Reality Check: Our Picks to Win American Idol and The Voice! Plus: Rants About Selfies, Sickness and the 'Medieval Chromatic Scale'!

The Voice and American Idol conclude their respective seasons this week — which means it’s time for Reality Check‘s “Who Should Win?” speeches, along with a few paranoid conspiracy theories and extremely relevant hashtags (#idolendofdays, anyone?).

RELATED | American Idol EP Per Blankens on Rush Week Cruelty, Randy’s Mentoring, J.Lo Close-Ups

Along the way, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I dissect Idol‘s Top 3 Week madness — the umpteen references to Caleb Johnson’s illness, the re-use of an entire story arc from Season 10 and even our first use of the compliment “heifer” this season. Other important discussion topics include bouncing bazooms, the Medieval Chromatic Scale and playing doctor (not as dirty as it sounds).

VIDEO | American Idol‘s Jessica Meuse: How She Stayed Positive Despite Tough Critiques, Which Mentors She Loved and Why She ‘Lost Respect’ for J.Lo

We also talk about The Voice‘s crazy and unfulfilling rush toward its own Season 6 finale — and ponder exactly how country crooner Jake Worthington found himself competing in the finale against Josh Kaufman and Christina Grimmie. And then there’s the matter of Adam Levine’s, um, unexpected* song choices. (*a polite way of saying totally jacked-up)

Press play below for the full Reality Check experience, and follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for all my Idol– and Voice-related news, exclusives, interviews and recaps.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kate says:

    What a season. This is the first time I can remember, except maybe for Katherine McPhee, that I’ve disliked one of the final two. Caleb being ignorant and remorseless has put a damper on the end of a ho-hum season that started with so much promise. Jena’s affected singing doesn’t bother me as much as it does some people, but it prevents me from really celebrating her as a winner.

    Three months ago, a Sam/Majesty final two sounded like something interesting. I will never give up on Idol, at least not as long as Ryan’s around, but I’m ready to put this one behind us.

    • Nedsdag says:

      This will be the first time that I will not watch the grand finale of AI because I will be watching the Survivor season finale instead. That’s how bad this season of AI was for me. I think the big winners may be Sam and Malaya because they can grow up, mature, and have an actual career.

    • Amy says:

      Couldn’t have said it better, Kate. …though, in fact, I have said similar in previous posts…on all counts, I agree with you…was hoping for Sam/Majesty in the beginning, am totally disconnected with these two for the same reasons you gave. However, Jena’s “affectations” DO turn me off…as does her music and style all around. I don’t dislike her, I get that she “can sing”, though it does nada for me. I have not given up on Idol…but I gotta say….no year has annoyed me and disinterested me ever, as this did. Annoyed because if I have to watch “the JLo show” again next year I probably will give up, and disinterested because for the first time since Taylor Hicks year, I couldn’t care less about the final 2. I know my watching habits have changed….I missed last week’s results show and never went back to watch On Demand. I was hit and miss watching this year….that’s never been the case before. ….The JLo stuff, (the grinding…#ewww #Growupmama #Stopit) I can’t take anymore.

      • Bella says:

        I’ve been real hit and miss with AI starting with season 10 when it became a joke. Mcdoody and that godawful child who has yet to keep her mouth shut. McDoody’s reappearance for performances have been awful. His performance this season was garbage. Even JLo looks embarrassed for him and that’s saying something given her performances of late. Regardless of problems with The Voice they do let voters and sales decide the winners, unlike AI who has preselects for us. I hate the judge’s bias on AI and the self aggrandizement. HC is just obviously annoying and JLo …well I share the general consensus opinion. At least on The Voice, you expect the judges to lack objectivity; yet, they are still more objective about the their competitor’s contestants than AI judges.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      100% agree. I am definitely done with Idol. For some reason, I convinced myself that JLo would not be the same pretty-girl-hating egomaniacal bottomless pit of self-absorption (no one will convince me that ____% of camera time is not written into her contract) and just the ho-humness of it all. It’s just all been done better by better singer/performers. I will tape the finale b/c I must see KISS, but I don’t care who wins and I won’t even consider watching again. #jumpedtheshark.

      I no longer watch The Voice either, but I’ve bought most of Josh Kaufman’s singles and there is no doubt that he is leagues better than the other two. Josh for the win. :)

      • Ed says:

        There is ALWAYS a doubt…. ;-). I thought that Grimmie was MUCH better than Josh tonight. I did really enjoy his performance of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, but hated his last performance; the duet with Usher was godawful. On the contrary, even though Grimmie’s “Wrecking Ball” was just OK for me, I LOVED her duet with Adam, and her final performance was stellar. I don’t vote, but in my mind, she should win, not Josh.

        • giselle says:

          During the duet between Josh and Usher, Usher basically showed up Josh. How could a coach do that to the person he supposedly wants to win? Josh has a good voice. His style is not the overpowering volume of some singers, but it is just bad manners to upstage another performer especially one on your team who you tell voters should win the competition. I won’t vote for Grimme because I’m still remembering her less than stellar performances last week, and I don’t think her version of Elvis was better than Jena’s on Idol. In fact, why did she have to choose that one of Elvis’ songs when it was just done on Idol last week and there are so many other Elvis songs she could have chosen? The Voice has just been manipulated this season so that Grimme wins, and I refuse to vote for her because of it. Even so, I still think Josh has the best voice based on overall season performances and will vote for him.

  2. Terry says:


    • Kelly says:

      Hahaha! Yeah…the hashtags were pretty amazing this week
      #IdolVomit #IdolEndOfDays #IdolApocalypse
      and my favorite…
      I enjoyed this recap so, so much. Almost as much as I hated all that transpired this week on AI.

  3. xwiseguyx says:

    I’m not even going to bother watching the finale of The Voice for the first time…

  4. Tony says:

    even though i don’t watch this shows i like watching reality check every week.

    • A says:

      I thought it was just me…lol

    • giselle says:

      Without a doubt Reality Check is the best part of these singing competitions. It makes it worthwhile to watch the shows just so I can better relate to the Reality Check comments. Thanks, Michael and Melinda. You get an A+.

  5. I like Caleb’s style better…but for Idol’s future credibility I think it’s best if Jena wins.

  6. Sarah says:

    Should have been Alex in the finale. It’s hard to overcome the obvious manipulations of production.

    • Stormy says:

      I figured this season was a loser when they kept CJ and cut Maurice Townsend. For me the whole shebang went south because they chose crap singers. i can’t believe how mediocre this year’s talent was. Those with the most potential were weeded out before we got a chance to vote. JMO

      • Vicki says:

        I agree with you Stormy!!

      • Danny says:

        I liked Maurice a lot too. He was an early early favorite, before I had a Sam/Majesty favorite which was before I had a Jena/Caleb/Jessica/Alex favorite.
        I was rooting for Jena, Maurice, and Malaya all the way because they’re from Michigan. Back then though I thought only Maurice had the talent to go all the way. So “favorite” in this case means who I thought should win, not so much who I wanted to win.

      • katillac says:

        Totally agree too!

      • Cheryl says:

        I definitely agree with you on this! How on Earth Idol cast three mediocre BRO COUNTRY singers and failed to give us ONE R&B singer is just mind boggling. Then on the girls side of the aisle, they cut the one true country girl (Brandy) WITHOUT giving her a chance to sing for votes– saddle us with an alternative southern rocker (Jess) and again, not one viable R&B contestant? At least Bria Anai and Marialle Sellars (REAL NAME ERICA BELL) got to sing, but they were just used to make the cast appear to be diverse. What a joke. Now, we have two rockers— one a throw back and the other, throw away, IMO.

  7. The one advantage of not having enough time to get invested in a contestant on the Voice is that you don’t have as much producer manipulation to deal with.

    • Cip says:

      Trust me. The Voice has it’s fair share of manipulation and just like Idol, they take the viewers as a bunch of fools.

      • Bella says:

        Well, give em credit for being a little less conspicuous than AI….that’s an insult to intelligence of everyone.

  8. Honestly, I think that Caleb got the sympathy vote.

    • Makenzie R. says:

      He for sure got the sympathy vote, I mean he told everybody he was sick and had a doctor on stage. Alex was sick too but didn’t want to make a big deal about it.

      • Erika says:

        Its not Caleb’s fault the producers chose to bring out the scrubs like they did with Lauren Alaina. Though Alex tweeted he “didn’t want to say anything” he too mentioned he was sick during the post-performance sound bite. He didn’t get the edit from producers, but he let it be known…

    • jaxguy says:

      I think Caleb is the better talent and i rarely listen to that kind of rock music anymore. He makes me want to buy more rock music and go to some concerts. I hope he wins.

  9. darcy's evil twin says:

    First of all, it was pure genius on the part of the Jason Averett (sp?) to put the videos together of Lauren and Caleb’s “house call” by the doctor in black scrubs. Priceless!
    I also love the clip of the girl pretending to shoot herself in the head.
    I pretty much agree with what everyone’s written here. Jena will win – I don’t care for the manner in which she pronounces her words or her phrasing, but I won’t be on here threatening to never watch Idol again if she wins.
    I prefer Caleb’s style but Jena and Alex are probably more marketable in today’s music. And yes, Caleb should have gone home. I was quite surprised. Why the judges drove the bus over Alex and appeared to want to save Caleb I don’t know. Anyway, I’m still looking forward to the finale!
    Thanks, Michael and Melinda for your great analysis.

    • karenb says:

      I think they were wanting to avoid the whole WGWG thing. Bummer though. Loved Alex.

      • tealeaves says:

        The people who completely ignore Candice to continue to complain about a similar demographic among the more recent winners, are certainly NOT going to stop complaining if Caleb wins.

        • Erika says:

          Even taking Candice into account is nothing in comparison to five straight similar winners. One season doesn’t change the general situation. Additionally, last season was abysmal in the male singing department, so I’m not sure it can count as America moving away from WGWG. I love Candice though, so part of me hopes she would have won any season she was in the top 10.

      • Amy says:

        For the last time…when the flip did being a WHITE GUY WITH A GUITAR become a crime?!! (Please don’t say when they started winning idol every year…it really wasn’t that much.)
        And more importantly, when and why….in the p.c. and tolerant world we live in today, did saying that become ok?
        I’ll give Michael credit on this one…he said early in the season he hated that term, and then I noticed he finally stopped using it, far as I can recall.
        For the record…I love white guys with guitars…and Idol’s had some great and deserving ones. Bring ’em on next season; when they are great, I don’t care if they win every year.

        • HTGR says:

          When we had like a decade of WGWG winning and it didn’t even matter if anyone else was doing insanely great, they had no chance, unless they were a WGWG.

        • karenb says:

          I agree-I love them too. They get a bad rap. I, for one, lean towards the musicians. This year I’ll cheer for Jena.

          • Name This Tune says:

            You can love them all you like but Idol’s version of a WGWG sudden is so vanilla. It’s like being served cottage cheese every day.

             Glad to see that trend go away.
          • Trouty Mouth says:

            “musicians” – so if you don’t play a guitar and aren’t male then you’re not a “musician”? Guitars are overrated (and this is coming from someone who’s played guitar for 6 years).

      • Idolhead Ed says:

        Alex was actually a WGWG that could play and didn’t ,use it for a necklace.

        • Amy says:

          Both Phil Phillips and Kris Allen played pretty good “necklaces”…loved both of them. Love Daughtry…who didn’t win.
          Liked Alex too.
          Liked David Cook (though not as much as the David without the guitar…but he was white…which was totally ok too with me.)
          So my point…I’m just not into the “labels.”

  10. Kaba says:

    Both seasons have been a hot ass mess.
    The only saving grace of The Voice is that Usher is arguably the go-to coach if you want to have a shot at being in the contestant hall of fame on The Voice.
    Don’t think anyone’s gonna argue against Michelle Chamuel and Josh Kaufman being MVPs of the entire series.
    Along with Amanda Brown and….lol who else?

  11. Stacie says:

    So glad I didn’t watch The Voice this season. I knew that if I was gonna commit to watching Idol then I couldn’t also watch The Voice. From the sound of it the whole thing is a disaster. People getting cut really fast, no time for developing contestants. I know they added new layers to the battle rounds to keep people around longer in the beginning, but if they all get eliminated in the middle-end of live rounds then what’s the point? Next season with Pharrell and Gwen Stefani and no American Idol to compete with is probably something I will watch, but I do hope The Voice takes stock into what worked and didn’t work this cycle.

  12. Kaylee says:

    Why is Melinda Doolittle not more famous? She’s flawless. Love her!

    • gmgeyer says:

      She is amazing! (And quite well known – I know her from Idol but I have friends who love her who have no idea she was ever a contestant.) but I totally feel what you’re saying. :-)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Melinda is amazing. Jason Averett has inserted clips of her “Idol” performances into previous “Realty Check” videos and you think to yourself, “Darn, I’d forgotten how amazing she was”.

  13. Alex B says:

    Slezak, you are an idiot. You have no clue about music and neither does your cohort. The they make too much out of Caleb’s voice? They did. That said, he has consistently delivered pitch perfect, exciting and lively performances week after week. So has Jena for the most part. Alex is a talented kid who is boring to watch for more than one or two songs. You actually think that Alex’s two other songs were good? You are nuts or deaf. Jena was awful on her first, decent on her second and great on her third song. Caleb was decent on INXS, terrible ( because of voice issues) on his second and outstanding on his third song. Jena will probably and I am ok with that because she is my second favorite person to watch and listen to. Caleb is by far the best performer and most pitch perfect singer this show has ever had.

    Oh, and Candice Glover’s performance on love song is the most overrated I have ever seen. In fact, she is a nobody who will never succeed in this business. In fact, she a glorified back up singer that was pimped last season like no one I have ever seen.

    Top 10 idol singers in my opinion.
    Honorable mention
    Pia Toscano
    10- Jacob Lusk.

    9- Angie Miller

    8- Sibon Magnus

    7- the Phillipino Girl from 2 years ago.

    6- Chris Daughtry

    5- Caleb Johnson

    4- David Cook

    3- Jennifer Hudson

    2- Carrie Underwood

    1- Adam Lambert

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      This is pretty funny. You hurl insults and tell the hosts that they don’t know music and/or have bad taste, yet you have Angie Miller in the top 10 of your favorite Idol contestants. I love a good laugh! Thank you.

      • Kaba says:

        I’ve been meaning to ask, what didja hate about Angie? I mean damn, you must’ve hated her more than Kat R to make your SN about her.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Vocally she wasn’t bad, but she has the same problem Christina Grimmie has on high notes where no matter how proficient it might or might not be, it’s simply unpleasant to listen to. My biggest problem wasn’t her voice, but rather how calculated everything she did was. Contrived with a capital C. I didn’t believe a single lyric out of her mouth. And I was supremely annoyed by her “piano playing” which consisted of artless thumping of incorrect chords. In all fairness, that’s what most of the “guitar players” on these shows do as well, but I can’t deal with them either. Too bad she couldn’t pull a Bria and walk around stage with a lifeless piano strapped around her neck.

          • Kaba says:

            “I didn’t believe a single lyric out of her mouth”
            Nope, I entirely understand where you’re coming from I started the live shows completely into her after her original performance. Then she completely lost me, I think my absolute point of no return was her “I’ll Stand By You”. Sooooo fake I practically shouted “bullsh*t!”

          • My Alter Ego says:

            Oh Angie_O, as usual, you are on fire. Must be that N’Yorker in you.
            But thank you. While I’m usually better at figuring out why I don’t care for someone (usually technique), for the life of me I’ve struggled with my indifference/dislike of Angie.
            Contrived — in a nutshell, that’s what she was. Yep, there’s that pinched off sound when she went higher that was “unpleasant.” But mainly it was contrived. Ugh!
            Thank you, Angie_O!

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I’ll Stand By You was when I think I went bananas. Wasn’t that the one she dedicated to the Boston bombing victims? Ugh. That one physically hurt me to the core. Normally if there’s a performance I don’t like, I just move on and maybe slam them a bit or whatever, but that one made me viscerally angry.

            MEO, glad I’m not the only who thought that. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but I wasn’t buying whatever it was that she was trying to sell.

          • HTGR says:

            What? She didn’t close her voice and force out a yell to hit all her loud high notes!
            I believed her in the end more than Candice who just tossed in mindless runs that destroyed the emotion half the time. Just when she was hitting this amazing peak and bam a nice sustai oops some over the top nonsense run just killed the emotion of it all.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Aww, HTGR. lol I know we disagree here, but you know I respect you, right? We can politely agree to disagree.

          • Ben says:

            So true AngieO – one reason I have really enjoyed Alex this season, and for that matter Jena, is that both of them have understood how to use an instrument to ADD to their performance (admittedly Alex has also had many performances where it hasn’t) – for me Alex’s Always on my mind and Jena’s Creep and I can’t help falling in love were probably my three favourite performances of the season – and in every one of them they were like the anti-Angie.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Spot on, Ben. I was careful how I worded my statement because there are some contestants who add a lot to their performances with an instrument. Alex and Jena are great examples. What I don’t understand are the ones who don’t play their instruments very well, which hamstrings their ability to work the stage while simultaneously handicapping the performance with subpar accompaniment.

      • deedee says:

        Yes, I was just about to post this very thing. Angie Miller, Jacob Lusk, & Siobhan Magnus? Oh, my sides are killing me.

    • Kim Moores says:

      Jacob Lusk is in your top 10.
      Your entire statement died

    • LibbyXD says:

      The Phillipino Girl from 2 years ago. LOL. One of your faves but you have no idea what her name is. Anyway, Alex B-you sound like you might be Caleb. Hmmmmm

    • Brenda J. says:

      Disagree with everyone on your list.

    • jennvozik says:

      if you can’t be bothered to learn the name who’s supposedly in your own top ten list, I can’t be bothered to take it seriously. Any list about the top American Idols that doesn’t include Kelly Clarkson is quite frankly asinine.

      • Cip says:

        I was going to say the same thing-only I would have inserted Joshua Ledet’s name. Now that kid can sing

    • steve says:

      Whoa! First, Isn’t it possible that opinions other than yours might be valid? If so, let’s calm down on the name calling. Second, Michael’s cohort is Melinda Doolittle, one of the best voices in AI history. Last, Jennifer Hudson? Really?

    • RD says:

      You lost me at Jacob Lusk

    • HTGR says:

      Wait, Lusk and no Reinhart?? Lusk and no [fill in blank with any of the better singers]?
      I was actually somewhat with you for the paragraph portion though.

      • Alex B says:

        Joshua Ledet. Just made a mistake.

      • deedee says:

        You were with him when he called Michael and Melinda idiots who are clueless about music? Ok.

        • HTGR says:

          No, not that, but a very tamed down version of some parts it. Basically that I thought Caleb won the first round and so on and that I wasn’t quite as hot on Alex or Candice. (but certainly not to these extremes, not all the no hope for success and glorified backup singer stuff (and backup singers often have pretty stunning voices) or all the over the top vitriol). I guess I should’ve have read it more carefully, I kinda just skimmed past the hyperbole and venom and just focused on a few of the details about relative song rating and such, but carefully re-reading it now…. yeah I shouldn’t have just out any agreement at all, other than very, very, very qualified agreement to a few little bits.

    • ara says:

      Half-Filipino girl would be Jessica Sanchez.

    • Colton Smith says:




    • Colton Smith says:

      MY TOP 10

      10,JENA IRENE
      2.DAVID COOK


      • Erika says:

        Loved Carly Smithson!

        My top 10:
        10. Skylar Laine
        9. Josh Ledet
        8. Jena Irene
        7. Candice Glover
        6. David Archuleta
        5. Carrie Underwood
        4. Allison Iraheta
        3. Adam Lambert
        2. David Cook

        Honorable mention – Elise Testone, Nadia Turner

        • Danny says:

          My top 10 would be
          1) Haley
          2/3 tie) Allison/Siobhan
          4) Bo
          No particular order for the next group- listing them by seasons- Carrie, Daughtry, Melinda, David Cook, Crystal, James, pretty much the top 7 of S11, no one from 12, no one from 13

          • Michael Johns says:

            10. Michael Johns
            9. Carrie Underwood
            8. Bo Bice
            7. Crystal Bowersox
            6. Clay Aiken
            5. Adam Lambert
            4. Fantasia Barrino
            3. Chris Daughtry
            2. Kelly Clarkson
            1. Haley Reinhart

          • HTGR says:

            Man this is an impossible task.
            0. Michael Johns ;)
            1. Haley Reinhart
            2. Kelly Clarkson
            and man this is just too hard but just start tossing out names: Chris Daughtry (dude is pretty awesome), Jordin Sparks (great voice, like her style), Fantasia (Summertime was amazing and some other good stuff on the show, liked one of her appearances on Idol since then but not so much at all another appearance), Elise Testone (I mean Whole Lotta Love alone would be enough), Katherine McPhee (although as awesome as her voice was and amazing that SOTR and all, I sadly thought her release album was a bit rough, I could really only find one song on it to listen to at all), Adam (he wasn’t really my style or thing necessarily so I never got caught up with the Adam craze his season, but he does have a heck of a lot of talent and some voice no doubt at all and I definitely have well liked some of his stuff), Didi Benami (I really did like a couple of her songs a ton, Rhiannon for instance and her new single/video is good), Siobhan (maybe went to that place just one too many times, but she had some good stuff), Melinda (certainly a heck of a voice, although her style on the show wasn’t quite my favorite kinda thing, but I mean heck of a voice), Hudson (again she wasn’t quite 100% my style on the show, but a mad voice and has done some sick things post Idol, some amazing performances), Allison (pretty good).
            Joshua, Jessica, Angie had their moments (although at the end of the day Joshua isn’t quite my style and Jessica had a crzy voice but was sometimes a touch disconnected, Angie had a great start with her own song then was good but not crazy good but built up and brought it those last two weeks) and Candice too (although her runs and making the melody turn into some unknown song kinda got to me and sometimes she didn’t quite microdynamic and connect in a way, underneath that she does have quite a voice itself though for sure). The hated Taylor Hicks actually put on some pretty good performances.
            Who knows.

          • Heres my top 10
            10) The blind guy (sorry cant remember his name, long time ago)
            9) Elise Testone
            8) Allison Iraheta
            7) Jason Castro
            6) Brook White
            5) Joshua Ledet
            4) Michael Johns
            3)David cook
            2) James Durbin Love Love Love Durbin
            1) Melinda Doolittle
            Im Not counting anyone from this year because none of them belong on this list! Also love Holly, Skyler, Angie miller. Amber Holcomb, Burnell. I just looked and noticed that none of us had phil phillips. But he didnt come to mind in my top 10

    • Lisa says:

      Were you even listening to Caleb’s performance of INXS? I will commend him for one thing…that song was the LEAST karaoke out of all of his performances this season. That said, he failed at it miserably. It was also the worst performance. Caleb should be top two in an ACTING competition because he certainly can imitate a rock singer. He can smash a mic stand like a rock star, he can look, dress and act like Meatloaf, has the ego of a rock star, and yes, he can sing karaoke versions of rock songs that apparently blind and deafen the judges. The one thing he can’t do is be an authentic rock musician. Sadly, he is completely unoriginal; everything he does is an imitation of rock musicians.

      He’s very transparent, and yet the judges don’t call him out on it. I won’t deny he has a voice, but he should be fronting an 80’s cover band, and even if he wins, that is where he will most likely end up. His ONLY attempt at being somewhat original was an epic fail. I can’t say he won’t win (he just might), but it will be because 80’s rock is still very popular and he IS able to imitate it. Just my opinion.

    • jaxguy says:

      7. was Jessica Sanchez….
      I work for store that sells CD’s and I may have to agree with you. Candace is a tremendous singer but her music has not sold very well. I work in a area that favors Rap and Country so maybe that’s a bad indicator but Toni and Tamar Braxton sold like crazy.

    • Ms-T says:

      Jacob Lusk?!?! Not saying this because she is one of the hosts, but Melinda Doolittle has one of the best voices EVER on Idol.

  14. RD says:

    If Caleb wins it’s their own fault-not america’s. It’s Taylor Hicks all over again. A further nail in AI’s coffin. Rock Of Ages does not sell!!!

    • Mary says:

      No it will still be the voters fault, while Caleb is entertaining he has no future in radio or a viable solo career. The voters should have the intelligence enough to yes he is in the finals to make it interesting but Jena will be the marketable one. Sadly the audience don’t care what happens after the show is over.

      • RD says:

        But ultimately it’s the judges who pushed him there. Since when have the voters been the voice of reason?

    • Ben says:

      I’ve never understood why Idol should live and die by their winners. It’s not like Survivor, where the winner gets a million dollars and the loser has nothing to fall back on (well, 100 grand, but still..).

      The real winner of Idol is not the person still standing after all the eliminations – its the one who goes on to have the best career. In Jena, I feel like Idol has one of their most marketable stars in a very long time – regardless of whether or not she wins. Did it really matter that Adam came second?

      • Lisa says:

        Alex will follow the path of previous losers of American Idol. He will have a stellar career. Oh yes, by previous losers, I mean Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Jennifer Hudson, etc. The list goes on and on. There are multiple artists that have lost American Idol but have gone on to have huge careers. Losing American Idol does NOT guarantee success (ahem, Chris Daughtry/Adam Lambert, HUGE) no more than winning it guarantees success (ahem, Taylor Hicks/Ruben Studdard).

        I think both Jena and Alex have incredible careers ahead of them. However, if Caleb wins, I honestly think his career will follow the path of Taylor Hicks or Lee Dewyze. Their music has been heard. They have all made their mark. I am almost certain that Jason Mraz saw and heard Alex, and probably fell out of his chair. I see true mentoring sessions coming for Alex. I also would not doubt that Jena is going to find a mentor in the lead singer for Paramour.

        Unfortunately, the one I can’t see an amazing future for is Caleb. Yes, he can sing rock music and he will have a career. I just see it in the form of 80’s cover band. He will be pitch perfect, but unless he finds himself and gets some originality, I don’t see it going much further. When Adam Lambert was on AI, everyone could see him fronting Queen, but that’s not all they saw him doing. Adam was an original, that could also be a great fit as lead singer for Queen, but he was still original.

        I really just don’t think it’s smart for Caleb to win AI. It’s more embarrassing to win the competition and end up losing your recording contract than losing the competition and ending up with more recording contracts offered than you know what to do with. It’s possible that I could be way off and if Caleb wins, I certainly hope I am proven wrong. Sometimes I wonder if the producers push the one that will need more help succeeding to the winner’s circle, because they KNOW the others will have a stellar career either way. I know, not likely, that would be too noble of intentions for the producers. But sometimes it seems that way, or maybe it’s America’s way of fighting for the underdog. I don’t know but in the end it’s usually part singing contest, part popularity contest.

      • Danny says:

        Ben- Right. American Idol isn’t a career achievement award. It’s more like a Rookie of the Year award. All it means is you’ve had a better first year than the others. It doesn’t mean you’ll have a better career. In sports, there’s a bunch of Hall of Famers who didn’t win Rookie of the Year.

  15. Simon says:

    My theory is that the producers pimped Caleb because they figured Alex was a bigger threat against Jena. Everyone knows the dangers of putting the “chosen one” up against a WGWG (see David Archuleta, Adam Lambert, Crystal Bowersox, Lauren Alaina, and to a lesser extent, Jessica Sanchez).

    • RTW says:

      I thought the same.

    • This is what I thought too.

    • Mary says:

      I’m not sure I agree totally with that. I think the bottom line was the majority of voters didn’t find his performances entertaining. I know I was one of them. Yes he was talented but I think he should be more song writing and producer than a singer. I really didn’t care for his voice and he was painful to watch. The chosen one is not always the correct winner, in fact I believe Crystal was the only one who should of won, not upset with any of the others winning.

    • Ben says:

      Lauren the chosen one? What show were you watching?

      • Emma says:

        Don’t you remember Steven Tyler said “I think we found the one” right after her audition and then TPTB shamelessy pimped her the rest of the season no matter what she did. But even though they brought out the guy in scrubs for the finale, it wasn’t enough to get her the win. In fact I would bet that was the most lopsided victory in idol history.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well, Simon, I love a great conspiracy theory and I suppose that’s entirely possible. I had not thought about the producers thinking Alex was a bigger threat to Jena than Caleb.
      I hope this doesn’t backfire on them – Caleb could win!

    • Danny says:

      Simon- of your list I felt David Cook and Kris were the right winners between the final 2. That’s not a knock on Adam. Season 8 had a whole bunch of real good singers. I had Season 8 as Allison, Matt, Kris, Adam. I also think Season 11 was a great year and PP/Jessica was a coin flip. That year any of the final 7 could have won and I would have been fine with it.
      Season 10 I think Scott is the one they pimped the most. In that year I think what they really wanted was a country final.

  16. TinLV says:

    They are right about one thing.. Josh Kaufman should be the winner on the Voice.. heck, he has outsung everybody else on all the reality talent shows we’ve seen for the past two get out there and .Vote for Josh !! I don’t care about Idol anymore..this year has sealed the deal for me.. I used to love this show, but won’t be watching next year.

  17. Betty says:

    You get the feeling that country music fans want ‘classic’ country back and that’s why Jake is in the finals. Clearly of the two country singers left (Jake and Kristen) Jake is definitely the more traditional. You have to wonder if Shakira’s constant comments about Kristen representing the minority (?) hurt her in the end. Traditional country music folk are not about ‘different’. I’ve watched this show since the beginning, but really hated the format this season and the Twitter save is absurd! That needs to go away.

    • HTGR says:

      Yeah I think where Shakira goes wrong is that even though she has lived in the U.S. a lot and so on and so forth, since she wasn’t born here she doesn’t necessarily truly get the crazy ins and outs of what works here and how things go down (as you point out with her comments regarding Kristen vs the sort of stuff Blake says when he speaks to the crowd that makes up a disproportionately large part of the voting base) or her disco for Sasha Allen (despite disco being just about death for reality tv contestants, regardless of whether it works out well or not as a vocal and performance).

      • Hi HTGR its becca. yah I dont understand why Shakira would keep saying that to Kristen. I looked on Wiki when she first joined the show and she is genius, one of MENZA, for real, so she must know better. I winced every time she said that! Felt bad for Kristen!

  18. Alan Dvorkis says:

    Thanks for brightening my day yet again. Extremely frustrated with Caleb potentially winning. Good Karaoke should not win American Idol, but the powers that be deem him the winner. Hopefully, fans will c differently. No matter, I look forward to smiling weekly with your weekly discussion with Melinda. Also nice to know that someone else watched BBC America. Thanks again.

    • Lisa says:

      Well said Alan. Good karaoke, bad imitation of rock musicians. He shouldn’t win. Of course, it’s been my experience that at least 70% of the time, the one that shouldn’t win does. I certainly hope this time falls into the other 30% but his karaoke will hurt him in the end. Alex and Jena have a bright future regardless of the end result of the competition.

    • Lisa says:

      Ya know what I just realized? They each have to do their final (original) song tonight. Caleb is going to have to be original. OMG, I’m just dying laughing at the thought. The guy doesn’t know how to be original. This should be quite interesting. He can’t karaoke his winning song. He can’t imitate this. How will he pull it off?

  19. RD says:

    The only previous Voice winner that came anywhere near the talent of Josh Kaufman was Tessanne Chin. So,judging by past history unfortunately the chances of Josh winning are slim. Jermaine Paul,anybody? ……didn’t think so!

  20. Nick says:

    BUFFY!!!!!!! Lol when Michael said the one with the wall & Melinda’s reaction

  21. There wasn’t just a bus coming at Alex, there was a damn subway! What the hell was up with those graphics!

  22. grandma Jane says:

    I know this is slightly off topic, but could anyone explain how Idol would format a once weekly show? How does that include results from voting? Thanks to whoever.
    Meanwhile, my least favorite year. I’ve been watching since season three. Don’t know if it’s just lost it’s excitement because it’s been on so long, or it’s just a sucky year. The changes haven’t been good ones. When I watched the videos of Michael’s new top 30 performances of all time, the camera hardly ever left the singer. Much nicer that way.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Probably just wait till the following week to announce the elimination. Maybe that will mean a little less time for the camera to focus on the Judges and their usually pointless chatter. That is a logical move for the show, as ratings have not been revived by this panel and their choices of selecting talent from among a large universe of try-outs.

  23. Amber says:

    For the Voice, I really want Josh to win. Jake is ok, but not good enough to win. And Christina is ok, but not as good as Josh imo. For Idol, definitely 1000% Caleb. Jena’s one of the worst contestants to make the show, let alone the finale

    • Mary says:

      Isn’t it great we all have different taste so we can have a variety in our music. Where as Caleb is entertaining I can almost guarantee he has not shot on radio, so all of you voting for him better show up to his concerts if he somehow wins.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      In terms of over-all vocal ability to span range with fullness of voice and deliver a very good rendition of a song, Josh is better of the 3. Christina is a slight favorite to win the show.

  24. LIsaK says:

    Ok really? you’re going to blame Caleb for the stupid doctor in scrubs? How do you square that with all the comments we make about how the producers saddle contestants with weird staging. So do we think that the lamps on the stage were whatshisname’s idea? And was it his idea to do all that “heart throb” stuff? No, of course not. That wasn’t his idea any more than making a deal out of being sick was Caleb’s idea.

  25. GuitarBlue says:

    Idol history – From MJ’s the top 20 songs of Idol’s so far, via Billboard.

    1. Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
    2. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
    3. No Air – Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown
    4. Behind These Hazel Eyes – Kelly Clarkson
    5. Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
    6. Home – Phillip Phillips
    7. Because of You – Kelly Clarkson
    8. My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson
    9. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
    10. It’s Not Over – Daughtry
    11. A Moment Like This – Kelly Clarkson
    12. Tattoo – Jordin Sparks
    13. Home – Daughtry
    14. This is the Night – Clay Aiken
    15. Sorry 2004 – Ruben Studdard
    16. Miss Independent – Kelly Clarkson
    17.Wait For You – Elliott Yamin
    18. Inside Your Heaven – Carrie Underwood
    19. Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
    20. Walk Away – Kelly Clarkson

    • tealeaves says:

      How is Home not number 1?

      • GuitarBlue says:

        Dough no……. suppose it’s all based on Billboard jargon of sales or weeks at #1 or something — just thought I would post it, there’s a top 50 listed at MJ’s Big Blog.

        • tealeaves says:

          Thanks. Good point. If it is a Billboard list, it is probably based on weeks at #1 on Billboard, or some other calculation based on Billboard chart rankings.

    • HTGR says:

      Basically you could have just typed: Kelly Clarkson.
      Hah, 50% of the list overall and 80% of the top 25%.

      • Terry says:

        Ya, for all the bragging that A.I. does about producing stars, that list is pretty telling as to how very few success stories they actually produce when it comes to releasing music post idol.

        • Lisa says:

          Yes, but keep in mind that 25% of that list was made up of NON winners. I still love Chris Daughtry to this day.

        • Emma says:

          So true. P2 is the only idol on there from the past 7 seasons. And if it wasn’t for the Olympics, he wouldn’t be on there at all. Yes I went there.

        • tealeaves says:

          @Terry, the list is just the top 20. If they made a top 50 list, then more contestants would be on the list. If they included The Voice and X-Factor then the list would still have only Idols on it.

        • tealeaves says:

          It turns out, the original list does include the top 50! In fact it goes up to the top 100. I wish I had looked this up days ago. Probably no one is still reading this. But here’s the stats for the top 50 and top 100.
          The Top 50 includes 9 winners and 16 contestants overall. Kelly and Carrie combined account for 1/2 of the top 50 based on this Billboard ranking. Daughtry is next with 5.
          Top 50 : Kelly Clarkson(14), Carrie Underwood(11), Daughtry (5), Jordin Sparks(4), Fantasia (3), Phillip Phillips (2), Ruben Studdard(2), Clay Aiken(1), Elliott Yamin (1), David Archuleta (1), Adam Lambert (1), Kris Allen (1), David Cook (1), Taylor Hicks (1), Bo Bice (1), Jennifer Hudson (1)
          The Top 100 includes 10 winners and 25 contestants overall. Carrie and Kelly combined account for just over 1/3 of the top 100 based on this Billboard ranking. Carrie has more total entries in the top 100 than Kelly does. Daughtry is third with 10.
          Top 100 : Carrie Underwood(20), Kelly Clarkson(17), Daughtry (10), Fantasia (6), Jordin Sparks(5), David Cook (4), Clay Aiken(3), Adam Lambert (3), Kris Allen (3), Jennifer Hudson (3), Josh Gracin (3), Scotty McCreery (3), Phillip Phillips (2), Ruben Studdard(2), Bo Bice (2), Kellie Pickler (2), Kathrine McPhee (2), American Idol Finalists (2), Elliott Yamin (1), David Archuleta (1), Taylor Hicks (1), Mario Vazquez (1), Kimberly Locke (1), Bucky Covington (1), Blake Lewis (1), Diana DeGarmo (1)

  26. danin says:

    Josh&Caleb all the way!!

  27. Michael Johns says:

    If the top two’s singles are any indication, they are on their way to obscurity. Didn’t they learn anything from PP’s “Home”? That should be the kind of stuff they are saddling these unremarkable contestants. Knowing that Caleb’s is a Kelly CLarkson reject and Jena’s has the same name as JLO’s crappy single actually hurt these kids chances for a sale-upsurge.

  28. HTGR says:

    Selfie as the piece to celebrate the 500th episode kinda says it all, what a sad fall.

  29. Trisha26 says:

    Alex for the win. Anyway…I’ll be voting for Caleb and Josh. Mush-mouthed Jena & Christina will go by the wayside, Alex & Josh will release a kick-ass albums and Rising Star will die a quick death.

    • Stormy says:

      Exactly. Missy Mumbles [Jena] and CG[I can’t hit that note so I’ll screech instead] are riding a trike on a treadmill. They’re going nowhere [see Pia, Jessica Sanchez, Haley R etc.].

  30. Simon says:

    I just saw on iTunes that Christina Grimmie will be singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” tonight. Less than 2 weeks after Jena had a big moment with it. Thoughts?

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Hmmmmmmmmmmmm …. makes you wonder.

    • tealeaves says:

      Kat on The Voice also sang Barracuda not long after Jena sang it on AI. And someone else from The Voice sang Waiting on the World to Change a couple weeks after CJ sang it on Idol. I bet there are more examples too.

    • Adrian says:

      I wonder if Christina Grimme will get to rank #3 if American Idol actually releases Jena’s version of the exact same song. (Randy did not choose to put this song on iTunes that week!). At that case you can really compare the two version side by side!

  31. Kathy V. says:

    All of the top 5 have their charms and have had some great moments this season. It has felt like a horse race coming down the stretch especially with the top 3. Each singer has a distinct style and an audience for that style and are fun to watch each week to see what they’re going to do. This was not the best week for any of the top 3. The pressures of going home plus learning three songs must be horrendous. This season, I will not forget Jena’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” – what a beautiful moment. And I loved Caleb’s “Skyfall” and “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I enjoyed listening to all the creative things Alex would do with his voice each week. I liked Jess in her dark, country moments and Sam singing “Time after Time”. I don’t know who will win. I still love the tone in Caleb’s voice and how comfortable he is entertaining people. I’ve been curious to see what he would pick to sing each week. His comments to the media were disappointing but I’m still a fan. Sometimes the best singer doesn’t win #haileygotrobbed.

  32. Renee says:

    Michael and Melinda (#JasonToo) – thank you for making me laugh on a Monday. That was terrific. And honestly the producers are so obvious you can only laugh – “here Caleb, slouch on this throne and mangle ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ to adulation. Jena, baby, we’re going to put you in a diaper-like thing and have you sing on a narrow platform 6 feet up. Well that was surprisingly disappointing!”
    Go, young Jena, May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!!

  33. Becky says:

    Actually Caleb is Taylor Hicks all over again. Katherine mcFee’s homecoming was sad. Hardly anybody there. Kind of like Angie’s last year.
    This is jenas to lose.
    @melinda…it only took once for me to know that if I was scheduled Saturday morning at 7 am, probably going out with friends the nite before was not going to happen.
    Caleb was so given a pass. And common sense ses to be missing.
    And Alex earned my respect. I really did not pull for him until Jess was eliminated. But you could see the wheels at work even that week that AI was eliminating Alex anyway they could. He like Jess will be fine. Daughtry and Hudson did fine.
    And as Jess pointed out it is just like ths hunger games.

  34. Agent Smith says:

    Our guessing at the “marketability” of a contestant is still only a guess.

    And whether Josh or Caleb are going anywhere after the show and tour — depends on a number of factors that could fall in-place or fall apart in a year or 2.

    A win is what you strive for, whether you are “marketable” to today’s predominantly teen and tween music buyer’s market or not. A win is a win and a great part of one’s personal journey, whether one is even in the business years later, or just getting-on with life.

    A lot of the songs done on these shows are boring anyway, so whoever is the least boring has a chance…

  35. HTGR says:

    Yeah, at this point it’s #gottabeaselfie. NOOOO! Whoa. Let me retry that. Yeah, at this point it’s #gottabejosh! (but man could the season have been more frustrating between eliminating 20 contestants each week and voting less in sync than the swaybots too boot?)

    • HTGR says:

      One great thing about this season of The Voice though is that last season’s Jacquie has put out a great debut single, Broken Ones! Check it out.

  36. Casey says:

    I have been a rooting for a Caleb/Jena from day one. I appreciate Alex’s talent but he was boring! To me it felt like he sang the same song every week and the “peepee” dance drove me nuts! Based on the season of work I think the right two made the final.

  37. Agent Smith says:

    And, The Voice — is not all about the Coaches/Mentors — they are only about 86% of the show with their performances, babbling comments with each other, Adam dumping manure on Blake’s pickup truck and their face-time coaching the singers. The singers still get about 14% at least. They don’t even have to split-screen or cut-away to J. Lo when they are singing. What an idea! Give-it-up for The Voice!.

  38. Brigette says:

    Ok, thank you Jason, for inserting JLo’s booty-roll whatever into random parts of Michael and Melinda’s convo at the end. That made me cry laughing.
    Wasn’t Caleb the dude who in season 10 stopped singing in the middle of his song to ask for water? I feel like he’s either overly-confident or has no confidence at all. He wasn’t even dressed to sing last week; part of him just gave up. As Melinda said, he’s not yet a professional, but when Jena and Alex act like they’ve been doing this for 50 years, there’s no excuses for him. That’s who he’s standing next to. Anyway, Caleb shouldn’t be in top two, but, at least we know he’ll be less boring than in some of the seasons past, like when we had country Idol.
    What will I do without Reality Check until next January?! It’s my favorite SHOW! Haha. (Seriously though.)

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, that’s him Brigette. He was also the one that looked like he was trying to be a 50’s rocker meets Frank Sinatra. This year, it’s Jack Black meets Meatloaf. The kid does NOT know who he is.

  39. Teeny Bikini says:

    Melinda and Michael. You are by far the best part of this show. I love your analyses and humor and insight. I really can’t believe that they didn’t bring back anyone from past seasons. I mean no one. REALLY? I refuse to watch the show, but I will always watch Reality Check. At least, your show always exceeds expectations and the talent factor is unquestionable and consistent. Can’t say that about Idol. Props to your production crew too. Subtitles and editing are friggin’ genius.

    • Kelly says:

      Agree with all of the above
      Michael and Melinda are the BEST!
      Unbelievable, truly unfathomable, that AI has not brought more alumni back to perform when they have so much time to fill on these shows. WHY??! I just don’t get it.

  40. Name This Tune says:

    Nothing difficult to decide about either show. Voted for Josh.
    Will vote for both Caleb and Jena tomorrow night. Because I supported both all season and I will be pleased with the outcome, regardless.

  41. Michael Johns says:

    I gotta say, what brought AI down this year is how TBTP methodically catapulted Jena and Caleb to the finals with their pathetic and obvious manipulations.

  42. gmgeyer says:

    Michael and Melinda, thank you, I want … Just … Thank you. I will miss you both on Reality Check much more than I will miss the shows you discuss.

  43. GuitarBlue says:

    Remember Idol is on tomorrow night this week. I think The Voice Finale is on as well, but the main part of the finale show starts an hour later than Idol does. Check your TV guide.

    Jena is slightly ahead of Caleb in the polls right now, but song choices could make the difference…………….

    There should be more watching and voting for the final performances, so a bad,, way over-done relic of a song choice, even if done well, accompanied by disturbing flashing optics, fires, subway roller-coaster rides, with stage and production managers on speed,………………,, could be the difference.

  44. In fact no matter if someone doesn’t know afterward its up
    to other viewers that they will help, so here it occurs.

  45. Idol Zombie says:

    So how did anyone expect that a Caleb type of guy would not be in the finale?? When they cast a Ben, CJ and Dexter characters into the play on the guy side?

    Sam was a very good singer, but was like the boy in class that did not want to make any waves or make any mistakes. He was voted-off twice because he was as wooden and boring as he was good.

    Alex made a run at it with originality and a good Pop voice, but was not charismatic, playful or exciting enough for voters stay engaged enough to put him in the top 2. So here you go —- Caleb vs Jena; Prom dates on your TV.

  46. Kelly says:

    I was surprised Michael didn’t mention in this week’s recap or in Reality Check (I almost missed it myself) that the hometown visit footage was not aired until the night AFTER the performances. I believe as recently as last year, it was aired on the same night as the performance show. Two huge effects – (1) the contestant could get really emotional having to perform right after watching their footage air live on the giant screen for the first time, and (2) it could dramatically affect the voting depending on how the footage played out and the edit given by the producers.

    • HTGR says:

      It seems like they seem to move it to where it can most aid who they want in the top two. Last season Angie had no sob story so they had it before voting.

    • Lisa says:

      Caleb was sick. Showing the hometown footage wouldn’t have gotten him the pity vote.

    • Mary says:

      I could be mistaken but I think it has been like this all along. I know in season 8 the they showed little snippets but the guys performed and then on Thursday it was a full package then they announced who was the top two.

  47. Mike B says:

    Sick of the Blake and Adam juvenalia. Disproportionate numbers of old white voters (Blake’s people!) from the Confederacy produce too many lackluster talents who win on both shows. There are some notable exceptions, but not many.

  48. Jeff Jones says:

    The Voice and Idol cashed in on novelties this year with Jake Worthington and Caleb Johnson. Both are throw back vocalist to their perspective genre. Jake sing traditional country very well and no one is doing that in country music today. There were better modern country singers on the show, but Jake’s vocals sound traditional and why he is in the final. Caleb sounds like a 70’s Rock Viking and rock fan’s hunger for Caleb’s vocal style. Yes, great singers went home each week, but Jake and Caleb found a niche that people over 40 still crave and people under 30 are seeing for the first time. Jake and Caleb are both crowd favorites and received the number of votes needed to compete this week. Do not be surprised if one or both win this year.
    I enjoyed a lot of the vocal talent on Idol and The Voice, but Jake and Caleb did stand out simply because they sound like the great music from the 70’s and 80’s. All the contestants from both shows did a great job, so we applaud all of them for entertaining our evenings.

  49. Nathalie Van Egten says:

    I think jenas problem is that the sort of artest she wants be is’ t what her vioce is made for shes been brilliant behide the piano yet that is’t the type of artrst she wants to be

  50. ara says:

    I didn’t care much for the Scotty-Lauren finale but I put that down to not being into country music. This time I’m just as disinterested in Jena-Caleb! If only Alex had made it into the finale.