Reality Check: Idol's 'Perfect Audition' Dissected! Plus: 'Personality Vs. Vocals' — and Melinda's Minaj Moment!

The final week of American Idol‘s Season 14 audition tour helped redefine “flawless” in the post-Beyoncé era, posed the question “how young is too young?” in The House Where Scotty McCreery and Jordin Sparks Grew Up and threw in a crazy cat lady for good measure.

As you’ll see on this week’s installment of Reality Check, it also formed an unlikely connection between my co-host, Idol‘s Season 6 standout Melinda Doolittle, and the dulcet sounds of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda.”

Other discussion points: Does Idol‘s decision to hold back on the deliciousness of Ryan Pinkston and Tara Honda mean these talented singers aren’t long for the show? How much should personality count when it comes to the competition? And what’s one of the most outlandish things a contestant can say to me once he or she has been voted off and stops by TVLine HQ for an exit interview?

Press PLAY for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the final week of Season 14 tryouts — and your hopes for Hollywood Week!

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. Esther says:


  2. I can’t wait for tomorrow!!! I hope that powerhouses like Loren Lott and Clark Beckham show the judges who they really are!!! :)

  3. Lloyd says:

    Finally. I was afraid there’d be no Reality Check this week. :)

  4. Sam17 says:

    Could that be the same Ryan Pinkston in American Idol Season 8 in a group called Action Squad? Youtube it.

    • Timmah says:

      At this point, it’s pretty safe to assume that if you think you’ve seen them before on Idol, you probably have. Heck, half of them seem to have released music videos already. I miss the days when they had fresh faces on this show.

      • Ben says:

        The problem isn’t any change in idol. It’s the world that changed. If the ‘fresh faces’ they used to discover ten years ago were around now, they would have already posted their vids to youtube.

  5. Lunakit says:

    Yippeee!! I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I hit refresh on this site in the past 24 hours to see if Reality Check was posted yet… :-)

  6. Ben says:

    Each to their own, and I’ve mostly agreed with Michael this season. But Rayvon put me to sleep. No doubting his voice was good, but I wouldn’t vote for him (yet).

  7. Jase says:

    No way I’m watching Idol this season over Survivor (last season was just THE WORST) but I will continue to watch Reality Check. That’s how entertaining Slezak and Dolittle are.

  8. Kate says:

    Michael, your use of — and then immediate confusion over — “the wheat and the chaff” is one of my favorite recurring features. Right up there with your discomfort over using French words.

  9. Kate says:

    I’m not psychic but I have a crystal-clear vision of me throwing the remote control at the wall in 2 weeks when Baby Daniel makes the top 24 and begins his stumbling journey down the Sam Woolf Memorial Parkway of Bland, Nervous White Boys. See ya in the top 6, Baby D!

    • You actually have great ESP! The new Sam Wolf is top 24.

      • Jill Moy says:


        I don’t see any thing remotely close to Sam in this kid! The kid looks 10 where Sam looked his age. This kid could never be a ladies man…maybe for 6th grade girls. Plus, Sam did perform well a few times where this kid is…..ahh! Anyway, this kid is taking up space that a better singer could occupy. Oh well, that’s life. But he has no chance. To me, he had a weird voice and should not have made it to Cali! Top 24 is ridiculous! What do you expect from Judges who were in love with Briston Maroney last year; a singer who would get thrown out of karaoke, he’s so bad! Take a liston for yourselves! I’d rather listen to a bassett hound howling!

        • Jill Moy says:

          Meant listen, not liston!

        • Did you already look at top 24 on msj blog or whatever it is. That is how I ACCIDENTLY found out the top 24! That was the first week idol aired and I was not ready to see a spoiler that early. I was kinda mad!

        • Well Jill, what I meant about the “Sam Wolf” thing with Daniel is he will be the new “Sam” because he is young and cute the judges will try to throw him out there in the pit of young girls. In otherwords , I think thats what the judges have in mind! He does look awfully young. He could pass for 10 years old! LOL But he has a little more personality and spunk than Sam did.

        • Also I think we are getting ripped off this year. Did you notice all of the Hollywood weeks are only one hour shows? There used to be some 2 hour long Hollywood week shows!

      • deedee says:

        Again you’re posting spoilers. Why do this? Not everybody wants to know.

        • We have all seen him in the sneek peek performance already! Its no longer a question.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          If there’s an issue with someone blatantly posting unlabeled spoilers in comments, please drop us a note at the CONTACT US link below, and we’ll investigate/take action as warranted. The posting habits of the one or the few should not disrupt the enjoyment of the many. Thank you!

    • deedee says:

      I just realized who Daniel reminds me of: Elijah Wood (as a child).

  10. LeahKittyS says:

    I’m glad we got two episodes of San Francisco. Nashville and New York were the best for me, but this was a close third. I can’t wait to see how everyone does in Hollywood. And I agree with your intuition: the fact that we don’t see good singers for very long is a sign that they won’t survive Hollywood Week.

  11. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well Mr. Slezak you were right on the money about Tara Honda!
    Good recap!
    Melinda, don’t ever leave – I enjoy you SO much!

    • Considering I looked at this after seeing the first night of Hollywood Week, I was cackling at Slezak’s spot on Tara Honda call. Though, I must admit, I wasn’t that impressed with her. She has a good voice, I just didn’t find her to be very compelling.

  12. cindy says:

    Last year was the first season I didn’t watch Idol hated all the finalists. So far this year I am unimpressed. How can 3 big stars like the judges pick such no talents Hope I’m not disappointed again

  13. Where is this week’s Reality Check (week 5)???