Reality Check: Agony and Ecstasy of American Idol's Top 24! Plus: Should Voice Singers Show Their Tax Returns?

This week’s Reality Check is made of EVERYTHING — and I don’t just mean an in-depth discussion of American Idol Season 14 with a side dish of chatter about Season 8 of The Voice.

No ma’am/sir, we’ve also got color commentary from Mr. Spock, Cookie Lyon, Hermione Granger and several other pop-culture legends. (In other words, you can stop stamping your feet asking for our peerless executive producer Jason Averett to join my co-host Melinda Doolittle and me in discussing the state of reality singing competitions in 2015 — he’s back, bitches, and methinks he’s #TeamJax.)

On this week’s installment, Melinda, Jason and I praise American Idol‘s very deep field — and name the seven (or is it nine) singers who simply have to crack this week’s Top 16 performance shows.

Plus, we dish our faves from Week One of The Voice Blind Auditions — and touch on the age-old debate regarding how much prior success is too much prior success in an arena fueled by the public vote.

Press PLAY above for the full Reality Check experience, and follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for all my exclusive Idol and Voice recaps, exclusives, interviews and more!

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. Ethan says:

    Does anyone else just stop watching after they’re done talking about Idol?
    I love Michael and Melinda, but The Voice is just a bore.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Up-vote. I wish they would make two different videos for the two shows.

    • wild_child says:

      just the opposite. I skip past all the AI stuff and watch The Voice commentary.

      • Leticia Prado says:

        Which actually reinforces that everybody wants two separate videos.

        • Timmah says:

          I like having one video for both, as I watch both shows. I don’t see it as a big deal, particularly for the Idol-only fans who can simply press the stop button after that part ends. How hard is that?

    • Brenda says:

      I just did that very thing.

    • analythinker says:

      Not me. I find Idol’s Hollywood weeks very interesting, but the live shows haven’t impressed me much. We’ll see if The Voice can keep it up on the battle & knockout rounds.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      The Voice and Idol can peacefully coexist.

      • Tom22 says:

        LOL yes. “you’re with me or you’re against me” and “don’t want to hear anything nice said about someone I don’t like’ come to mind. The world is a spendid muti-colored place,,. sometimes periwinkle and shades of brown (neither gold/white or blue/black the screen itself even if in a non saturated picture the hues on the screen would be black and blue .. but the picture was saturated so the colors on the screen weren’t true.).

        Fun week on Idiology and here’s to a Periwinkle world !

      • The Beach says:

        No kidding. Sometimes it sounds like Apple and Android fanboys snipping at each other.

    • KayV says:

      I did that exact thing.. We need one full Idol video… Bump the Voice

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Many of the readers here prefer The Voice. I like both, but I don’t think I’d be viewing the post or the video if it bumped The Voice. I was bummed they didn’t do Reality Check last fall when they did it a year earlier for the Tessanne / Will / Jacqueline season.

    • Christian C says:

      No, I watch both because I love both shows. I actually prefer The Voice but American Idol is amazing! I only watch TV when one of these shows is on because they are all I ever watch and I love the commentary Michael and Melinda give for both.

    • cc says:

      Clark Beckham was the best!

    • Ginger Snap says:

      Actually, both shows are about the same. It’s just that M&M are more invested in Idol.

      Which is fine, since both of them have built careers off of Idol. But let’s don’t pretend one show is morei interesting than other. They are just singing competition shows and those have become boring regardless of who produces them. Neither one of these shows will get interesting until we get to live voting. Frankly, if Idol produces another southern white male as the winner, it will be just as boring as watching the grass grow. Might as well phone it in.

    • Terry says:

      Actually the real “bore” is this same bleeping conversation every time a new Reality Check is posted. Give it a rest. Watch if you want, don’t watch if you don’t want. No need to ask for one or the other to be ditched every bleeping time!

    • Meme says:

      Oh my gosh … really? The Voice is never a bore! That statement is shocking.

  2. I’m so excited for what idol will show us now that the game is getting much harder and their are no second chances. #TeamSarina
    #TeamLoren #TeamTyanna #TeamQuentin #TeamJax

  3. LeahKittyS says:

    OMG I literally laughed so hard in some places that I spit out the watermelon I was eating! You guys are the best. And I agree with your assessments, too. Please promise me that as long as there is American Idol, there is Reality Check.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Oh, and these is really just gut feelings, here are my predictions for the 4 guys and 4 girls going home tomorrow.
      Guys: Adam, Michael, Riley, Trevor
      Girls: Alexis, Joey, Maddie, Katherine
      (I hope it’s a slightly different story with the girls! You know what I mean?)

      • LeahKittyS says:

        That should say “these are really just gut feelings, but…”

      • Timmah says:

        I don’t think Maddie or Riley are going anywhere, because of the country vote. Also because I’ve heard rumblings from women who think Riley is cute. Personally, I don’t think he could entertain his way out of a paper bag, but we know how little that matters on this show. Also I think Joey is too memorable to be leaving so soon. The rest of them, you could be right about, though I think Trevor will squeak by as well. My prediction would be (for those going home):

        guys: Adam, Michael, Mark, Savion
        girls: Alexis, Shannon, Adanna, Shi

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Part of why I picked Maddie and Katherine is because somebody accidentally updated the American Idol Season 14 Wikipedia page with “eliminated” next to their names. There was a similar mistake with Riley and Mark Andrew. It has since been corrected. But you know Internet leaks are never accidental…

          • Timmah says:

            I wouldn’t put any stock in that. Anyone can edit a wikipedia page. Probably just some prankster.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Really? There are people who bother to prank an American Idol Wikipedia page? I’d tell them to get a life, but we’re all here, so…

        • Tom22 says:

          Riley plays guitar pretty well. If they want to keep him around they might let him play guitar more. (though I understand the ” but it’s a singing show” argument)

      • Ben says:

        I don’t think Joey is going. I will put Adanna in there instead. Otherwise, I’d be pretty happy with that girls list! I have a couple that I like (Lovey, Shannon) who I think did very poorly last week and deserve to go, but I want them to get another chance.

        I fear Adam is not going, and I would prefer Trevor not to go. I hope both Riley and Michael do. But my prediction is Riley, Michael, Savion, Mark.

      • Becca says:

        I agree with your pick of guys, but with the girls I think it will be Katherine, lovey, Shannon, and Maddie but we are very close to the same idea!

  4. Lemon says:

    There was a “Star is Born”moment, but it was for Quentin. He had the performance of the week, and blew everyone else away. Sarina-Joi, Clark, Quassim, etc…are all very good, but the week was really all about Quentin.

    • Brenda says:

      I agree. But Sarina-Joi was definitely the best of the girls.

    • Leticia Prado says:

      Super Up-Vote!

    • Temperance says:

      You can say that again (and again)! Quentin had his star-making performance (and out of the blue for me). Serina-Joy hit a MUCH deserved #2, and doing JesseJ WELL is never, ever a bad thing. That was the toughest song of the night, and she killed it. Killed it. Clark was awesome, too. There were plenty to pick from for the bottom on both sides.

    • Ben says:

      My “star-is-born” moment was Sarina Joi. But I definitely would have agreed that Quentin was a fair other option.

    • Lunakit says:

      Super duper up vote!

  5. CMB says:

    If America chose correctly, we could be looking at an awesome season! My only fear is that Trevor and Daniel will knock out one of the guys who really deserves to be there.

  6. MA says:

    You two are the best!! But no love for Sawyer Fredericks on The Voice?! Come on!

  7. Msznd says:

    Total nod in agreement! Please please please Shi and the little boy need to go.

  8. Runner says:

    LOL. I just turned off the Voice to watch this. So so much better. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath. I’m also glad your editor is back. He/she is hoot too. Thanks for the Cookie edits ;)

  9. lauren says:

    thank you for talking about both shows this week, M&M! don’t let the negative nellies above keep you down. we truly appreciate all TVline does.

    • Ethan says:

      Want to clarify from my comment above, I appreciate all that you guys do too! Just don’t care for The Voice as a show :)

  10. Kate says:

    I’m concerned about the top guys. You/we want Nick, Qaasim, Quentin, Rayvon, Clark and Savion to all go through — but there’s no way TPTB will let the top 12 be formed without AT LEAST one teenybopper WGWG. At least one of, if not two or three of Riley, Trevor and Insufferable Child, are going to advance and take the place of someone better.

    • daynamonet says:

      I like that, insufferable child, but yes he needs to go and Trevor was just a hot mess so he needs to go too. I also don’t think riley should make top 12, but you never know with that country vote. Honestly Nick, Qaasim, Quentin, Rayvon, Clark and Savion are the best guys, probably the best group of guys there’s been in a long time or ever on idol. They ALL need to make the top 12. Wouldn’t it be nice if the BEST actually made the top 12, both guys and girls, so that the BEST could actually duke it out? It would be nice. I’m hoping all my boys make it though because it would be a shame for Daniel to take Savion’s spot or Riley to know out Quentin and Trevor to overthrow Rayvon. It would just be horrible. They want ratings, they want people to watch, keep those 6 guys in and we’ll be just fine.

  11. dan says:

    I’m not even watching Idol, but I won’t miss Idolatry. Oops, Reality Check. Melinda was especially hilarious this week. But this is making me want to tune into Idol.

  12. 1. I don’t know how you didn’t mention Shannon before Lovey. I hardly thought Lovey was great, but she was a lot better than Shannon.
    2. I found it odd that you thought The Voice got on to a good start, because I’ve personally been a bit underwhelmed with it thus far.

    • daynamonet says:

      I 100% agree with you. I absolutely think Shannon was worse than Lovey. I actually quite like Lovey and although her performance wasn’t great, she has an appealing quality about her and i think she should make the top 12. Shi, Adanna, Alexis and either Katherine or Shannon should be eliminated Thursday. Shi, because well thats obvious, Adanna because she sang sharp and all over the place the 2nd half of the song, Alexis because i keep forgetting about her she’s nothing special, Katherine because she’s boring me or Shannon because she’s just not ready yet.

  13. darcy's evil twin says:

    That was awesome! I didn’t realize how much I’d missed Jason’s humor.
    I would agree – Quentin was the best of the guys and Sarina Joi was the best of the girls. I absolutely agree Lovey, Shi, Daniel, and Trevor need to go home. I had enjoyed Trevor and Lovey up until now so they were both a big disappointment.
    And I’m sorry, I know I am in the minority but I do NOT like Jax. I swear she reminds me of Marilyn Monroe singing. I’m not saying she’s not talented. I just don’t care for her style.

    • Becca says:

      I thought I was one of the only ones.Jax sounds likes a baby talk singer.

    • marie says:

      Naaah, Jax is a much better singer than Marilyn ever was. Marilyn held her own as an actress in roles where she sang a song or two, but no better than that. Jax is a singer. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I can see how Jax’s voice might be annoying to some folks.

    • marie says:

      Naaah, Jax is a much better singer than Marilyn ever was. Marilyn held her own as an actress in roles where she sang a song or two, but no better than that. Jax is a singer. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I can see how Jax’s voice might be annoying to some folks.

    • Bonnie A. says:


  14. Taylor says:

    JASON IS BACK, YASSSSSSSS. Seriously, why can’t Reality Check be a half hour show? Jason could inject his clips of awesomeness and his brilliant subtitles every week, and there’d be more time for Michael and Melinda to dig into both Idol and The Voice. We’d all be here for every minute of it. #morecheckplease

  15. lorie says:

    Enough of the J Lo video already. I don’t want to see that!

  16. I almost like these two (Slezak and Doolittle) better than the Idol show itself. I look forward to Reality Check as much as the shows. Slezak who I actually rarely agree with (Go Phillip!!!)is one of my favorite writers in the entertainment world and his onscreen personality literally makes me laugh out loud and Melinda Doolittle gives intense credibility as we have seen her do it and in most cases do it better than ALL of them. With the Voice I find the show entertaining but I don’t need or care enough about a recap especially when the live rounds begin I much prefer Idols format with the voting. I find the Voice almost cruel and many times a better person goes home in the Battle rounds whereas on Idol its more fair with an occasional hiccup (lazaro and Sanjaya and a couple others) I feel much more invested in the contestants on Idol The voice voting could be for the contestants for the judges who knows. Cant they just make Reality Check longer??? Buellor…….

    • daynamonet says:

      I agree. Reality check needs to be longer and I actually prefer it to be Idology and Reality check for The Voice. I don’t know if anyone on this board watches Afterbuzz TV, but sometimes I watch it for both Idol and The Voice (among other shows) and those shows are always at least 45 min to an hour and they talk a lot of fluff and craziness like how adorable they think that kid Daniel is and how they think he’d make it to top 2, eww. The only reason i end up watching it is because they actually do discuss every contestant, but it’s not the type of info i want to hear, I mean if they get paid for that, I could have that job. I’d much rather listen to Slezak and Doolittle talk musicality and hear their humor for an hour and have them really decipher the contestants and competition. Maybe they could at least make it 20 min, 15 for Idol and 5 min for The Voice if they must do it that way.

  17. Maxwell Haddad says:

    I like hearing what the hosts have to say, but this show would be so much better without the constant barrage of “funny” clips.

  18. DarkDefender says:

    Great choices for Idol top 8-10.. And the clips #spockforever #LLAP #Banshee
    What I think Mike and MindyDo meant about Shi.. Is that she GOKEYed It… Bad. #dreamOn

  19. Stanislava says:

    JAAASOOOOOOOOON!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Yes! I was wondering when Jason would come back. Reality Check isn’t the same without him. He’s the icing on the cake. Heck, sometimes I think he is the cake.

  20. yay! jason! cookie! spock! QUENTIN! JAX! this episode gave me evvvvvveeerrryyyyything.

  21. Buffy0531 says:

    I haven’t really understood the “Shi” love, and her performance just underlined the travesty that was the elimination of “Jelly”. Hopefully that was the last performance of hers we will have to suffer through.

    • Me. says:

      Agreed. There were so many other singers who should have been there instead of her. Please please please let this be her last week.

  22. Bonnie A. says:

    Such a great Reality Check! I was laughing so hard! And loved Spock’s comments throughout. Didn’t 100% agree with their order of who should go through. But time for Daniel, Trevor, Shi, Shannon to go home for sure. Motown tonight, correct? Looking forward to that.

  23. Marta says:

    Michael and Melinda don’t seem to, but I’m actually worried about Savion. He’s one of my favourites, but I don’t know if he has a fanbase that’s strong enough to keep him there (people in internet didn’t seem to love his performance). I really hope I’m wrong though!

  24. C says:

    Absolutely hope that Katherine survives this week’s cut. Her voice is gorgeous to listen to and I’d like to see her last long enough to get more comfortable on that stage and not look and sound so timid.

  25. Debbie Gurnack says:

    I love the both of you. you play off each other and you put a big smile on my face if not a chuckle or two or three. I am generally at work watching this, so a full belly laugh is not appropriate. :( This week on Idol, Sarina knocked it out of the park, OMG. I am hoping on the girls side, Lovey, Shi, Loren and Adanna goes home, on the boys side, Daniel and Trevor Adam and Michael. Eventho I enjoyed Trevor’s performance. He is not ready, he reminds me of a younger version of Elvis Costello. Daniel is just so inexperienced and needs more time. I understand musically he has a whole lot of talent. But he needs to mature vocally and as a young man.

    Best performances – Sarina, Quentin, Qaasim, Tyanna, Jax,Rayvon,

  26. jen mac says:

    I wonder how many other people that watch American Idol feel about professionals being allowed in the competition and where is the line drawn between professional and amateur. The show wants us to believe that they are giving unknowns a chance at super stardom bringing untapped talent to the big screen. If that were really true then why have seasoned performers? Doesn’t this give them a greater advantage over a less experienced singer. It would be naive to think that most of the singers haven’t performed before at local venues or open mic nights etc. but what about those who have gone beyond that. If you remember Carly Smithson from season 7 she had a prior record deal. Melinda Doolittle was a back up singer for Aaron Neville and this year is no different. How can “green” singers have a chance against those who have done so much more like Jax aka Jackie Cole who has been singing professionally. She was the lead singer in the band Meadowland who released a CD and whose music is still available on itunes. Is this fair to other contestants? What about lovey James she has a single titled “Rollercoaster” also available on itunes. I’ve come to the conclusion American idol is not a singing competition at all, it’s a Reality show with carefully picked cast members. What’s your opinion?

    • ara says:

      I guess I don’t care because I never knew them before. It’s not like the experience ones always win anyway.

  27. PFitzDC says:

    I love Michael and Melinda’s Reality Check check-ins, but when Jason Averett joins in with clips, hashtags and subtitles? It just takes these to another laugh-out-loud level! Welcome back, Jason! And yes: #Spockforever! (#cookietoo)

  28. Jason says:

    This is the Reality Check I love.

  29. Dede says:

    Love you. Love this show. Only wish it were longer!