they’re so fantastic if they were forced to stretch a little and prove they can tackle something unfamiliar.

  8. mydoctor93 says:

    I think I read somewhere that Caleb had bronchitis before the show, so maybe that’s why he kinda struggled at the end. I think it was still the performance of the night, though, because he actually dialed it back for the first half of the song and really connected with us (something we’ve all been wanting him to do) before letting out loose in the second half.

  9. Liz-ellyn says:

    This was the first episode of Idol this season that i turned off halfway through. I usually give the show top billing on Wednesdays even though about 4 of my other favorite shows are on, but i just couldnt do it this week. The girl on Harry’s shoulders soured me way more than i even thought it could. Look, i get that nothing intentionally inappropriate was going on, but Melinda is right. Over the age of 3? not okay. My boyfriend asked if that was his daughter and i said “i hope to god its his daughter” and then it wasnt and we both cringed so hard.

  10. Becky says:

    I am not a fan of Alex’s and I thought he was by far the best of the night, I too thought it was a haunting rendition. Jess was better on the duet. Actually I like her voice better than Dolly’s on it. I do think she is about to hit her stride. Malaya picked the wrong song.
    Blake does have the best team on the Voice. We will see what the voting public decides.

  11. Becky says:

    Also Randy may not be the right person to mentor them. Not as Easy as Jimmy made it look

    • Julie says:

      Was Jimmy dropped in favour of that pillock, Jackson, or did he choose to leave? Jackson is as woeful and hopeless a ‘mentor’ as he was a judge, just get rid altogether! Haven’t yet seen the full show, I’m in the UK so reliant on this site and YouTube but what the Hell was Harry doing this week??! Soooo embarrassing just watching the clips on here – what’s happened, has he been at the Minaj crazy pills?!

      • deedee says:

        I’m pretty sure Jimmy chose to leave. He looked severely uninterested last year, so it wasn’t unexpected. Randy has chosen to invest himself as little as possible as a mentor. I have yet to hear him say anything beyond trite, generic soundbites, which is too bad because I’ve heard from past Idols that he can be very helpful when he wants to be.

  12. Trisha26 says:

    YAY Melinda!!!!! Alex was terrific. Great recap/discussion – if only the performances were this good.

  13. Sarah says:

    The saddest part of Idol being cancelled soon is losing Reality Check

    • noa says:

      +100000
      i’ll take Jason’s suggestion- do a Survivor recap show.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Oh, I don’t care if they cancel the show, but I really can’t see not having my weekly dose of Michael and Melinda. Yikes.

      • Max says:

        The show must go on. If it is not Idol, it will be The Voice. If it is not The Voice, it will be SYTYCD. If it is not SYTYCD, then it will be Project Runaway. If it is not Project Runaway, it will be Hell’s Kitchen. Hell, I would even love them talk about Survivor/The Amazing Race. Just be on my screens on Mondays, dammit! :D

  14. Pete says:

    Idol is so bad this season that the producers are going to have to do something unexpected next season to make anyone tune in. Heres my idea. Do an American Idol All Stars where you invite back people who were ridiculously cut during the last 13 seasons, Lisa Leuschner, Ricky Braddy etc etc and have them compete with each other. This assures a season of good singing as well as justice and a 2nd chance for people who truly deserve to be in front of America every week.

    • noa says:

      i always enjoy it when other TVLine commenters remember Lisa Leuschner. brb, must listen to Sweet Thing right now.

    • 2 young 2B wise says:

      That would be a cool idea except that most of them are bound to be over age 29 by now. According to Idol past, anyone over the age of 29 would be so old and decrepit that they couldn’t possibly appeal to the American public. Anyone remember the machine in that 70’s movie “Logan’s Run”? It was like a light show that sucked up and killed off everyone who hit the age of 30. Surely Idol would trot one of those machines out to kill off the old farts.

      • Name This Tune says:

        So what? The fun of doing this is to see how much they have grown.

        Plus Idol needs to dial back the youth movement. It’s why they are getting killed by The Voice.

        • MAB says:

          I agree, I think they have to raise the age. There are too many young kids trying out that just does not have the experience to entertain.

          • Julie says:

            Cowell is lowering the age on (UK) X Factor (won’t be watching, not even with the ‘lure’ of Yogi Bear-face Cowell back on the panel) to 14. Guess he’s trying to get them in and destroy them before their souls are tarnished.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Sounds good to me. And how about bringing back successful Idols or winners to judge and coach? They have enough of them now to have an all Idol season. That would be cool!

    • analythinker says:

      I like the idea and I know Michael would agree on this one: Jesse Langseth!!!

    • Brigette says:

      I would LOVE to see that!

    • lori says:

      I’m not watching this season, just reality check. In fact, I haven’t watched since the Haley season. However, that is a great idea! I would definitely tune in for that.

    • Ben says:

      I could actually see this idea working and I’d get behind it. But I don’t think it would bring ratings back to the show long term. People have moved on emotionally.

      • Danny says:

        @Ben- Exactly. 2 years ago I would have been all over this idea. Now I’m just not into the show enough that I’d be invested in it. It would have the appeal of an alumni game in sports.

    • Sandee says:

      Idol is not that bad this year. And if you do think it is bad this year,, why on earth would you want mediocre rejects to come back and butcher songs?

    • Nermal says:

      Agree.

      • Nermal says:

        Ugh…that didn’t post right. I agree with Pete (not Sandee) – bring back All Stars, or I guess we could call them Almost Stars. It would mean skipping the audition and Hollywood Week rounds. Not a bad thing, imo.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      First, I don’t think Idol is “so bad” this season. Maybe my memory is better than some but some of the early seasons were worse, IMO. My “Personal Worst” (coining a new phrase here, LOL) was the season Carrie Underwood won.
      Second, I like the idea of a “Kicked Off Idol Too Soon” Idol, but I think it would work better as a summer program rather than a replacement for the regular “Idol”.

  15. Babybop says:

    I’ve missed the snarky comments and TV clips!

    • Mary says:

      ^ this. Edited in this way I laughed more than I do at any half hour script comedy….love! I would watch their reparte about any show on TV!

  16. Tamara says:

    WHAT. ABOUT. CALEB?
    I’m so mad, he is so overlooked on here, despite giving at least one of the best if not the best performance every week, with killer vocals that you really don’t hear too often on a reality show (his type of voice I mean).
    Every tiny fault of his is highlighted in recaps and comments, and when it literally can’t be ignored that he was the best of the night, it’s with a “I guess it was the best since no one else delivered” attitude. I thought Faithfully was beautifully sung but of course he wasn’t given his due, and in this video Michael and Melinda literally don’t even talk about his vocals at all except to mention that it didn’t justify the pyrotechnic effects. Really really annoyed and upset lol. And if it’s the not-modern argument, I think his song choices have been pretty diverse (Zeppelin, Adele, Gaga, Journey..) and maybe “being current” shouldn’t be the only goal given that chart topping songs right now are so painfully auto tuned and sung by mediocre singers. Just give a great singer and performer his due credit.

    Jena is clearly Michael’s (and tvline readers’) Haley of the season, she is good not denying it but this crazy hype is ridiculous. I find her so contrived! Just because Jena puts on a weird accent and changes the tune of songs to decidedly strange arrangements does not make her modern.

    Sorry I didn’t mean to bash anyone, just the musings of an upset Caleb fan lol.

    • karenb says:

      Caleb hits every note, no doubt about it. Personally, Faithfully was just the same as all of the other songs that he’s done. Lots of high notes and pyrotechnics. meh. Jena is the most captivating contestant and is a personality plus. She is the one contestant that I look forward to seeing what she’ll do next. She’s the only one who’s been able to hold my attention.

      • Timmah says:

        Caleb is suffering from Idol Frontrunner Syndrome. The early frontrunner almost never wins because people start to expect them to be good every time and it gets harder and harder to impress. The winning formula is to be inconsistent through most of the show and then string together a few surprisingly good performances at the end.

        • Mary says:

          I never thought of him as a front runner. Very talented nice voice but sorry outdated. I do not see him as a viable solo artist. Front a cover band yes but not current.

          • Timmah says:

            Being “outdated” is the one thing that may still get him the win. The average Idol viewer is 51 years old.

          • S. says:

            You just don’t like rock as a current genre and it is. It’s not Caleb’s fault you’re operating under a false assumption. I can’t remember if it was you I said this to before, but rock is not disco. It’s not out of date, it’s simply not very good right now. Not enough new strong acts. So much of what makes the Grammy category is watered down. Caleb’s legit.

          • Tamara says:

            @S: I completely agree, people hear a great rock singer and automatically think ‘outdated’. It’s such a sad bias, especially with bands like Imagine Dragons and The Black Keys enjoying commercial and critical success these days, there’s no reason that Caleb can’t at least be given the opportunity to win since he is a really good singer and performer (which even his detractors will admit!) and that should be the number one prerequisite for a vocal competition!

            I find Jena’s voice really uncomfortable to listen to sometimes and I suspect that is exactly what people hear and go “omg she’s so original and current”. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste, again I don’t deny that she is doing well but I don’t like that when she does well it’s “Jena is changing the face of modern music” and when Caleb does well no one even really acknowledges it. Oh well, I hope he gets an album out whether he wins or not!

        • Kes says:

          “The winning formula is to be inconsistent through most of the show and then string together a few surprisingly good performances at the end.”

          That’s a horrible formula to winning and speaks volumes to the public’s acceptance of mediocrity. No wonder this show is in the crapper. The American public have spent 12 seasons basically watching only 3-4 people performing well each week, while see cannon fodder out last better singers. The show’s ratings are in the toilet because they have had enough.

        • Lynn says:

          I don’t agree with your winning formula. David Cook, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, and Phillip Phillips were never inconsistent. Neither were Taylor Hicks or Carrie Underwood. I don’t think Candice was inconsistent. To win Idol, you need to have solid performances each week with a few “moments” thrown in before say top 8/7. David Cook did “Billie Jean” in top 10. Kris Allen did “Ain’t No Sunshine” in top 9. You need momentum going into top 4 or 3 in order to win.

          • Karen O says:

            I don’t remember anything Phillip did until Volcano, and up until then I thought he couldn’t sing and wanted him out. He was never my favorite.

          • tealeaves says:

            @Lynn I am with you. The winner is usually someone who was never in the bottom 3. They are good all season even if the judges/producers often do not realize the strength of their performances.
            The early front runners almost never win even if they are consistent. Consistency is not necessarily the winning formula especially if the judges fall into the rut of just praising everything you do. The winners usually have some critical feedback before the judges realize they are there for the long haul.

    • Sandee says:

      Caleb has always been overlooked. He was overlooked by idol. Fans predicted he was going home in the Hollywood or Home segment. Caleb is not getting his props. He’s incredible! For Melinda to deduct from his performance because he didn’t sing 2 seconds longer is a shame.

      • Stormy says:

        Caleb is overlooked because there isn’t one original thing about him. He isn’t anything more than a lead singer for a tribute band. Led Zepp-again? He doesn’t have killer looks [Jon Bon Jovi], a distinct voice [Steve Perry], a bad a$$ edge [Steven Tyler] or a gimmick[Alice Cooper]. He’s a generic, plain wrapper vocalist with a decent voice. Period. JMO

        • deedee says:

          Right, Stormy. Caleb is one of the best singers this year, but because he brings nothing new to the table, and doesn’t have heaps of stage-charisma like Adam or Cook, he’s not considered “star” material by many. He’s one of the few contestants I’ve actually looked forward to hearing week after week, and yet I doubt I’d buy anything from him post-Idol. Unless he can show something fresh and original, Caleb remains just a great voice who would really kill in tribute bands, and jukebox musicals.

  17. Tara says:

    JAAAAAAAAAASOOOOOOOOOOON!!!! Don’t you dare go away again!! :-D

    I basically fast forwarded thru the majority of last week’s EP of Idol. Thank goodness for Slezak & Melinda for being such a bright spot this season!!

  18. sheba says:

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch last week’s episode of Idol after reading the song spoilers because of the overdone, uninspiring or inappropriate song choices and just caught up online later. A promising theme was turned into the worst hackneyed Idol dreck of the past and it was hard to tell if the producers unintentionally sabotaged the show or if the contestants were just collectively clueless as to the potential pitfalls before them. I agree with all your critiques of the performances, though I disagree slightly with Melinda’s suggestion that the contestants are complacently hoping we’ll recognize their greatness. I think the problem is that no one yet on the show has been able to figure out and execute all the components of a great performance and really sell a song. There’s always something missing, whether it’s originality, quality of the arrangement, technical execution, choosing a song that connects with the singer’s persona on both a musical and lyrical level, or aspects of performance like charisma, emotional connection, and movement. A few have come close at times or are making small consistent improvements, and maybe one or two will be able to put it all together by the end. But after so many weeks of seeing the same problems recur, I don’t feel that committed to sticking it out. In past seasons, I just think there were more contestants in the mix who had the capacity to put all the pieces together out of the gate. This season, while I see real promise at times, everybody needs work. No one is raising the bar far enough, and so the rest don’t have an example to match.

  19. Kevin says:

    I sometimes agree with Michael (including on that “Every Breath You Take” performance), usually agree with Melinda, and ALWAYS agree with Jason. Jason makes this show, now don’t you forget it.

  20. syb says:

    I agree with Melinda on Alex, with Michael on Jena, and neither on Dexter. Agree Malaya was bad, CJ was bad, the judges stop picking on the Jess so much, and Sam is the antonym of “interesting,” Michael. Agree the judges need to stop trying to be a sideshow act.
    I am enjoying the season. I don’t need the shrieky frantic ADD style of the Voice contestants. I agree that the contestants are playing it safe for the most part, but that’s what happens when you give them broad themes to choose pretty much anything. That’s what everyone wanted who complained “let them show us who they are”, and that’s what allows them to minimize risk and find material similar to that which they’ve always performed.
    FWIW I don’t find the song choices on The Voice any more interesting or appealing.

  21. Shaun says:

    Please I hope Harry Connick Jr. watched this. What he did last week carrying that teenage girl on top of his shoulders was just creepy. And I thought he was some overprotective dad after shaming Emily Piriz. If I was a dad, I wouldn’t want some old guy carrying my teenage daughter for absolutely no reason at all. Did the producers compel him to do that or something, because that wasn’t right.

    • deedee says:

      I know everybody seems to feel this way, but I just don’t. Harry never comes of creepy to me, even when he does goofy things like put a tween on his shoulders. I’m sure he was shocked to learn that so many people found his antics inappropriate because his mind is nowhere near ‘old lecherous dude’ when it comes to tween girls. He’s just doing dumb ‘dad’ things that make you cringe for being hopelessly uncool rather than icky or creepy. When Steven Tyler told a 15 year old that she’s “hot and humid”. That was creepy.

      • Stormy says:

        IMO Harry has been “overserved” more than once on air. I was concerned he could lose his balance and drop that child.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Yeah, I’m kind of with you on this deedee. I assumed it was his daughter but I guess it wasn’t. I would chalk it up to Harry being a dad and doing “dumb dad things” as well – that’s about the best explanation I’ve read. I suppose it wasn’t the smartest thing to do but on the other hand I didn’t find it as creepy as other readers here. Live TV does have its downfall, I suppose.
        And yes, Steven Tyler making inappropriate comments to the underage girls was creepy.

  22. Clara Turner says:

    Sam did great. You just all have made up your mind that he’s boring. He sings like an angel. He looks like an angel. He connected with the song.

  23. Teeny Bikini says:

    Michael, I want my pony too.
    Melinda, I love when you give side eye. Ha! That’s so great.
    Y’all are the best part of the show.

  24. Krista says:

    FF to Idol

  25. Karina says:

    You just cant seem to make up your mind. Last week, everyone was great and got A’s and B’s. Now everyone sucks? Man everyone complains. Kelly Clarkson and David Cook would probably be considered tv show failures too by now for just being consistent. As for the Voice, I just cant with Sisaundra. She is over the top. Nobody else has stood out.

    • Timmah says:

      You’re only as good as your last performance around here.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        As we used to hear when we were both in Corporate America, “What have you done for me lately?”
        The fact you made millions for the company two years ago is of no concern anymore.
        I don’t think Mr. Slezak and Melinda were implying anyone “sucked” – but they do need to step up their game.

  26. karenb says:

    Agree with Melinda on every. single. comment.

  27. noa says:

    Brie Larson was robbed.
    –NeverForgetBitches

    (someone had to do it)

  28. Julie Anderson says:

    Oh my…

  29. dre says:

    Buzzkill, much? This was such a downer to watch. I know it was a bad episode, but just last episode you were raving about like 3 of the contestants….

  30. marie says:

    I GUESS it’s fair to change it up and let Voice go first sometimes… :-/
    I’m not going to “throw things” at Slezak, but I do agree with Melinda about Alex’s version of the Police song and Jena’s performance of the Joan Jett number.
    I don’t hate this season. Maybe my standards are low, but it’s still Idol and it’s still entertaining.
    Although maybe not quite as entertaining as Jason’s inserts – WELCOME BACK!

  31. Timmah says:

    I think I know exactly what Harry was smoking.

  32. RD says:

    I don’t think Idol will be cancelled yet-the ratings are still more than reasonable ,but it really doesn’t bode well for next season-it could easily be the last. There’s a confusion and a complacency with all the remaining contestants now. I can’t see them raising the bar if not getting the right feedback. I think i’m in the majority now not caring who wins because none of them are good enough. One of the main reasons to watch,moreso than on the Voice,is the artistic growth,but it ain’t happening,and I fear it’s too late.

  33. MAB says:

    I totally agree with Melinda. I liked Alex and was not crazy for Jena.

  34. JB says:

    Jason Averett!!!! YES!!!

  35. Lisa says:

    Unfortunately, I have to agree that I’ve noticed the trend of underwhelming performances this season. I’m still waiting for someone to just completely blow me away. Although, I do have to admit that Alex’s rendition of Every Breath You Take was the closest, in reference to song choice. Sadly, there is a lot of singing, but not enough performing, so even the great song choices fall flat, because they are all just standing still. Every performance, every one of the contestants. I can understand this week, with the song choice, Alex just standing with his guitar, but there have been a lot of missed opportunities to put on a show. Of course, this enhances the experience, but it’s been severely lacking. None of the contestants are creating an experience, and they need to do so. Think back to practically everything Adam Lambert did when he was a contestant.

    I’ve been pulling for Alex, Jessica and Jena since day one. I think Jena’s voice is amazingly different and there’s a lot she could do with it, but again, lack of creating an experience for the viewers, with the exception of the week she performed the Paramour song. Although she was at the piano, it still drew us in the most.

    Jessica has an amazing voice, but she is still too stiff. The judges were correct in saying that she needs to loosen up. If she can do that, she could nail both performance & voice, and hit it out of the park.

    I think Alex is highly talented, and perhaps even the most creative one there. Unfortunately, the stiffness appears to be contagious though. Maybe they all need WD40 to loosen them up.

    I have to admit, Caleb does bring it the most each week, but in some ways, it seems like he tries to hard to be the typical “80’s rocker”, and it just comes off as unlikable. While he does have a flair for rock and roll, I think he needs to let go of the Jack Black persona.

    Sadly, CJ has been disappointing. He stays directly in his comfort zone, and doesn’t push the edges at all. The judges were correct, he does have the ability to touch the audience, but his song choices, and his delivery are still underwhelming.

    All I can say about Dexter is ditch the karaoke, and he’d have a chance to soar. I still haven’t heard anything that shows his own personal creativity and I’d like to. His voice was made for country radio, but he has to be Dexter and it needs to shine through in his performances.

    Sam is this year’s pretty boy, which is probably why they used the save on him. Was it worth it? I don’t really think so. I think he does have the potential to be the next American Idol if he could stop looking like a deer in the headlights constantly. I just don’t know if that will happen.

    In conclusion, if you want to make a great soup, there are key ingredients that are necessary. If all you do is add 1 ingredient, the soup will always be lacking. The contestants should have been adding these ingredients by now, and the fact that they have not, is just leaving the finished product BLAND. Spice it up folks and you can give your performances the flavor they need.

  36. Julie Anderson says:

    BTW, I can think of at least two scenarios where Every Breath You Take could be reinterpreted as a love song. My fav. Is if you think of a lover who has died and is watching over the other person who, while broken hearted, is still trying to move on. I love Alex’s version. However, I do think the duet was too complacent. I wish they could have acted more.

    I do believe Alex really worked hard on the Police song and hoped it would be one of those Idol moments. I just didn’t resonate with everyone. I personally felt compelled to re watch it several times, but it wasn’t “Summertime”. Or “Hello” which made me stand up in my living room and exclaim holy smokes.

    • Faye says:

      Same with me. Alex took a creative risk and I think he pulled it off. It was interesting, intimate and compelling. He didn’t misunderstand the lyrics, He just chose to present the same words but with the opposite intent.
      Ecstatic about it ? No. But I enjoyed it a lot and bought it.

  37. Jules says:

    I accidentally heard the first 15 seconds of JLo’s new song on the radio today and after that brief snippet of what virtually equated to audio dog crap, she has no business “judging” anything that has to do with music. Style? Yes. Makeup? Absolutely. Hair. Sure. Music??? Hell to the no.

    • S. says:

      So you don’t “luh” JLo? At least the last time she used Idol as a platform to revive her pop career she gave us things like “On the Floor” which were catchier songs even if they did bring Pitbull to our attention.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        I loved “On the Floor” when it came out, and it’s still on one of my workout playlists. Nothing she’s made since then has stuck with me that way (except maybe “Dance Again” because they played it at my senior prom). The newest one is a joke.

    • Julie says:

      Is that the joke one she did on AI the other week, which I never, ever, EVER want to see or hear again?! Don’t tell me that’s a genuine, real song. And one that a 44 year old woman would release…?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’ve enjoyed Jennifer’s judging this year. I’ve never much cared for her singing (other than in the movie “Selena”, which was pretty good).
      She’s made a couple of good movies with decent acting. One was “Out of Sight” with George Clooney. The other one was very good but I can’t recall the name. She was a divorced or divorcing mom with a young daughter and went to live with her cowboy father-in-law, played by Robert Redford. That movie was a pleasant surprise on so many levels.

  38. Mary says:

    I don’t think we are ever happy. We want inexperience singers to watch the growth yet we complain when they don’t understand the game and comply. I think in every season there are at least 3 or 4 contestants that you know won’t go far so we nick pit them apart. This year I can honestly say I only feel one or two contestants have a chance to be a viable recording artist. As far as the judges, I think these are probably the best three since the original ones, but my God Harry went overboard last week. You know there is something wrong when Jlo was the most constructive one of the night. Hopefully Harry went back on his meds and the producers reign him in this week. I still think there is hope for a couple of the artist to shine through, at least I hope so.

  39. Socks. You keep getting socks. LOVE IT!

    Musax Booox. LOVE IT!

    Jason’s home. LOVE IT!

  40. GuitarBlue says:

    True, there have been no “wow” performances so far this year on Idol…………..
    They got rid of Nigel’s print on the show, but didn’t help much, they show is still partially stuck in an old format. Randy and the older Fox producers (TPTB) have kept the show running on an old formula, 80’s night, etc. ———————— which does not attract new fans to the show at all………………………..

    however it’s not as hijacked by the 70’s and 80’s artist songbooks and specific decades as it used to be. …………….. …………

    .. renewed for season 14 already, but should be some budget concerns on these high celebrity contract salaries……………………………………

    This panel of Judges and their back-room cast advisers/producers —- have created a situation where there were only few real singers, out of all the auditions. Now it’s taking a long time to improve the competition and get something memorable from it. No wonder it gets boring when there are still a couple of contestants in the top 7, that can’t sing well. .

  41. Kate says:

    Starting with the Voice freaked me out. I may be too attached to Idology.

    • Name That Tune says:

      It kind of tells you how bad it’s getting on Idol when they choose to talk about The Voice first.

      • Ruby says:

        Yes, starting with “The Voice” was a bad sign. I knew immediately that Michael and Melinda were not going to be kind to Idol.

    • tealeaves says:

      I thought it was a good idea to start with The Voice and get it out of the way. Then I know the rest of the episode would be for the much more interesting Idol.

      • deedee says:

        LOL, that’s exactly how I felt when I realized they were starting with The Voice. Good move to give The Voice ‘opening act’ status before the main event.

  42. Velocisexual says:

    Can I just point out this episode of Reality Check was almost 15 minutes long and it still felt not long enough. Especially with Jason back.

  43. I will Fix Idol says:

    love reality check!!!…I think Idol needs a visit from Usher or at least Jill Scott or even Chris Martin to teach these kids about stage presence – just sayin. You guys are right I expect a lot more from Jessica because I think maybe next to Caleb she has the most developed voice in the competition – but she just doesn’t emote — she has no idea how to play to the back row in the audience much less the camera. Caleb is suffering from not having enough competition around him to challenge him to do something anything different. At least Alex and Jena are trying – and sometimes it works. But honestly this whole crew could have used another year to mature before coming on TV – and when you think of some of the folks they cut!!!

  44. Terry says:

    “Every box you open, it’s socks. I’m tired of getting socks.”
    Hahah, so funny, and so so true.

  45. Samara Desiree says:

    I don’t know why everyone is down on CJ? it seems the judges only point out when CJ is off pitch and not everyone else. I don’t even notice it! I like CJ’s tone and his passion when he sings. You can tell he feels it. At least he emotes, unlike Jessica, Sam, and Alex(who are good vocally).

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I take it you’re not a musician. CJ’s not singing on pitch at all! I actually watch his performances every week as a form of sadistic rubbernecking, like watching the Hindenberg crash and burn. It’s not in tune even a little bit, so much so that sometimes I can’t even tell what key he’s in. To my knowledge, not one contestant in the history of Idol has had a weaker sense of pitch.

      • deedee says:

        I laughed when JLO said she roots for CJ on a note-by-note basis. He really does have a problem. Still like him, though, because he’s one of the few who makes me feel something when he sings. But yeah … the pitch issue does diminish the overall enjoyment of his performances.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          HA! I don’t see the judge’s comments as I watch the performances online, but that’s really funny. “Yes, another right note! Ok, that one was close but good try!” I mean, really, is that what we’ve come to? Rooting for correct notes in a singing competition?

          • deedee says:

            Hahaha, this post made me laugh out loud.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            Hi A_O, really enjoying your comments again this year (“sadistic rubbernecking” ? — oh my!). I, too, only watch performances online, but I do like hearing the judges comments, so I select the longer videos.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Hey, My Alter Ego! Long time no chat. Enjoying this season of reality tv? It’s kind of all over the map in terms of talent.

  46. Christopher says:

    C.J. at least is able to connect to whatever he sings. All the rest can learn a valuable lesson from him to be perfectly honest. As far as opinions go, I agree with Melinda this week in that Alex was the best and Jena was horrendous. Jessica sounded great but she’s too stiff. Compare hers to Haley’s and it was actually Jessica who had the more solid vocal yet Haley just seemed more natural on stage so her performance was more enjoyable regardless. Sam is just… a bore… and that will never change. Dexter is trying but he’s too karaoke regardless. Not Caleb’s best week and yet he rose above most of the others regardless. My Top 3 would be Alex, Jessica and Caleb.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I don’t think any singer in their right mind would ever take any valuable lesson(s) from someone who can’t sing a correct note to save his life. Emoting is great. You need to do that in singing. Sure. But singing in pitch is also kind of important. If you can’t do that, nothing else really matters because the game is already over.

      • Mary says:

        I agree with you but unfortunately with Auto tune it corrects his pitch on the songs, which makes his recordings good. I am with you that no way in H..l would I see him in concert never in tune, but like most of the pop artist today could be a viable recording artist. Sad really but true.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          You just ruined my day. Autotune is one of those things I know exists but I like to never think about it, like nuclear warheads, KKK members, and Lena Dunham. I’d like to believe Katy Perry is the only one getting away with it, but I know you’re right and it’s a lot more prevalent than I care to recognize.

  47. GuitarBlue says:

    Pre-performance “popularity ratings” this week ==========================

    Top 3 = Alex, Caleb & Jena……………………………………………………………

    None of the other 4 will have a free pass this week – Logic says from previous bottom 3’s/2’s that CJ and Sam are in the line of elimination probability. But a bad song choice with poor band arrangement, by Jessica or Dexter could suddenly send them straight home. The top 7 elimination night has had it’s share of surprises in the past.

    • tealeaves says:

      Jessica has never been in the bottom. The judges never treat her like a front runner, but she is one of the 3 that has never been in the bottom in terms of votes. Of the 7 left, Dexter, Jena, CJ, and Sam have all been in the bottom 3 before.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        Two years ago, Jessica Sanchez had never been in the bottom when, in top 7, she was in the bottom and “voted off,” although the judges used the save for her. Jessica Sanchez was also considered a frontrunner.

        So, just because it seems unlikely, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen.

  48. Davey says:

    Agree with Melinda about Alex and Jena.
    I was watching old AI videos on Ryan Seacrest’s page where they are asking you to vote for favorite contestants who didn’t win. Just watching Elliot Yamin sing A Song for You, Bo Bice or Casey James, all three who had moments, makes you realize how bad things are now. Though the show could be terribly cruel and manipulative because of the judges in the past. This year the judges are failing because they’re praising mediocrity.

  49. JM says:

    ‘Luther’!!!!!! Thank you, Jason, you’re my kind of man!

    And Slezak, I want a pony, too!

  50. Joe says:

    I think I figured out what’s wrong with Idol. Since they stopped doing top a 24 with a weekly nationwide vote (with 2 males & females going home each week) to whittle it down to the top 12-13 the show has suffered. I think letting the top 24 perform live for votes to get on the show was the right way to run the show. Those weeks provided moments and glimpses of what could come. It also let the contestants get more comfortable with the camera/live studio audience/live band aspect of the show. What you’re seeing now are people who are great in an audition setting, but many of whom probably would not be voted on by America.
    Melinda sang My Funny Valentine on one of those shows and won me as a voter/fan. Allison Iraheta sang Alone on one of those shows and did the same. Since they’ve ditched them to what seems like producer’s casting the show for us now, it’s suffered. They should go back to that. Pick the best 24 singers and let America decide who makes it on the show.

    • S7 Fan says:

      I agree, Joe. That format gave us time to get to know the contestants. I am still forever-bonded with contestants from back then. My ring-tone is David Archuleta “Angels.” That format also gave the kids more time to adjust and grow. I also think that the smaller stage initially was helpful. Less intimidating.

    • deedee says:

      Thank you, Joe. I’ve been lamenting the loss of live Top 24 voting rounds since they ditched that format. I also loved having the ‘small stage’ semi-finals, and then graduating to the ‘big stage’ with all the bells and whistles for the finals. It pumped up the drama and gave shape and form to the show. Last year they even did away with the “who will make it on tour” suspense by going directly to a top 10. I doubt they’d ever bring back the old format, but it was the best for the show, for the contestants, and for the viewers.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Excellent point, Joe. I hadn’t given it much thought but your comments are quite valid.

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