Reality Check: Idol's Best Audition Night Ever? Plus: Does Harry Connick Jr. Need to Simmer Down?

This just in from the Department of Obvious Newsflashes: Adam Lambert makes everything better.

Still, was the American Idol Season 8 grad’s substitute judging gig the reason the show’s Season 14 New York City audition stop was so darn spectacular?

On this week’s installment of Reality Check, my co-host Melinda Doolittle and I break down the extraordinary talent unearthed by Adam, J.Lo and Harry Connick Jr. — and disagree (just a little) over how exactly to rank ’em. Plus, we brainstorm a new “Golden Ticket Veto” twist designed to bring out Melinda’s dark side, throw some side eye at Harry’s non-musical shenanigans and ponder whether or not polarizing beauty Shi Scott really deserved a spot in Hollywood Week.

So press PLAY above for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments with your thoughts on Season 14 Week 2!

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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89 Comments
  1. Scout says:

    YAY!!!! Love this. I thought for sure your #1’s would be Hollywood :) I do agree with all the revoked tickets. LOL. I love when you do that…

    Thanks for posting. I’ll be watching this approx. 3 more times b/c once is not enough. Cheers.

  2. neaorlean says:

    It it NOT 30 minutes. Why is it not 30 minutes, Melinda? :)

  3. Jeff Marley says:

    Even thought it wasn’t her best showing, I still believe in loren Lott from nashviles episode. Go check out her YouTube videos and you’ll see what she can really do!!! 😃

  4. Ziggy says:

    I don’t watch AI anymore, but you better believe I refresh this blog every Monday waiting for these videos. I’ve been a fan since your stint on EW. Keep up the great work!

    • Lisa says:

      Me too. I haven’t watched regularly since season 8 but have followed Michael’s recaps. They are ever entertaining. I love Melinda as his co-host. I do miss Kristine ((with and without glasses).

  5. KarenC says:

    thank you for the “Golden Ticket Veto”s !! Agreed with all of them and we were yelling at the tv when they got their tickets. Favs were Jax, Travis, Hollywood and Nayah in that order. ;)

  6. i love that you guys brought up this “twee” thing (is that what you said??) I am OVER that style of singing. stop purposely mispronouncing things. stop singing from the from of your mouth. stop making an “R” sound with every word. stop using this shaky, trailing, crackling vibrato. it isn’t natural to any of you except for the first person who sang like that. and it doesn’t make you good.

  7. jules says:

    Why hasn’t this show been canceled???? Hardly anyone cares anymore…

  8. Kim R says:

    You hit the nail on the head with the Harry thing. I’m sure we all have a friend who is funny & enjoyable to be around but there are times we wish for an off switch or at least some social grace to kick in. Harry has got to calm down! The class clown thing only goes so far & then it becomes inappropriate & highly annoying.

    • The Beach says:

      It almost seems as if Harry is so afraid of being perceived as this stuffy musical genius that he overdoes the silly, annoying shtick to appear more relatable. Hey Harry, a little bit of stuffy ain’t such a bad thing.

  9. kt5 says:

    I find the antics of Harry C.J. absolutely tiring and disrespectful to the contestants and to his fellow panelists. The effort to copy the atmosphere of The Voice is obvious and cringe worthy. A ‘bromance’ happens naturally and effortessly and the man just tries too hard. If he doesn’t watch these episodes back, surely the producers must and surely they must be able to see this.

  10. DC Girl says:

    I thought Jax’s arrangement was similar to the one Kurt sang on Glee when his dad was sick.

  11. Summer says:

    Yes Adam Lambert made American Idol the best! Everything he is on just Lights up. Adam has a Phenomenal Aura that exudes LOVE! He just makes you feel JOY when he’s around. They should add him as judge or better yet, a mentor. Adam Lambert broke the American Idol mold with his Exhilarating innovative performances, Chameleon like Style, Stunningly Handsome good looks, and Jaw Dropping Phenomenal Vocals! There is no one more Qualified to give advice and help create the the Star! What an incredible Gift to those contestants to have Adam help them create their performance. That would be genius.
    I also think Harry should settle down. He’s fun and bringing the humor but needs to have more class. When it overshadows the contestants, it’s just Rude. I also believe Harry got “Adamized” put under Adams very Seductive spell, which happens to everyone who meets him. Watching Harry gush over Adam was really entertainment.

    • Shaun says:

      Are you his PR manager?Fan club president?

      • Summer says:

        Nope, just stating Facts!

      • MaggieMagoo says:

        oh Shaun, you must realize soon that all the millions of Glamberts believe just as Summer has said –perhaps without all the caps–but I find no fault with that enthusiasm. I share it! Never heard or seen such an extraordinary vocalist, entertainer or apparent good-to-his-soul person as Adam Lambert. Europe right now is falling under Adam’s spell. And yes, just pick a few interviews, esp from the early days, and watch the interviewers with no clue beforehand melt into goo before him, and inevitably, invent a way to touch him–as did Harry. Funny!

        PS I don’t watch AI after Adam unless they have Adam on and absolutely was put off by Harry’s antics. Rude and boorish to contestants as well as to jLo and Adam.

    • donna says:

      i also enjoyed the show more with adam on it…i stopped watching it a few years ago and only watch realty check once in a whle but this tme i could actually enture the entire show…it’s a shame ratigns weren’t better…

    • Mercedes S. says:

      You go, Summer!

  12. Rick says:

    Fox’s need to fire the executives producers, the judges and change the format in order to get the TV ratings back to normal?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I think the judges are fine – provided Harry takes it down just a notch. I hate to say this but I’m enjoying Jennifer so far this year. They’ve handed out a few undeserved golden tickets but that always happens. I just hope they continue to give honest critiques once we get to the live shows.

  13. McFudge says:

    Adam is very shrewd. He knows the business and what it takes to make it, but he also knows Idol, and knows those two things don’t always go hand in hand. Plenty of people can make it in the music biz who would be absolutely cringeworthy on Idol. Jax was great, but I still like Jess from Nashville, I guess it was. They’ll probably both get Hayley’d, so, yeah, don’t get attached.

    • McFudge says:

      *Haley’d

    • Summer says:

      The Pop stars played on radio every half hour are ALL studio created autotune fake singers, who can’t sing Live without their backtracks and autotune mics!!! All of them are horrible Live and are famous because they fit a look. They are “created” by the industry. This is not a real deal Artist or singer and if frustrates me to the core. There are less then a handful that can sing GREAT without help..one mic, no music and sound perfect! Even those very few that have a nice voice have a limited range and their Vocals can’t hold up for a 2 hour concert!! This generation doesn’t have a clue what a real Kick Ass singer or concert sounds like. That is very sad.
      American Idol was the first show that made the hopeful “Bring It”! Their voice without music or backup singers and prove they have Real Vocal Talent and stage presence. Idol is the only show that’s found real talent. 98% of the music on the radio right Now is computer created chipmunk sounding Trash!
      We are In desperate need of some new Real Deal talent.

      • We get real deal talent with winners like Candice and Caleb, and no one buys their albums. :'(

      • HTGR says:

        Certainly quite some truth to that these days no doubt. Although I think you are taking it a bit too far. Gaga can sing and has far from a limited range. Pink has some vocal chops. And, contrary to some popular opinion since she does lots of auto-tune style stuff no she can sing and carry of her songs live just the same as in the studio (other than the ones that are made for a pure auto-tune, I mean she could still do those too, but they’d be totally different since they were specifically created for an auto-tuned sound). And some of the pop stuff in general is harder to think than people imagine and a few can manage it a bit better even without auto-tune than you think. Quite a few can sing pretty well and miles better than the average person on the street. OTOH there are tons more out there who can sing even better and have no name though and that probably used to be a lot less true on average back a few years. And yeah also that said there are a lot of auto-tune queens around and as I was saying top 10 does seem to have a lot less of the true gem quality singers like Whitney Houston and Ann Wilson or anyone even at all beginning to even approach those types around these days. And yeah even sugar pop types like Debbie Gibson could sing all their songs live and in tune and had pretty strong range.

  14. Summer says:

    As for who was a stand out. JAX! I feel really excited about her! She’s the first singer since Adam Lambert to really got my attention! Hollywood was another that makes me so excited! If both can stay innovative and creative and continue to sing that spectacular, it will be JAX and Hollywood in the end. They excite me!
    It was so OBVIOUS that JLO and Harry were waiting for the chance to TRY & KNOCK Adam off his well deserved pedestal by giving ” Golden Tickets” to someone Adam said no to, TRYING to create doubt that he knows what he’s talking about. It’s so transparent and made JLO and Harry look like fools! What happened Harry….your serious speech about Not putting anyone through this year that “might” get better. They would have to come in with talent. This was disrespectful to the contestants too…letting them think they even have a chance when they don’t. This is not a game to Adam. Thank God he has the integrity, honesty, and skill to let the contestants know the truth. That’s what the show needs to get back to. Also, one would think JLO , Harry and Keith watch how RUDE they are when talking through the singing. It needs to Stop! If Idol doesn’t change these antics they will loose it all. I don’t want to see Idol canceled because it is the only show that has real deal Superstars. They need to listen to what people want..go back to the basics.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I never got the impression Jennifer and Harry were trying to knock Adam off his pedastal. It takes a while to develop relationships and camradarie – this was the first time Adam had worked with them. I was just glad they showed the montage of Adam telling people “no” so he didn’t come across as too willing to send people through.
      At one time or another all the judges said “no” to someone and who knows what happened to the contestants that were’nt given any air time.

      • Summer says:

        I’m sure the segments were staged so they had the appearance of conflict or not agreeing who should go through. What I found transparent was Harry Said Repeatedly in Interviews that this year he would not put someone through who didn’t have IT right away, not someone you think would get better. So when he choose Shi and several others who didn’t deserve a ticket, and danced around saying Adams vote didn’t count you knew it was deliberate, regardless of why.

  15. Maynard1 says:

    Harry’s a show off, plain and simple. He also wants to be the show’s ‘star’. Obviously, someone forgot to inform him that there are two other judges with as much experience. Harry’s shtick is trying to snow everyone with his ridiculous vocabulary of mostly archaic terms, and it’s becoming tiresome. Let’s try concentrating on the contestants this year without having the camera on JLo or listening to Harry’s need to pontificate. In fact, I’d like to look and listen to Keith occasionally; whenever he does get the chance to comment, he’s good.

    • Summer says:

      Agree 100%! I really hope Harry reads this because it needs to stop!

    • I also agree with you. There’s too much at stake with a possible cancellation. Idol and its judges need to be the best they can be. This year, there is a lot of talent to work with. I still like celebrity mentors, but those days are gone. Come on Harry – get with the program!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      You know, when Harry actually judges he’s quite good. I wish they would show more of that side of Harry. He just needs to dial it back a bit, though.

  16. Puchinsmom says:

    YES to the stuff about Harry. I’ve felt that way since he started last season. And I think he has alot to offer the show. But he has to be the center of attention ALL the time and that should be the contestants. But it was mentioned by Melinda ? or Michael? that maybe the PTB asked for that behavior because the show was edited with that stuff included. Not entertaining, but annoying and disrespectful. That said, GREAT Reality Check guys! As usual.

  17. Joyce says:

    Yes, Harry does need to simmer down also, I think it shows disrespect for the judges to chit chat with each other while the idol participants perform! The judges are there to do a very important job not to show disrespect to the person auditioning and to the millions of people! watching the show! Stop acting like kids and start acting like professionals!

  18. Timmah says:

    Blake’s shtick works because it’s a natural part of his personality, just as Simon’s brutal honesty was in Idol’s heyday. This panel is pompous and phony and I say dump the whole lot of ’em and start over. Adam Lambert would be a good place to begin rebuilding.

    • kt5 says:

      Kelly Clarkson was a great judge when she was on the show called Duets. She was very honest and smart in a kind way. I don’t know if she would ever consider coming back on Idol but is a worthy consideration. She and Adam would, for all kinds of reasons, be a great pair to start with.

  19. Jan says:

    Reality Check should be mandatory viewing for all AI judges and producers!

  20. abz says:

    I wish you guys would do these video segments when The Voice starts next month as I stopped watching AI a really long time ago. Not just like a minute or two added on to the end of the AI videos.

  21. Me. says:

    Ok I think the reason Keith and Harry talked though the Soul guy was that he was so obviously singing to JLo. I think editing must have been done on the clip. But he came in and spoke directly to her only. I don’t blame them for doing their shtick.

  22. jalahyacinth says:

    Shop around the Corner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all.

  23. zaza says:

    Someone took away Harry’s meds.

  24. Lloyd says:

    Harry does come off as very attention-seeking. It’s off-putting.

  25. Hayder B. Hayden says:

    I think it’s so cute how Michael and Melinda and a handful of viewers still get excited in January, only to be complaining in April and May as ratings plummet and performers tank. This show is taking its final spin as it circles the drain.

  26. That thing with Harry and Keith goin’ out for bar-b-que was a carefully orchestrated bit to make the show funny. Opps, “attempt” to make to make the show funny..It wasn’t

  27. Lyn says:

    The best things about the NY show were Adam and adam. Glad I found you again Michael and Melinda (followed since EW). Great job!

  28. glamity58 says:

    The problem is none of them can compare to the incomparable Adam Lambert. I only watched for him. Best Idol ever. He is killing it with Queen to sold-out audiences all over the globe since last June and now in England. I love this guy and Idol will never be as good as the year he was on. Yes I’m a Glambert!

  29. Jaszy says:

    I loved Jax way better than Hollywood. He was okay to me. The song was so-so. The “you’re my fall, winter, spring” thing, like I haven’t heard that line in other songs before.
    I’m probably in the minority here, but I did enjoy the Wednesday episode just as much as the Thursday episode. Ellen Peterson was hands down the best on Wednesday, but I also loved some others that were in the Wed. audition, like Stephanie Gummelt, such a cutie she is, Joey Cook, Alexis Gomez, and Kohlton Pascal, who was very intriguing.
    Them talking about Shi was funny to me because I’m pretty sure that was her with the curly, puffy hair in the Feeling Good Top 24 Silhouette video, so….

    I wish Reality Check was longer. I can listen to them talk about this show and the Voice for hours. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode of Idol!
    Also can’t wait for the Voice to come back because this last season was awful in my opinion, with all those boys. Sugar Joans was ROBBED! She should audition for Idol next year if it comes back. I just loved her so much! But that’s another story.

  30. Jaszy says:

    I loved Jax way better than Hollywood. He was okay to me. The song was so-so. The “you’re my fall, winter, spring” thing, like I haven’t heard that line in other songs before.
    I’m probably in the minority here, but I did enjoy the Wednesday episode just as much as the Thursday episode. Ellen Peterson was hands down the best on Wednesday, but I also loved some others that were in the Wed. audition, like Stephanie Gummelt, such a cutie she is, Joey Cook, Alexis Gomez, and Kohlton Pascal, who was very intriguing.
    Them talking about Shi was funny to me because I’m pretty sure that was her with the curly, puffy hair in the Feeling Good Top 24 Silhouette video, so….
    I wish Reality Check was longer. I can listen to them talk about this show and the Voice for hours. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode of Idol!
    Also can’t wait for the Voice to come back because this last season was awful in my opinion, with all those boys. Sugar Joans was ROBBED! She should audition for Idol next year if it comes back. I just loved her so much! But that’s another story.

  31. analythinker says:

    As much as I want to watch #themelindaveto, I’m sorry girl, I don’t think you can really do it :D

    Also, I just realized you might be right about the “forced” comedy/bromance part, Michael. If Per Blankens (is it still him “running” the show?) in some ways encouraged them to do so to mimic Blake & Adam, it’s not really working. Please, just stick to being yourselves, Harry & Keith.

  32. I agree with Adam on Shi, first I think her whole act was phony & set for attention. Here’s hoping she either gets a real act or gets booted off before the top take to TV. I agree that the blue striped shirt boys should never have gotten on; flirty Kevin & suck up TSMGO, neither are that good. Travis is OK, I don’t see what everyone loves about Jax, so we’ll see who she brings to the table and my favorite was Najah. I am sick of Harry’s crap, get serious already. Granted in real life in an audition for a movie, TV, or whatever the boss is often answering phones, eating a sandwich or signing papers but this is TV. Could you at least pretend to care?? I love Adam’s presence on Idol, whether mentor or judge; he’s made for it. He knows how to pay attention & deliver HELPFUL comments.

  33. WindyJocelyne says:

    The Show are not really good now since the season 8 because the real winner was Adam Lambert the runner up and because of homophobic peoples who dont want a man who are gai they just take Kris the simple guy some stupid people hate so much Adam because he are a gai guy so the dont accept him and they vote massivly for Kris but they put that show right down because Adam Lambert are the first guy who are able to make all songs perfectly and change his close he puts on him for the year the song he interpret was in the same look that the guy’s how make the record was like new in 1980 so he put a clothes like we are in the 1980, and same for the song he interpret* Whole Lotta Lova* and he change that all weeks he was in the competitions and people in fanal saw how Adam deserved to win that competion they dont want to see American Idol again and it is because of it. He was the best competition person in the all season and now one want to see after that American Idol. Thats it and for me I dont want to see that american Idol since Adam dont be the first to win and tell me who are the winner that year..we just heard Adam Lambert all in the world so who you think won that year to season 8 who deserved it?? Adam Lambert.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I love Adam Lambert but it’s time to let go of the whole “Adam should have won” thing and concentrate on this season. He’s been quite successful and popular without winning. If you’re still carrying the torch for Adam just exinguish that flame and be happy for the success he’s experienced.

    • Mary says:

      Your rant was hard to read, a few periods and comma and spell check would of been appreciated. It has been six years since season 8 it is time to move on with your life. I find it funny that everyone assumes Adam lost because he way gay. Did you ever think that maybe some people think Kris needed the win more or that they didn’t care for Adam. Plain and simple. It really doesn’t matter because AI is a stepping stone. I watch American Idol for the simple reason I love to be introduce to new artist. I hope all of them find success in some way especially the way the music industry is.

    • Summer says:

      AWWWW I love your passion Jocelyn and this should be a safe place to vent without judgment..right?
      American Idol came out to help find singers who have real talent who didn’t have a music industry connection.. Like the girl or boy next door. It seemed to start out finding real raw talent and then helping to groom the contestants into a Star. It was fun to watch their transformation. They were always awkward with the wrong style in the beginning. By the end of the season they were ready and looked like a Star!
      Adam Lambert was so Exhilarating because he came in with a genius creative mind, but also a lot of stage experience. He just completely broke the Idol mold week after week with his astounding performances. Those were his ideas and Chameleon style.
      Where do you go from there? That’s why the following years after Adam were so depressing, that Phenomenal Exhilaration week after week was missing. The judges were uninspired and so was America. Those were the years we lost Paula and Simon.
      Adam Lambert is why the Voice and all other shows to follow came out. They all want to find another Adam Lambert for their show, including Idol. American Idol needs to put Adam Lambert in the ” Hall of Fame” and use him as an example on how to navigate the show, using your own style. He’s the elephant in the room no one wanted to compare people to, but it’s better to just give Adam his pedestal and use him as an example and give him that honor, because he truly deserves it.
      Anytime they can get Adam to help a contestant with advice, they should jump at the chance.
      Adams is to American Idol as what Vince Lombardi is to Football.
      What they did was try and change everything about what made American Idol special and it failed massively.
      They need to go back to the basics, keeping it about the contestants, never talk during an audition or PERFORMANCE, keep cameras on contestants when singing, and limit the over the top antics and rudeness. Idol is still the Best of these shows and the only one that has given us the best Superstars we have today. That’s says a lot. I don’t want this show to end! We need to find all the Amazing talent in America that would never be heard without American Idol…it’s a Brilliant concept. Just stop screwing it up producers!

  34. darcy's evil twin says:

    LOVED this episode of Reality Check. I totally agree about both episodes of Idol from last week. I am from the Kansas City area and was totally disappointed with the Kansas City episode.. But the New York episode certainly made up for the dreadfulness! And yes, Adam Lambert was wonderful.
    .
    I agree with Melinda – I absolutely loved Travis (with the leather pants). I also agree with every one of those Golden Tickets that needed to be revoked. I hate to say it but I also would have revoked Zach Kaltenbach’s golden ticket. He auditioned in Kansas City and sang “Grenade”. It was disappointing because he lives in Lee’s Summit, so he’s local, and said he went to the same high school as David Cook (Blue Springs South). But I would tear up that ticket in a heartbeat.
    .
    Melinda, your joy is just infectious. Please come to the Midwest sometime and perform. I would love to see you live.

  35. Great episode! So, is that contrived, affected accent called “Twee”? I’m so out of the loop. Whatever it is, it needs to end now.

  36. deedee says:

    Things I agree with: Hollywood’s original song was great; Maddie the “Suitcase” girl was great but somewhat overlooked; Harry’s schtick is out of control this season; JLO is annoyed by Harry’s shenanigans; Judges: pay the f*** attention when people are singing their heart out; “Show Must Go On” guy’s golden ticket needed ripping; ditto for the annoyingly pretentious “Shi”; yes to instituting “the Melinda Veto”.
    .
    Things I disagree with: Jax being inventive, exciting, original, lilting, and whatever else was said about her; Travis in leather pants (not that hot); Naja (a bit yodelly).
    .
    Good show, as always. Love it when we don’t have to share it with “The V**ce”.

  37. JVee says:

    Harry Connick Jr. is obnoxious and RUDE. I don’t care if he’s being told to do this by producers – have the cojones to say NO.

  38. Michael Slezak is to American Idol like cranberries at Thanksgiving!!!!1

  39. Blinged Up says:

    Yay! So glad that American Idol AND — just as fun — Reality Check is back! I’m enjoying both, as always.

    I wish Adam were on as a judge every week — LOVED his contributions. And I guess I’m the only one (probably not) – I think Harry is funny. I get several laughs out of him each episode. It is a reality show — but it’s also entertainment.

    I’ve already got some favorite contestants — but not enough that I remember their names yet. :) It’s going to be a great season!

  40. volcfom says:

    I’m hoping the promise from the NY episode will deliver us a North-easterner win! Log overdue.

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  42. joey says:

    If when the live shows start they introduce the singers first and the judges second, I’m done with this show..
    .

    If the camera moves from the singer to JLo six times in a ninety second performance, I’m done with this show.

  43. ian says:

    I like to go to Hollywood watch American idol but don’t know where do I start I like to sing but my voice is dammned I like you all but I’m no guts to go no person to guide.God Bless