Reality Check: Is There Room for Three Black Guys in Idol's Top 12? And Why Are the Judges Harder on Women?

If American Idol‘s Top 16 Week were a restaurant, it might’ve been worthy of a Michelin star — had it not been for the “Wait! What?” elimination of Savion Wright.

The Texas troubadour’s ouster, though, raised a tough question about Season 14: How many super-talented black guys will voters accept in the Top 12?

And that’s not the only hot-button issue on the docket for this week’s Reality Check. My co-host Melinda Doolittle and I also wonder why female contestants like Sarina-Joi Crowe frequently find themselves on the receiving end of nitpick-y criticism, while male singers often get free passes on pitch, enunciation and song arrangement.

If that’s not enough, Melinda and I debate whether critiques should be/are directed at the contestants — or if they’re merely another tool to direct voters to the “right” singers. And yes, we delve into Week 2 of The Voice‘s eighth season by expressing our love of Kimberly Nichole, Corey Kent White and the coach with all the beads and hats and philosophical goodness.

Press PLAY for the full conversation, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. m3rcnate says:

    Who cares, American Idol is burned out, barely makes any stars if any, the singers have said they hate the contracts they get and are trying to get out of them legally (…this show once had social impact and was entertaining…like 19 years ago lol.

  2. Puchinsmom says:

    Stepped on a tack… I’m still laughing! And I agree with everything. Except I like Joey, and they never discuss her much. Except to comment on her nerves. Which she will have to rein in eventually. I do like her voice though. Thanks for a great Reality Check guys.

    • RT says:

      I agree ..Joey is fantastic, she’s a excellentsinger, excellent performer, and very creative and unique. And she has a shot at winning so there’s at least 9 chances of winning . Four girls at least possibly 5…im voting maximum times all methods. as all Joey fans should to make sure she goes far .

      • Markopolis says:

        Totally agree that Joey is getting shorted by Michael and Melinda. She’s completely original and pulled off a jazzy Motown take without sounding affected, which was Jax’s problem this week. Her give-and-take with Ricky Minor was as professional and delightful as it gets, and she sings on key. In fact, the contestants I most expect to surprise me (in a food way) each week are Quentin, Joey and Jax, with Sarina coming on strong. Others are good, but these are the most uniquely talented.

  3. Leticia Prado says:

    Well, hon, we all know life is harder on women, so…

  4. Runner says:

    Considering 7 of the 9 African-American/ethnically-diverse contestants remained in the competition, it seems America had *no issue* voting for non-white contestants. I appreciate your viewpoint, but making Savion’s ouster a racial issue ignores the very obvious numbers to the contrary. To me, this is an instance of twisting the facts to make one’s own argument. From my perspective, Savion did not sing his best that night – yes, he sang well previously – but on the night that it mattered most, he did not. He picked the wrong song, he was forgettable, and the competition was steep. Them’s the breaks. Honestly, Michael I expect you to have blinders on when it comes to your favorites, but Melinda usually balances out your blind allegiance out with reason. I guess not today.

    • Amy says:

      I totally agree (said so in my comment that didn’t post), for the same reasons. I so don’t see “America” calculating the number of blk to whts on Idol, especially given the amount of black people voted in! And it gets tedious when the comments turn into that “debate” here rather than about what everyone really watches for..the entertainment and the music!

      (don’t want to rewrite my other post, hope the admins can find it? This site has issues with that sometimes.)

    • Mary says:

      I think their remarks were in regards that Daniel got through. Yes Savion didn’t do very well but he still was better than Daniel, who I am sorry cannot sing. Obviously American does not pick only on voice. I think do think they have a point, if the judges are going to critique the girls so harshly, which personally I like, they have to also critique the guys just as harshly and yes at this stage of the game the judges do influence the voting. Daniel should not have even made it this far in my opinion but I guess this is a TV show first.

      • Syb says:

        Putting the color issue aside though, at this stage there are always better contestants who get bested in votes by contestants who don’t even deserve to be in the voting rounds. I think that has gotten better with limited voting, but it is going to happen. I have always felt that it is better in the early rounds to fall flat on your face than to be forgettable. I came in to the season with Savion my personal frontrunner but since then I cant even remember what he has sung and that may have been his problem with the voters. I would rather have seen Savion this week than another potential dose of Daniel or Adam, but my distaste for their singing aside, i remember them distinctly and I think I know why some vote for them.

    • Ben says:

      Sorry Runner. I don’t think you could be more wrong. Of course America doesn’t have any issue voting for non-white contestants, but I guarantee you that it only works up to a certain saturation point. See season 3 for evidence. Until we get something like an all black final four, I think the evidence is very much that not every black singer can get through.

      And that’s where the rubber hits the road – for although you have analysed Savion correctly, and though he was the weakest of the African American boys, he was still NOT weaker than Daniel or Mark, but was still an inevitable elimination.

      • kcostell says:

        …and last year CJ wasn’t weaker than any of the contestants he outlasted?

        • Ben says:

          How many black guys were in the top 12 last season? One.

          You are arguing on the same side of my argument. CJ went deep… as I believe Savion would have if he was the ONLY african american this season. The thing was, he wasn’t… and Quentin, Qaasim and Rayvon were all better.

          I don’t think AI has some inherent race problem. But like it or not, when you have several contestants who are effectively competing for the votes of the same demographic, some of them are going home. Daniel has no natural predators. Savion did.

          • Puchinsmom says:

            Ben, I just choked on my coffee… natural predators! That’s funny. But I wonder if Riley and Trevor weren’t competing for the teen vote with Daniel? Just that Daniel was really getting a BIG push from the judges.

          • Ben says:

            Well possibly Trevor and Riley were, but Daniel was probably best of the three, as far as that is from being high praise.

          • Ben High praise and 2 states representing his vote. Portland and Vancouver Wa are just 5 minutes apart separated by one bridge and now that Lovey James (also from Portland) is out he will also prob get her votes now. I see it on the local news, his huge voting parties at different locations in Washington and Oregon! No, Im not a fan of Daniels Just telling you guys whats goin on in his hometown state and neighboring state. The local news even says,”Dont forget to vote for Daniel tonight”. Hopefully the best talent will prevail through the weeks to come. Also, the local news never ever hardly even spoke of Lovey James. Its been all Daniel, Daniel Daniel!

    • Runner, I thought that Rayvon was better than Savion, and the 2 Q’S for sure were great, so I kind off figured that Savion would go home! It made sense because we all new Daniel would make it (because of the judges making him popular), and of course Clark and Nick! Not much room left for Savion. Very surprised by Adam and Mark though! I did not think they would make it! Hey why do Michael and Melinda only call Nick Grandpa? Pretty sure Mark is the same age as Nick!

      • Heres what it looks like for me. The three African American guys are soooo good. One is full of stage presence and charisma, one pulls at our heart strings, and one has Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix combined appeal. This makes Nick, and Clark boring to me. They had better UP THEIR GAME. They just dont stand out like the 2 Q’s and Rayvon! I dont care if they are green guys or purple guys. Those are the ones I wait to see perform. Why would I vote for Nick or Clark when I already voted for someone better than them already on another season. Phil Phillips and David Cook! Nick and Clark are not as good as Phil and David!

      • Whitney says:

        They call Nick “grandpa” as a knock to the judges who comment on his age EVERY week. They never once remarked on Mark being “twice as old as some of the other contestants,” but Nick hears it EVERY time he steps onto the stage. And it’s obnoxious because he’s not even old.

    • daynamonet says:

      Oh goodness. “The Race Issue.” Ok here’s my thoughts. I do feel as though, and I’m speaking as someone that is black, that we do have to try harder on these shows to be able to last longer, but I also feel if you’re a WOMAN you have to try even harder to stick around. Look I’m not an advocate to have all the black people from the top 24 in the top 12, but based on talent alone Savion should’ve been there along with Qaasim, Quentin, Rayvon, Sarina and Tyanna, maybe even Adanna at this point. I did not care for Shi, Loren still kind of irks me, and top 24 week I thought Adanna should go home. I think the real reason CJ lasted so long last season was because he was a black country guy, not just because he was black, it was just different. Look Nick could coast through and sail through this competition and potentially win, kind of like P2 did, but he won’t have to work as hard as Rayvon, Quentin or especially Sarina. We just always have to work harder, it’s just the truth. What did Poppa Pope say to Olivia on Scandal, you have to be twice as good. And honestly there hasn’t been a black male R&B singer that’s one since Rueben and that was over 10 years ago, I think it’s time. I personally don’t root for people just because they’re black, I root for people who I think are good like last season it was Caleb and Jena. I liked Malaya and Majesty but they weren’t stepping up to the plate. There weren’t any black women in season 11 and I think talent wise that was one of the best seasons on idol. I just feel like we should vote for the best. Adam, mark and Daniel simply are not the best out of the guys and look how lackluster Daniel and Mark’s performances were on top 24, and that still beat out Savion, but obviously all the black people are getting vote splitting I’m sure, i mean i’m guilty of it, but it is what it is. Hopefully the right people, based on talent, will make the top 12. It just so happens there’s a lot of talented black people this season. And season 12 had really talented women. Sometimes the cookie just crumbles that way.

  5. sg54 says:

    I can’t decide how I feel about putting Clark 5th for the week. I guess performance wise he was, but in terms of this competition I hope he’s ahead of some of the other guys mentioned. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind Clark being the dark horse of this season, cuz he’s got the voice and the creativity to accomplish greatness!
    Also, as creative as Jax is, I think that at this point Sarina and Tyanna are ahead of her.
    Also: didn’t even notice how much black talent there was this year! Wow: Tyanna, Sarina, Adanna, Loren, Savion, Qaasim, Quentin, Rayvon-the list goes on and on!

    • Lemon says:

      Clark is probably going to win. And don’t be surprised if we end up with an all male top 3. The women this year are uninspiring, and we have some incredible guys.

    • Craig says:

      Clark is certainly not a dark horse. The show has been pimping him like crazy and putting him out as a front-runner since the beginning of the season.

  6. BrittBrat says:

    I didn’t like that they didn’t give Daniel any criticism. To me, he is one of the worst singers on the show and he needs a lot of help. My ears need help too. I think he needed more time to work on his vocals, go through puberty, and come back in a few years.

    • Craig says:

      The show always has to push someone awful just to outrage people. Daniel is just this year’s Lazaro, Sanjaya or Chicken Little.

    • daynamonet says:

      honestly they need to or we won’t learn anything. Maybe they’re crtitiqing him in those mentoring sessions they’re having that we can’t see, but the judges really need to be honest with themselves. Don’t say Sarina was flat the entire song, which she wasn’t, and not say ANYTHING about Daniel’s pitch or any of the guys’ pitch for that matter.

      • Adam too, had some problems with his singing and Harry just told him what a great singer he was! So they are ignoring flaws of Adam and Daniel. They told Adam he was just great! Now Mark did ok, I guess. We have to see who goes home tonight! Scary!

  7. Kate says:

    Of course they’re not critiquing Daniel. They can’t risk him not making the top 12 (and I suppose it’s better if he gets there through votes instead of the judges choosing him as their one wildcard — they’re not good enough liars to pretend that’s a good idea). And the boy WILL be in the top 12. Blergh.
    I love M&M’s optimism about having 8 top 12ers worthy of winning, but I just can’t believe that yet. First we need to make sure the right people actually make the top 12, but then, give them a few weeks of live shows to see what they’re truly made of. We were optimistic last season too, but then Majesty/Sam/CJ/Dexter etc. started crashing and burning, week after week.

    • CK says:

      Omg….remember when we all thought that Majesty was going to be top 3/win? And then someone told her to sing songs that she just wasn’t close to vocally and it came crashing down horribly. I feel like someone should make an American Idol warning video about how song choice can just destroy you.

      • Ben says:

        Poor Majesty. Appalling ‘mentoring’, followed by her getting increasingly frightened of criticism every week.

        But yet, Tightrope remains on my regular playlist. If she’d stayed in that zone, she might have been really good.

        • Me. says:

          I have Majesty’s Wake Me Up on my playlist. And it’s funny, on our stop of the AI tour she was front and center. She was amazing. I really thought she should have gone much further. But poor song choice killed her. Hope my top runners make really smart choices from here on out.

    • daynamonet says:

      I think Rayvon, Quentin, Clark, Nick, JAX, and of course my favorite Sarina all have a chance to win. I love Tyanna, but I’m not quite sure she’d get that #1 spot. At best I think 3rd, but I’d like to be wrong. I like Qaasim, but entertainer or not, you’re not going to win a singing competition without singing, although I would like for him to stay as long as possible becuase he’s just fun to watch.

  8. Amy says:

    In 14 years of Idol, this is the first time I get to say…we have a hometown guy in Nick! AND …the hometown guy also is really good! (Would love to see a Top 3 hometown visit but I’m way ahead of myself there!)
    The competition is the fiercest in terms of the most contestants that could possibly win that I ever recall on Idol. Even S7 where I really liked all the top 8, the 2 Davids were frontrunners more so than the others for much of the season. This is the first year I ever recall several that could win it. But of course I’d love to see Nick go far or all the way. Another year, he’d have been THE wgwg. Ironically, this year, the “showmen” may overshadow the guy who’s just so good, and “normal”, he makes it look too simple. And there’s Daughtry comparisons, so maybe to some he’s not outstanding enough. But I think his voice is sublime, and spot on more than any of the others so far…and I’m interested to see what else he might show. He was on AGT too with his band last year, have no clue how far they went but the one Youtube I saw of the audition with an original tune, all 4 judges raved about them. I too could NOT understand Keith’s bs about the guitar. Nick looked perfectly comfortable playing and moving with the guitar, to me.
    I loved Clark early on, last week I don’t think was his best, but he’s definitely I think got a fan base growing. The ones that love his flash probably find the likes of Nick too basic.
    I did like Rayvon as well, right from the beginning…but I too would like to see another side now.
    I wish Savion had gotten through vs. a few that did; I was rooting for him too. But I have to disagree (and I hate when these boards become a blk/wht issue)…I don’t believe America votes based on how many blk guys are in it. I know many feel that here, I just really don’t. People are into this show for the music, the performers they like…I don’t think it’s a “calculated” thing.
    As for the girls, only Sarina Joie has my interest. I usually have a good musical ear…I was stunned when Harry said she was flat the whole song??? I didn’t hear it. Maybe I don’t have that good of an ear after all. I do like Tyanna too…she is a joy to watch and she did well. I wish Katherine had been given the chance to do more…I went back and listened to her other performances…she had one of the best, most agile and perfectly in tune voices of any that made it through.

    All that said…GO NICK! :)

    • Lunakit says:

      Nick gives me a Matthew McConaughey vibe.

    • Puchinsmom says:

      I don’t think they really thought the voting was a calculated race thing. I’m thinking it’s more like vote splitting. Like if there are 2 country guys, then some like one and some like the other. People don’t usually vote for both. With singing types, I feel Rayvon and Savion are SORT of alike in that they are the “smooth” singers. That’s how I see it may have gone down.I suspect not everyone would agree.
      That said, you’d think there might be vote splitting between the 2 “entertainers”,otherwise known as the two Qs. But so far they are both doing ok. Maybe because they are really that entertaining. WHO KNOWS. I’m not really making sense.
      One thing I do know. The judges did no favors for Daniel when they put him through to the top 24. He would have done much better in a few years. Now he can’t come back, and sooner or later, ( pray to heaven it is sooner!), he will be gone. (Oh happy day!). I also wish I liked Rayvon more. I KNOW he’s got a super good voice, but he just doesn’t engage my interest. Go Quentin, Nick, Tyanna , Sarina and Joey. And Jax, if she leaves her hair alone…!

      • The 2 Q’s! My favorites. One is a crazy good performer and the other is sexy and demure! Should be interesting to see what happens. As for the wild card coming up, if Daniel gets voted off YOU GUYS KNOW THAT THOSE JUDGES WILL BRING HIM BACK WITH IT! Ok, I get that they think he is a cute sweet little boy, but this is a singing competition.

        • daynamonet says:

          IDK, i’m not so positive they’ll give Daniel the Wild Card. I mean if America votes him through he gets through, but I don’t feel they’d waste a spot with Daniel. Plus I feel if Daniel DOES make the top 12, that means one of my favs the Q’s or Rayvon, i won’t say Clark or Nick cause I think they’re getting the votes, will be picked as a wild card, but if everything goes accordingly, 2 Q’s, Rayvon, Clark and Nick will all get VOTED in by america and really between adam, mark and daniel I really don’t care who makes it as long as they’re gone by top 10.

          • I agree with everything you just said, but Im almost sure we wont have to worry about 2 Q’s and Rayvon! I dont think they will be voted off. They are to dang good!

  9. Amy says:

    ps. Glad Reality Check is back to Monday!

  10. trimaran12 says:

    Mine didn’t either. :(

  11. Thank u for appreciating the BEASTMASTER OF SEASON 8 that is Kimberly Nichole!!! Also thank u for defending sarina!!! :)

  12. LeahKittyS says:

    Man, you guys are spot on this season! I can’t find anything to disagree with here. Thanks for once again curing my Monday blues. Also, fun fact: there has never been an American Idol season with three or more African-American men in the Top 12/13. Don’t believe me? Look it up. So if America votes totally based on talent, then this year will be the first season with three.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Actually, strike that. There were four African-American men in the Top 12 in Season 2: Ruben, Ricky, Corey and Charles. Still, this will be the first in a long time that we’ve had so many at once.

      • Simon says:

        Also, season 11 had 3. Joshua, Jermaine, and Deandre was half, right?

        • LeahKittyS says:

          I always considered DeAndre to be Pacific Islander. But maybe he is half black, I don’t know for sure. Point is, it’s a rare occurrence on this show.

          • Ben says:

            And Jermaine was thrust on us. But Deandre was definitely half black, not a pacific islander. I think he was just adopted by a Hawaiian family.

          • daynamonet says:

            Deandre was half black half white. He just embraced the Hawaiian culture but he was not pacific islander. They showed his mom quite a bt during the season and I saw his dad maybe once or twice. basically in my mind if ur half and half ur black to me.

    • Timmah says:

      If America votes based on talent, it’ll be the first year for that too.

  13. Simon says:

    I’m glad they mentioned the problem of getting up and singing right after finding out you made it. Didn’t the producers see how problematic that format was during last year’s Rush Week? I really really hope they figure out another way to do it for the finals. I also really liked the way they delivered results in past seasons, with the bottom 3 and everything. Especially on those nights where they separated them into groups and you had to figure out which one was the bottom 3. That made the show exciting for me. This week, I already knew Savion was going to be out after the first three performances, because there was no way he had gotten more votes than any of the other 5.

    Side note, why does Michael keep “predicting” that Rayvon will be sent home? Maybe to get him more votes? Rayvon has a ton of fans, he’s not leaving anytime soon. Personally, I don’t get all the love for him and Nick. Rayvon is pure cheese, and Nick just sounds like Nickelback. Not my thing at all. They’re still vocally way ahead of Daniel though.

    My top 16 rankings:

    1. Clark
    2. Qaasim
    3. Quentin
    4-8: Don’t like any of the others

    1. Sarina
    2. Adanna
    3. Joey
    4. Tyanna
    5. Jax
    6. Loren
    7. Maddie
    8. Alexis

  14. Kara says:

    Seems like I enjoy less and less on TV anymore. Waiting for the race talk to begin is a downer. Glad Savion is gone and quite enjoy Daniel.

    • daynamonet says:

      wow really, you prefer Daniel over Savion? or are you just saying that because of the whole race thing? because daniel is not more talented than Savion. and if Savion was white and Daniel was black i’d say the same thing.

  15. Liz says:

    I agree about Savion, I really hated to see him go but at least there were 3 white boys left with him. Maybe not the right white boys but still…

    As for the women, as long as Serina-Joi, Tiana & Jax make the top 12 I don’t care who else is there. I am going to be busy just voting for those three plus three to four of the guys.

    Great season, I just hope the judges stop towing the line of the producers. I hope Scott Borchetta has some say and some sense. Fingers crossed.

  16. Lunakit says:

    I trust Melinda’s ear that Rayvon has the technical goods, but Quentin is ssSsoooOOOOOoooooOOOOOoo much more sexy and compelling as a performer.

  17. Angie_Overrated says:

    It’s not nit-picky criticism to say Sarina was wildly off pitch when she’s in a singing competition and was wildly off pitch.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      1. Melinda the music expert says she was not off pitch. And I know a wrong note when I hear one. My music teachers all say so.
      2. The judges went easy on people who actually were off pitch because their voices were shaking (i.e. Daniel). That’s not fair.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Well, I’m a bit of a music expert myself and I’d say she was wildly off pitch.
        I’m not making a compare and contrast of who was called out for being off pitch. I missed the men so maybe there was worse pitch-wise that didn’t get called out. But on a stand-alone basis, Sarina did not sound great at all in that performance in my opinion. She’s a great singer though. Just not a good performance at all.

      • Ben says:

        I know what you mean Leah. I have trouble taking it from others who say people were off pitch when I went through a college performance music degree with tutors saying I had one of the best ears they’d ever come across. Having said that, what I’ve discovered is a lot of people have very different ideas about what is ‘on’ and ‘off’ pitch was far as stylistic decisions go. I haven’t heard Sarina this week, but I definitely find a lot of people in here talk about singers singing off pitch and I listen to them again and go… no, still pretty sure they were singing on pitch.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I do share your frustration to a certain extent. The straight-tone singers have it much rougher since they have nowhere to hide. But even the best of the best in terms of singing let the pitch get away from them sometimes. The real questions to be asking is how frequently does it happen, and are they aware that the problem just happened. The really good musicians know immediately when it’s happening and can quickly self-correct. In Sarina’s case, I think it came from singing mostly pianissimo, which requires a ton of breath energy and has a tendency to go flat without that ton of breath energy.
          All that being said, I think Sarina’s awesome. I just don’t share the hosts’ view that it’s unfair to point out that her pitch sucked, because in this particular performance, it did suck. Maybe the men did get a free pass? Dunno. I won’t weigh in on that part of the debate since I didn’t see the men.

          • Ben says:

            I’ve heard it now Angie, and I agree. Sarina often started notes quiet and flat, and by the time she was singing the note louder, she had slid on to the pitch. She had no pitch problems singing anything but pianissimo. I actually thought they were crueler to say Adanna was off pitch ‘the whole way through’ – I think I heard about two notes in hers off pitch.

    • daynamonet says:

      Honestly I listened to her performance several times trying to figure out what Harry was talking about when he said she was consistently flat because I couldn’t hear it. I, like Melinda, may have heard 1 or 2 notes, but by no means did that take away from her performance at all. I love Quentin and Qaasim, but they had pitch problems and they were not really addressed. Don’t get me started on Daniel. Honestly I hope when she heard that feedback she went up to Harry after the show to ask him, where she was flat and if he felt it was the whole song, where did it begin, first note, first phrase, what? I think it’s BS to tell one of the best singers, if not the best singer in the competition that they’re having pitch problems if you’re not going to say it for others, especially the guys.

  18. Bonnie A. says:

    As soon as they put Daniel through-FIRST! –in the show I said to my husband, “Savion isn’t going to make it” and unfortunately, I was right. I was worried he had ‘t gotten enough votes after Wed’s performance. Never thought about how many black vs white guys there were. I like Rayvon but would like a different tempo or type of song from him. Still really like Clark but he needs to change it up this week. Sarina, Maddie, Tyvanna and Joey are my fav girls.

    Never thought about

    • I am very glad that there is so much good African American Talent this year! Its time! Ruebin Stoddard was a long time ago! I also feel its a GOOD TIME for this all and “A Sign Of The Times” with what has been going on in the U.S. right now! Where people come together to enjoy singing, no matter what color.

  19. Craig says:

    – I know Melinda has an allegiance to Rayvon but, despite having a pleasant easy-listening voice he is as B-O-R-I-N-G as watching paint dry as a performer. At this rate he will not last long and quite frankly it’ll be deserved. Someone needs to light a fire under his you-know-what… and fast!
    – It is absurd trying to put Mark and Adam in the same category as Daniel just to boost up the people you like! Mark was boring but stayed in tune (just like Rayvon) and Adam delivered a decent enough rock vocal with energy and showmanship.
    – Savion was cut because he delivered a weak, forgettable performance. End of story there. It is a much bigger injustice that Katherine – whose style was otherwise not represented at all this season – was she’d bring something different to the table.
    – I know Jax is Michael’s Jena Irene this season, but she was absolutely terrible this week and both the arrangement and her vocals were horrendous. Makes me question her taste level. Joey’s similar jazzy take on the other hand actually DID work for her style while also respecting the original song, yet you keep trying to undermine her with the “affected” label, In actuality, Jax is the most “affected” performer there by a landslide.
    – Adanna deserved more than just a brush off 4th place. That was about the most emotionally connected performance on the Idol stage yet.
    – Sarina is very good but this was not her best week and Harry’s criticisms were on point. I do agree though that if they’re going to criticize her, they need to dish it out evenly to others who deserve it.
    – Agree that Daniel and Alexis are two of the four who need to go like yesterday. I get Daniel’s appeal to certain voters but for the life of me can’t even imagine who or WHY anyone is voting for Alexis. Either Loren and Maddie should be the other girl cut (though if I were going JUST by this week, I’d send Jax packing). As for the guys, a part of me would like to see Adam or Mark in the Top 6 instead of Rayvon simply to have a more diverse Top 12.

    • daynamonet says:

      I’m with Slezak in the sense that I do enjoy Rayvon’s creamy buttery voice, however, he needs to as they said, bring some sexy back for real. I need him to be usher, eric benet, maxwell sexy, because he’s capable. As for sarina, again, I didn’t hear all the pitch problems everyone else is hearing, but as M&M were saying, I do feel what the judges say sways what some of us think. If Harry hadn’t mentioned that, I don’t think it would be as many people talking about Sarina being out of tune. Maybe some, but I just don’t think this many, and this isn’t the only blog site I looked. I don’t think Jax is Slezaks Jena Irene, I personally liked Jena a lot better and her voice was just more my taste, I don’t mind Jax, but she’s not my favorite type of singer. Honestly I put Adanna right behind Sarina as far as the girls performances, she really turned my mind around from the prior week. When you say you would rather see rayvon eliminated vs Mark or Adam for a more diverse top 12, is it because he’s black or becuase you just don’t like him? Personally Qaasim, Quentin and Rayvon couldn’t be more different in my opinion, so I still think it’d be diverse if he’ in. If Daniel doesn’t make it, i think i’d like to see Adam fill that last 6th spot. Savion delivered a weaker than normal performance than i’m used to seeiing from him, but it was still better than Daniel and Mark and that’s just a fact.

    • Bonnie A. says:

      Great post!!

  20. Gabby says:

    This is the stupidest article I’ve ever read. Who cares about how many black guys are in the competition? They don’t all have the same music style. Nobody’s complaining about the number of white guys. Nobody ever complained about the country singers. So why the black guys? They don’t sound the same.

    • daynamonet says:

      I agree, they don’t sound the same. All the black guys left have completely different styles and I like them all. I do however think it’s just a natural thing that people look at these things, the same way people were looking in previous seasons of the women dropping like flies or how many WGWG’s there are, or how many country singers or lack thereof. Poeple will always compare and contrast different aspects of these competition shows and in life. We’ve always been singled out or put into the “black” category no matter how different we may be. It’s just the way it is unfortunately. Same for other races as well. I mean how ofen do we get latinos or asians to go far on these shows, I mean jessica sanchez almost won but, not many make top 12 and beyond.

  21. I like the heading on the Tvline home page…eight is enough! Yup…for me it is. Give me Nick Sarina Quentin Clark Quassim Jax Tyanna and Rayvon for my top 8 and I will be happy!

  22. dman6015 says:

    “Is There Room for Three Black Guys in Idol’s Top 12?” Does anyone else out there think that this is the stupidest question a reporter could ask? Sorry, Massa, if there are too many of us coloreds on your show.

  23. Jason says:

    While I love Slezak and Melinda’s banter, something was missing in this week’s Reality Check. :/

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Yeah, when Jason’s not around, it just isn’t the same. Why can’t he be here every week? *insert Doctor Who clip*

      • Tom22 says:

        While I can enjoy his zaniness the most important thing to me is the choice of singing clips showcasing what Michael and Melinda are commenting on. I think whoever does the clips from the show Jason’s off weeks does every-bit as good a job as he does at that portion of the work. (not a criticism of Jason because he does that portion well with the extra humor on top)

  24. Timmah says:

    Black singers aren’t getting a fair shake? How many other minority groups have 7 of the top 16 spots?

  25. Bettieann says:

    3 black guys and I didn’t think any white girls were going to make it as all the black girls were called right up front. The judges comments are always the same.. Out on tune, make it yours, don’t change it so much and JLo goes on and on. I believe it will be a black , either girl or guy….

  26. Timmah says:

    As hard as the judges are on the women, it’s nothing compared to the way the voters will soon slaughter them.

  27. Rachel says:

    top 3 . Clark , rayvon , & sarina . BOOM

  28. Don Chase says:

    The men are sssssooooooooooooooo much better than the women. Jax is the only creditable female singer. The rest are poor.

  29. Lloyd says:

    One of the best Reality Checks in a while. You raised some really important questions. I really enjoyed it. :)

  30. Tom22 says:

    Clydesdales doing Dressage ! hahahahaha : ) Made the episode for me ! Fun again.
    (Glad you kept silent rather than trying to label Adam’s non-standard and very well executed performance “karaoke” (you don’t need to love it either, just would have had to realize you weren’t gravitating towards his personality which was part and parcel of his rendition of the song)

  31. JMay says:

    Season 11 baby! Deepest bench thus far.

  32. Boo Fuqua says:

    Why does their skin color matter? Shouldn’t their voices, style and genre be the deciding factor?

    • Oh Boo Fuqua. My thoughts exactly! Ok Look, I protest with “Dont Shoot Pdx, Dont Shoot Portland. I am white and in my 50’s. MLK day, I marched with blacks ,Latino’s, White familys with their toddlers in strollers, dogs in strollers,LOL, poor people, middle class, anarchist with bandanas on their face. As I looked around, I thought, this is what it took to get ALL of these amazing different people together all screaming out against police violence on Black Youth! The reason Im even saying this here, is because I come here to enjoy these talent shows and great singing, only to find the “race” issue is here also! But I will Say I think Michael and Melinda were referring to Daniel maybe standing in the way of better talent,being the African American guys and that they hoped that Daniel did not make it ahead of them. That was their point, Im pretty sure, which I agree with.

  33. joey says:

    Melinda Dolittle is always so right on in her comments.

  34. NJIdoloonie says:

    MICHAEL/MELINDA **Please read this** Great REALITY CHECK idea – You and Melinda watch HER season together and critique it!!! (and TVline should spring for her airfare so you two can be in the same room together) Whaddya think?

  35. joey says:

    Wow. Slezak finally comes to the conclusion that the judges comments might be scripted to manipulate the tv viewers opinions in favor of the producers’ CHOSEN ONE. God, do I ever miss the TWOP discussion forums.

    • Smokey says:

      IMO —- A fair share of what the Judges say and who they help to push forward , is semi-scripted or discussed off-set. ……………….The E19 post-show promo machine also hopes to make some cash by signing potentially marketable singers to their highly restrictive contracts. Obviously, they haven’t, collectively, (producers, insiders, Judges) produced a high-sales winner since PP went Platinum. Now they bring-in Taylor Swift’s promo man to try to help the cause this year. ……………………………………………….. And yes, due to the fact that more women than men – seem to actually vote — and are more likely to vote for guys, the girls will again be eliminated in serial fashion —- until a couple of the girls get enough traction to overcome the vote-splitting and hold-on against some of the boys. —-

  36. Me. says:

    Race has nothing to do with it. I really think two singers got screwed last week. I voted for people based on how they sing and three of my guys didn’t make it. I was so upset to see Savion go. But it’s so crazy to make everything a race issue. Hope this week Daniel, Adam and Mark go.

  37. lorie says:

    Thank you! Sarina sounded great to me. Harry should be more careful when he says someone’s intonation is off because I bet most viewers thought she was great, too. We’re not going to trust his critiques as much.

  38. ConchExPat says:

    Please help me! Daniel Seavey looks exactly like somebody else! A tv star? Does he remind anyone else of a celebrity? It’s killing me, just like the fact that he made it through did.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I was glad to hear Melinda say she only heard one or two flat notes in Sarina Joi Crowe’s performance. There have been several times when Harry has been critical of pitch and I just don’t hear the same thing. Perhaps it’s the difference in hearing it live vs. on TV.
      Love Mr. Slezak and Melinda’s commentary, as usual. I didn’t think Jax had an off-week. She sounded the same as she always does, IMO.
      And I really don’t think the comments about the number of black males on the show were intended to be offensive or imply people are racist. Lighten up, folks. These is the best group of black men we’ve seen in a long time on this show. Should Savion be in there instead of Daniel? Absolutely. But Katherine Winston should be in there instead of Alexis Gomez. Life’s not always fair.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      And as far as Daniel Seavey goes – he reminds me of former contestant Aaron kelly a little bit, but that’s probably not who you’re looking for.

    • Jessamine says:

      Daniel Seavey looks like Malcolm in the middle.

    • girl_3 says:

      David Faustino from Married With Children. It dawned on me a few days ago. He’s Bud Bundy!

    • Well he kind of reminds me of the kid.”Tanner” that Blake had on his team last season!

  39. Trisha says:

    What is it about Jax that has all the critics/analysts & a good percentage of the voting public on her side? I find her affected beyond belief, full of herself, and although there’s probably a good voice in there somewhere, too mannered to take seriously. Sarina-Joi, Tyanna, and Joey for the Top 10.

  40. girl_3 says:

    I loved Savion and was really sad to see him go. That said, he picked a forgettable song and was unmemorable. I really wish he were in consideration for a wild card, but he sabotaged himself. Idol this year has a gender problem. Actually, Idol has had a gender problem going back to Season 7, the year they started allowing instruments. That may be more coincidence, but thinking back on some pretty spectacular singers and what was said to them there did seem to be an element of nit-picking for the sake of advancing the narrative. Carly didn’t know how to dress. Alison wasn’t “likeable.” Haley “picked the wrong songs.” Even female singers who did deserve the critiques were hammered (Jess last year) when several of her male counterparts did the exact same thing and not a peep from the judges. If Sarina-Joi was off last week (big if), then where was the criticism for Daniel? If it’s okay for Adam to make goofy faces at the camera while turning every song into a rock anthem, why is it when Joey and JAX change a song they “have to be careful not to change it too much”? Sometimes people see sexism where there’s none. There’s plenty here.

  41. Andy says:

    I think American Idol has made a lot of nice changes to keep it interesting. One of the worst changes is the band and background singers. It is TOO MUCH! They are overpowering. It is too early in the competition for the band to take over. I get that they are trying to make it feel like a “real concert” and trying to make it a “relevant” experience, BUT the band is overshadowing the singers. Dial it back!!!

  42. Patti says:

    Why does it matter if it’s 3 blacks or 3 whites?

  43. …but what about Jay lo saying that Sarina is the best singer in the contest? That is pretty good assurance for America to vote for Sarina, so even if they gave her harsh criticism, they gave her the best compliment as well. Also, on the note of black contestants, I think that when it boils down to musical taste, it is possible that the “black vote” is split not because of the color, but because the singing could split fans. If you camp them, though Rayvon and Savion are different, I could see how their fan base would be split. Maybe fans of one did not vote for the other. I know I chose no more than 3 to vote for.

  44. Jaszy says:

    Yes, I already mentioned the gender disparities in judging. The girls are treated more harshly than the boys. It’s the truth. Last week was definite proof of that.
    I already talked about this so much in other posts on other recap boards.

  45. Jaszy says:

    This season has not turned out as well as I thought it was going to be…the judges don’t pick enough great voices…they just pick personalities

  46. I can see that either most of voters on American idol are white and aren’t interested in seeing any blacks become an American idol or the top benefactors are controlling who makes it. Its ridiculous how many good black singers are getting voted off and how many lousy white singers continue to be chosen. Whether they become stars like Jennifer Hudson or not, at least vote fairly. America is not all white.