Reality Check: Debate Erupts Over American Idol's Week 3 Auditions! Plus — Advice for Randy's Replacement

It’s not exactly Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey 2.0, but Week 3 of American Idol‘s Season 14 auditions generates a whole lotta discord on this week’s Reality Check.

While my co-host Melinda Doolittle and I agree that the soulful Jelly Joseph was a standout in New Orleans, our paths diverge rather sharply after that. She compares one of my faves to a popular Muppets character, while I’m still wondering how one of her top picks made it past Round 1.

Before it’s all done, one of us winds up in the Naughty Corner, a few lines of “Bootylicious” get sung, and visions of a violent boxing-ring melee are conjured up.

If that’s not enough for you, Melinda and I weigh in with our hopes for incoming Season 14 mentor Scott Borchetta — get more scoop on him here — and how he can improve on the performance of his predecessor Randy Jackson.

So, press PLAY above for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the week in Idol!

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:

    So, as I do every January, I recently finished rewatching all the previous episodes of these shows. From the 3-part Idoloonies where Michael talked to random people about how awful this Haley Reinhart girl was, all the way through last season, and even some old clips from the EW offices in the old days (Ghoulish Widower, anyone?). Rewatching last year’s shows was especially helpful, since I could otherwise not have recalled anyone from that season other than the final three.

    A few things I’m keeping in mind now. First, last season started really strong, and M&M were hopeful it would be a great season. Then the producers/judges got involved. So I’m not going to champion or dread this coming season until we get down to the voting rounds, and until we can actually see the top 12. Because it doesn’t matter how strong the talent base is right now; they can put through 12 phenoms or 12 generic, WGWGs who fold until the spotlight like Beyonce’s fake baby belly.

    Also, even on Harry’s most attention-whorish week, this really is the best trio of judges we’ve had in years. Jason Averett’s Wicked Witch clips notwithstanding, and ignoring what she did to Haley, I still believe she is a thoughtful judge with something useful to say about stage presence and performance.

    Finally, I need to calm the frak down about my beloved Idology sharing time with the Voice. Season 11/12 Idology eps were about 10 minutes; Reality Check last year ran about 14 minutes, and 10 of that was Idol. So basically, shut up me. I just always want more.

    I will never give up on Idol as long as I have Ryan Seacrest running the show on TV and Michael Slezak running it here. And that is the end of my novella. Seacrest out.

    • Smokey says:

      As the Judges personal preferences get combined with the Rating ploys of the Producers, they could easily cast some good talent aside — especially when they have to create an equal “boy pool/girl pool” plus other diversities of genre types, personalities. etc. So when we get the “cast” they are putting together live voting, we might not always see the best talent, but will have to choose from what is presented……………last 2 season winners I don’t hear much about, but P squared I see is suing Idol over contract stipulations.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Kate, that was an interesting post. Like Mr. Slezak I wasn’t crazy about Haley Reinhart, but after she sang “Blue” I thought, “Okay, maybe I like this girl”. And then every week I liked her more and more. By the time she got to Bennie and the Jets and my all time favorite, Zeppelin’s “What is and What Should Never Be”, I was hooked. That made it a fun season for me – it’s like watching a movie with an interesting, surprise plot twist.
      I agree with you about the judges and your comment about not getting excited until the voting rounds. Every year I get so excited about someone during the tryouts, or Hollywood week, and then they get the boot! There are some folks I’m looking forward to seeing again but I’m trying not to get too attached.

    • deedee says:

      I agree with everything you said, Kate. Plus, you bring up the mystery of why Seacrest abandoned his signature, “Seacrest out” phrase. Why did he? Everybody in that sort of Kasey Kassem position needs a signature catch phrase. I need to know what deliberation process occurred in Ryan’s brain to lead him to the conclusion that “Seacrest out” needed to be relegated to the annals of TV broadcasting history (and to the slag heap of Jeopardy questions).

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  4. christopher bee says:

    I´m with Melinda on every singer, sorry Michael.

  5. SL says:

    Great episode, as always. Melinda was especially hilarious this week (and on point!). Thanks for the show, you two!

  6. Melinda’s face when Michael is describing Mikie is priceless!!

    • Syb says:

      Seriously if Idol ran Melinda and Michael as an after show the ratings would improve. Smart funny controversial. All areas where the producers of Idol swing and miss. And m&m hit it over the fence in an authentic way that Idol has lost after years of trying too hard. The material that is gold is the contestants. Michael and Melinda get it

  7. I shouted “Amen Sister” when Melinda commented on Harry’s Dis “if you don’t talk with a country accent don’t sing with a country accent” I was like Hello isn’t that Keith (Aussie) Urban sitting at that table?

    • Temperance says:

      I had trouble with the whole ‘fake country accent when singing”. It’s ALL a fake country accent when singing. Most of the country folks out there add all kinds of fake add-ons when they sing, and most have a different accent than their ‘common, expected generic country lingo’ when they sing.

  8. Runner says:

    Oh, I agree with Melinda on all of her observations, except for Shouty McShouterson [girl]. She tortured the song and my ears. I do agree that with proper guidance she could transcend her current awfulness, but past seasons have shown that Idol has no one who actually “coaches” on their staff. With any luck, she’ll be cut sometime soon.

    Anyway, I LOVE waking up and there’s a new video, btw. Perfect way to start the day. Y’all rock. Thank you.

    • Me. says:

      Thank you – I hate the shouting. I get so sick of people shouting at me and not singing to me. UGH. I don’t think she’ll last

    • deedee says:

      Shouty McShouterson opens her mouth MUCH too big when she sings. It really takes away from the enjoyment for me. Reminds me of Edie Brikell (the New Bohemians), who also unhinges her jaws like an anaconda.

  9. Mary says:

    Micheal, Micheal, sorry but you are not being real. Every the optimist. I have a strong feeling we are not going to like Scott mentoring. I have a strange feeling it will be a lot of young ones who really cannot sing but he could mold into a something, aka Taylor Swift. For some reason I do not see a good fit here with him, time will tell. Nobody really stood out last week for me but as usual great recap.

  10. Tom22 says:

    Great fun episode (as usual) .. thanks .!

  11. lorie says:

    I don’t see what is so bad about singing with an accent even though you don’t speak with one. The guy sang pretty well and really likes country music. You can’t sing country without an accent, can you? Or maybe he could change his accent so he can sing with one.

    Also, instead of saying a “schizophrenic” voice I think that a “personality disorder” voice would be more accurate.

    • Tom22 says:

      I think it is a matter of degree. I think maybe they were syaing he came of as impersonating a little like how they criticized that “she” girl for impersonating Amy Winehouse. I’m sure they’d forgive some twang but to be fair they went beyond Harry’s sweeping statement and called out some extreme specifics. As MS pointed out Keith throws in some twang in his songs but, in my opinion the key element is that they sound natural and very heartfelt (I think in a very big part because Keith writes so much of the lyrics himself)

      • Temperance says:

        Nearly all country singers are ‘fake’ by that measure. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like country; I prefer people that try and be unique and original, not uniform and fake.

  12. Timmah says:

    I agree with Melinda on pretty much everything, including Erica being the best this week. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t underestimate Kermit the Frog. It is Sesame Street’s most popular character after all.

  13. shawnuel says:

    Oh, great. Scott Borchetta, the man who has single handedly ruined country radio. I’d imagine everything is going to end up sounding like Florida Georgia Line or Nickleback under his tutelage.

  14. donna says:

    i really love melinda’s professional input as a singer and the dialogue between you two (melinda and slezak). watched a couple of idolatry season 8 episodes (following adam’s guest appearance last week) and was reminded that idolatry was critical of adam until late in the game and cruel to danny gokey until the last minute, was a great season (thx to adam and allison) but the cruelty was too much for me…i wonder what melinda would have said back then,,,ai today is a bit boring, i certainly coulsnt care less about the show and watch ony reality check once in a while. in short, i love your collaboration!

  15. Viv says:

    When Harry said the thing about the accent I was like “Wait a minute…”. But the thing about this “twang” Keith does is: it still sounds like him. Maybe that is because his voice is recognizable enough, I don´t know. It just doesn´t throw me off or anything. The guy with the “fake accent” threw me off.

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  17. deedee says:

    Hey, Melinda, just want you to know that the moment I heard Mikey sing on the show, I said – and I quote: “he sounds a little froggy”.

    Just needed to mention that. Great Reality Check, as usual!