Reality Check: Does Idol Want a Guy to Win (and Which Girls Could Stop Him)? Plus — We're Tired of 'I'm Tired'!

American Idol has whittled the Season 14 field down to a mere 48 contestants — and that number will be halved again by week’s end. But as the show’s producers dole out extra screen time to a select few singers, this week’s Reality Check examines whether the House Where Kelly, Carrie and ‘Tasia Pay the Mortgage should brace for The Year of the Dude.

Yeah, it’s probably too early for wild conspiracy theories, but has that ever stopped my co-host Melinda Doolittle and me? Heck no!

Also on this week’s agenda: The excuses we never again want to hear from contestants, the front-runners who stumbled a little during Group Rounds and the vocalists who were axed with an illegal lack of supporting footage. All that, plus Melinda sings a snippet of “It’s Raining Men” — and threatens to do some light stalking of Nashville contestant Clark Beckham — and I embarrass myself in new and mortifying ways.

Press PLAY for the full Reality Check experience — then hit the comments with your own opinions and theories!

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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77 Comments
  1. Is referring to American Idol as “The House Where ______” a running gag for Michael?

  2. Runner says:

    Quote of the week: “You don’t get to decide if you’re cute. We’ll decide. And tell you on Twitter or Facebook.” Good Lawd that is funny. Thank you for posting. Now, use your magical powers to make it stop snowing… ;)

  3. Sarah says:

    Man these videos are everything. Please, don’t include The Voice when it comes back on, we need 15 minutes of Idol

    • Aprilcot says:

      I just saw a commercial for the return of The Voice, and my first thought was, “Man, now Reality Check is going to have to start including it again.”

    • Lunakit says:

      I agree, Sarah!!

    • Kevin says:

      Yeah, The Voice isn’t even about the contestants – it’s about 4 big names trying to prop up their careers in music. That’s why I can’t remember a single name of a single contestant in the history of the show. None have come even close to becoming successful. I can’t stand how there is no critiquing on that show – only cheerleading. That’s the fatal flaw. They have no “judges”, just cheerleaders…errr…”coaches”.

  4. DAG says:

    Poor, geriatric Jess Lamb. They could have at least put her through to the top 48. But, you know she would have slayed it at the House of Blues and then they could never had cut her for “casting reasons.”

  5. wendie says:

    and top of the list rule, NO ASTEROID SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. The Superficial Man says:

    As someone who has watched every episode that has ever aired ( going back to season 1 in 2002 ) I have felt for years that women face an uphill battle in getting the votes needed to win the title. There have been 13 seasons of the show ( 2002 through 2014 ) not including this season and the breakdown of winners per race/gender is: Black males 1 winner ( Ruben ) white females 2 ( Kelly and Carrie ) Black females 3 ( Fantasia, Jordin, Candace ) with the remaining 7 winners all white males ( Taylor, David Cook, Kris, Lee, Scotty, Phillip and Caleb ).

    Starting with season 5 ( 2006 ) to the present 7 of the 9 winners have been white guys. I find it fascinating that the only two white females to win out of the 13 seasons Idol has been on the air are by far and away the two most successful singers to ever come out of the show ( Kelly and Carrie ). The reason I mention all of this is to show that if voting patterns of the past decade play out again the winner will be a white male.

    why is this ? One thing I have noticed while reading message board comments on different Idol -related websites ( TVLine, Entertainment weekly etc ) it seems that female contestants get attacked more from a personality standpoint than the male singers. For example- last year Dexter Roberts who came across as a “good ole boy” who was “down to earth” was a person who I read almost no negative feedback on message boards when it came to his personality .

    On the other hand Jessica Meuse is someone who on a weekly basis I read disparaging remarks about ( oh, she’s a bitch, who does she think she is ? , she never smiles, she didn’t run over and console that eliminated contestant quickly enough etc. ).

    , Another classic example of this was in 2011 when James Durbin and Haley Reinhart ( who I both rooted for that season ) were fighting to make the Top 3 and when Haley edged out James boy did I read the venom sent Haley’s way and several people pointed out ” that so-and-so Haley sent James home” when in fact, of course it was the voters .

    Now I admit I am biased somewhat because I tend to root for attractive females on the show , but no matter how attractive I think they are from a looks standpoint if they can’t actually sing well I quickly lose interest ( Haley Scarnato in 2007 anyone ?)

    I also tend to root for the female singers because they tend to be the underdogs. I have the feeling there are many times more women who may vote for a guy singer because they find him “cute” then male voters who call in and vote for women they think are “hot”.

    I have no data to back that up, of course, it is just a hunch of mine. ( Funny thing is in the first couple of season I rooted more for the guy singers because back then it seemed the odds were stacked against them- remember season 3 in 2004 when the Top 12 consisted of 8 women and 4 guys ( George huff, John Stevens, Jon Peter Lewis and the immortal Matt Rogers ?? )

    well anyway- that is just my opinion. I feel a white guy will win again this year based on results from the past several seasons. This season some of the signers I am rooting for Savion, Riley Bria, Quinton Alexander, Nick Fradiani, Jax, Hunter Larsen, Jac Mackenzie, Sarina Joi Crowe and a lady I think is a real dark horse but I love the sound of her voice, Katherine winston ( however her personality may be a bit low-key to go all the way ). Thanks for letting me vent !

    • guest says:

      Well stated, totally agree.

    • Foxfire says:

      You are so right about the female contestants being criticized unmercifully. I remember how much hatred was directed toward poor Kellie Pickler because she had the audacity to make a lot of people laugh.

    • Smokey says:

      Lot of good points there, my understanding from previous survey data noted over time, is that the majority of viewers are female and are more likely to vote for boys/men than for other girls/women. Seems there have been times when the girls are eliminated week after week in live voting, until there are only 1 or two left to compete against the top 5 or 6 guys.

  7. madeline says:

    I agree with Jess Lamb. They sent thru some questionable people and to not show us her! Ooh it made me a bit mad. In my opinion she would have needed to completely bomb that last song but I doubt she did.

  8. Troy says:

    Yeah, they definitely seem to be pimping the guys, there are some great girls, but we might be getting the same situation the voice had last season with all guys in the top 5, which I find much less exciting to watch.

    • Jaszy says:

      Man, I agree with you. That’s why I didn’t tune in for the final episodes of the Voice last season. I don’t like the boys as much as the girls. I would’ve rather had a all female finale on the Voice last season. When Sugar Joans got eliminated, I checked out.
      This season, if it’s testosterone heavy again, I’m…of course…checking out. Jess Lamb being eliminated, without any glimpse of how she did, that was SO UNFAIR.
      Female singers are better, in my opinion. Go Jax! Go Shi!

      • NotVirgin Mary says:

        The girls that season were much more lackluster than in previous seasons. Even though I think the whole season was lackluster, the guys were much better than the girls this year around.

  9. Jessamine says:

    Love me some Reality Check, but the annoying Verizon ad was making me crazy! It came on four or five times while I was watching. Does anyone know how to shut if off?

  10. Graham says:

    They seem to lean toward long runs and screamers this year. Karla Davis is known on YOUTUBE and is so good.

  11. Ginger Snap says:

    Having peaked at the top 24 this is what I have learned about this season’s producer manipulation

    Not a female over the age of 23 made it. That means bye bye to 29 year old Jess Lamb. But we have two 29 year old white males . Didn’t JLo tell us that women are hardened by the age of 26? Ladies, stick to The Voice next year.

    They are trying hard to limit the number of Southerners in the competition. We will be left with 5 this week.

    Six of the last seven winners have been white males. With Caleb being the only one who was not hawking his guitar .

    I’m looking for the Southern white male.

    That leaves us with :

    Clark Beckham
    Michael Simeon
    Riley Bria

    And our Southern girls are Simeon Joi Crowe and Tyanna Jones.

    I’m betting on Clark. Despite the producers manipulation.

    • Timmah says:

      Bit of a Freudian slip there with Sarina? :) Simeon is clearly making a mark, and I think he will probably win, even though I personally can’t stand him. Also I think Jax is a lock for the top 5 even though she’s a Northeasterner, because of the heavy Angie Miller-style pimping. Bria seems like kind of a lightweight to me, but the ladies seem to like him which is always important. Beckham will likely figure in there somehow. I don’t see Tyanna lasting long though. She’s sort of the prototypical 10th or so-place finisher. Top 5 will likely be four guys plus Jax.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Well we know that northerners can make the top 5 – see Angie, but they can’t win.

        • Timmah says:

          I agree, I don’t think there’s any chance Jax will win. But I do think she will finish very high. A girl can only win when they heavily rig the competition, as they did in Candice’ year. As the other poster said, a Southern white male is always the best bet, which I believe will be the case again this year.

          • lisa Hammerstein says:

            Candace won the x factor, not Idol. The last girl to win Idol was Jordan Sparks in 2007!

    • Kathryn says:

      She said that girls are “beaten down” by age 25.

      • Puchinsmom says:

        Y’know, I don’t think Jennifer meant that women were WASHED UP by age 25. I think she meant their attitudes and expectations had changed and maybe they were less optimistic. That was my take. And she got the words beaten down from Harry at the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t want the older contestants. Everyone is crucifying Jennifer for that one misunderstood line.
        That said, it IS possible the PTB could certainly push the judges toward the teens to reel in the younger demographic. Pity.

        • Ginger Snap says:

          However , the outcome is the same . No older females an that’s a perception from the producers trickled down to the judges.

  12. Why did you guys skip Loren Lott and her sudden rise with skyfall? In my opinion, one of the best performances this season!!! :)

  13. jane says:

    I’m looking for some originality and not just in the way they dress. Hollywood week is good for some drama and a few laughs, but I wait until the live rounds to pick a favorite. BTW, what happened to Banjo Girl? I liked her. Did she get cut?

  14. Kate says:

    I really miss 2 hour Idol. I can’t help but think some of the inexplicable cuts would make more sense if there was more time in the show to show those performances. With only an hour, they’re going to show the drama queens (ahem Alexis) over Jess Lamb. She may have had a sublime performance and it may be totally unjustified for her to go. Or maybe she was flat, or boring, or forgot her lyrics. But we just don’t know.

    I feel bad for saying it, but is anyone else getting a going-to-be-annoying vibe from Jax? I can’t put my finger on it. It’s like, I like her just fine now, but I can tell she’s going to start bugging me if I see any more of her. Maybe there’s a certain affectation about her? Or maybe I’m just an a-hole? (LIKELY)

    • Meme says:

      Don’t know about Jax yet … BUT I hate watching 7 minutes of Idol followed by a 4-minute commercial and again every 7 minutes followed by a 4-minute commercial. The hour show gets shortened way too much for enjoyment.

  15. lorie says:

    When I’m watching these videos I check about three or four times to see how much of the video remains. I don’t want them to end!

  16. Scott says:

    Clark. Hmmm. He does need more than just growly or he’ll be this year’s version of Siobhan Magnus — who could hit a high note very nicely, but when she did it every week it got really tiresome.

  17. Tom22 says:

    Great Reality check again (props again to your editor too. He does it so smoothly and keeps the pace going in a way that doesn’t hit one over the head and also adds lots of content in terms of well selected clips.
    .
    Jokes: I enjoyed a good laugh with the “pull the fire alarm” to get a married man to show up because you thought he’s cute and the joke Melinda made about stalking the cute singer around Tennessee but I hope you understand that these are in the same league as a young contestant inviting JLO up to his room for some Merlot ! So far away from reality that I certainly knew he and the kids asking for phone numbers were making funny-because-they’re provocative jokes just like you guys mulling criminal acts.
    .
    Props to both of you for your various ways of recognizing that this is a TV show and that there are skills, trained efforts and god given talents related to appearing well on camera and with a mic up to your face on TV just as the same three factors relate to singing. They’re looking for stars and singing is part and being on stage is part. I hope the finalists are exceptional at both.
    .
    Props to Melinda especially for the comments like “if your tired now once you’re on the show you’re really going to know what tired is”, And adding something like, “then once you’re in your life after the show it doesn’t get any better as a singer’ (comments something like those). One of idol’s strengths in creating stars is teaching the kids how to appear at publicity events and shoot commercials on sets, at the same time as preparing for shows in high pressure environments with personalities like the band directors and others who know their personal reputations are also tied to quality of performances and likely have some of their own strong opinions which a young person needs to learn how to self-advocate and present a clear well thought alternative to get their way. All vital skills to continued success

  18. Scott says:

    Another rule has to be: Don’t have a doctor come out on stage to describe the horrible state of your throat and/or vocal cords!

  19. Timmah says:

    I miss the cutaways. Are they gone for good?

  20. Michael Black says:

    I just wanted to say that I love reality check. In a lot of instances I find it much more entertaining than Idol itself. Keep up the good work and please make the episodes longer.

  21. greg says:


    ^^how all about the bass should be covered

  22. bobbi6484 says:

    The two of you make Idol SO much more enjoyable! Thank you for your commentary. Don’t think I could watch the show without it anymore.

  23. Annabelle says:

    Why is no one discussing the fact that Katherine skinner is literally the most annoying person that has ever been on television.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I will discuss it, Annabelle. Agreed! She is incredibly annoying and I was a bit surprised she survived group rounds.

      • Puchinsmom says:

        Who’s Katherine Skinner? I’m not great with all the names. I can remember faces and songs. (IF I’m familiar with the song).

  24. ck says:

    Best part of Idol – you two.

  25. trimaran12 says:

    Love the show as always, even if I don’t completely agree. Melinda, I love hearing your insights about vocals and the backstage logistics of the show. Plus, you are smart and funny and everything that is right with the world. But I just can’t believe you’re caping for Clark. He’s like Kris Allen and Matt Giraud had a baby, all over-rehearsed earnestness and put-on soul. He really, really needs to do something more current that hasn’t already been done a million times here and elsewhere.

  26. Jaszy says:

    Jessica Lamb was robbed…like…MAJORLY!
    Those judges missed out on Top 3 material right in that girl.
    She was amazing!
    Best of luck to her in the future. Maybe she should go on the Voice. There’s no limits there on age.

  27. kelly says:

    Is it just me, or does Clark remind anyone else of a cross between Matt Giraud and Phillip Phillips? I like both, so that’s a good thing to me! :)

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    As usual I enjoyed your comments, Mr. Slezak and Melinda.
    Melinda I’m right there with you on Clark Beckham and Nick Fratinani (sp?).
    But I just do not care for Jax. Oh well.
    Looking forward to tonight’s broadcast.

  29. XD says:

    I seriously hope to God that the little 15-year-old doesn’t last long. He has basically no tone and he can’t play guitar either.

  30. Arlene says:

    American idol judges should have sent the 16
    y/o home. Not the girl in the green. bad choice

  31. Keith says:

    The Slezak / Doolittle chemsitry is beyond amazing…keep up the great Idol videos

  32. Dawn says:

    The guys are all great singers this year!

  33. Jay says:

    Ugh…why why FU**ING WHY is everyone so fixated on which gender will win Idol?!?!? Why can the deciding factor not be on the voice instead? Why does it matter if the winner has a dick or a hatch? I honestly don’t care about that but people are just sooo into a female winner because there have only been 4/13. So what? What matters is that they have success in their post-idol career, and gender’s got nothing to do with that…it’s your voice and your personality that will take you there…so can we please just stop with this gender nonsense.

  34. lisa Hammerstein says:

    I don’t mind the excuses, it’s the reality of the contest that we get to see. What is most disappointing to me is that a girl has little chance of winning despite talent. It must be mostly girls voting and they vote for the guys. It really is not a fair contest regarding talent.