Reality Check: Who's Rising (and Falling) on American Idol? Plus: Best Season of The Voice Ever?

American Idol‘s Season 14 has had more slam-dunks, fouls and rebounds than NCAA’s March Madness — and this week’s Reality Check tries to determine who’s on their way to the Final Four.

My co-host Melinda Doolittle and I delve into rising momentum for Clark Beckham and Quentin Alexander (as well as two other finalists) and try to figure out what went wrong for the typically rock-solid Joey Cook during ’80s Week. Plus, we’ve got advice for Rayvon Owen and Qaasim Middleton — and an interlude about the perils of Resting Bitchface.

If that’s not enough, Melinda and I also get hyped about The Voice‘s Season 8 Knockout Rounds — listing a half-dozen singers who are performing like potential heirs to Craig Wayne Boyd’s throne.

So press PLAY for the full Reality Check experience — then hit the comments to tell us where we get it right, who we’ve egregiously snubbed and what topics you want us to tackle in upcoming installments!

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. Lunakit says:

    Ha haaa… I think it is funny that they used tomorrow’s date at the bottom of the screen… even Jason didn’t trust that RC would get posted today… woohoo! RC ahead of schedule!

  2. Kate says:

    Any of my fellow Idoloonies feel disconnected from this season? I do, even more than last season, even though this season’s crop is (marginally) more talented than last years. The judges are checked out, the song choices and themes are the same. I feel like I’m checked out too; I watched last week’s episode in about 35 minutes, ff-ing through so much. Why can’t I get into my all-time favorite reality show anymore?

    • Hayder B. Hayden says:

      The themes are disappointing, but every season has a mix of good and mediocre performers and one imposter. This season is no better or worse than any other. Joey and Quentin are the most interesting, Clark is the most consistent, Nick and Rayvon have great voices but give safe performances every week. Same as almost every other season over the last 7 or 8 years.

    • Tommyo2000 says:

      Yes … And I think it’s the format. The whole night is about didn’t get called yet. In prior years you,focused on the performance only. Everybody there was in for that week. Now,you,sit and wait for who gets the boot. The suggestion that everybody goes and then there is an elimination makes more sense, it’s not perfect but much better than this format.

      I also think it’s Per’s production. He has de-emphasized the contestants performance and tried to boost ratings by creating drama and focusing on the judges too much ..

      • Lloyd says:

        I agree, the format is really bad.

      • Tahoe Mike says:

        I am not a fan of this new format. I liked having the two separate shows, though I think they could have done a much better job producing a watchable elimination show. I liked watching the performance show and then coming here to talk about who did well, who stunk, and who was going home, and then getting the result the next night and coming back here to debate how right or wrong the voters were.
        At the very least they should let the eliminated contestant perform the song they spent all week working on as a farewell performance.

      • Rip Tide says:

        The format sucks. It feels like a funeral march. I continue to tune in but I checked out mentally a while back. Bored again tonight. I absolutely hate all the fools who have been posting “The Voice is sooooo much better,” but you know what? I watched The Voice last night and found myself far more entertained.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      That’s okay, you’re not the only one. I find myself playing games or reading Twitter while the show is on, unless someone I really like is singing. The once a week format works on other shows, like “Dancing with the Stars,” but here they’re doing it all wrong. Let everyone perform and then send someone home. None of this chair nonsense. Save that for “The Voice.” Not to mention Justin Bieber Kid is driving me crazy just by being there. But honestly, I feel like my American Idol obsession died with Michael Johns. I think I’m afraid to get that emotionally invested in another group of contestants, now that it’s sunken in that they’re human and most of them are nothing special.

    • I feel the same way Kate! I actually did like last year better. I like the 2 nights a week of the show and I dont like the green and red chairs. I liked last year when they had the huge pictures on the wall, when you were eliminated your picture faded out! But the performers last year werent as good! But the FORMAT and setup I do not like. As well now with the twitter save starting up! Not Good!

    • Gupy says:

      I actually love this crop of Idol contestants. For the first time ever, I’m enjoying Idol more than The Voice. Those recap episodes aren’t doing The Voice any good – why would I want to see performances that I just saw last week? Who are these recap episodes for? They could have just shown everyone’s performances and stopped the montages. I am really digging Idol’s new format, it’s more streamlined and it’s all about the contestants and the music. I hope that The Voice also listens to its fans and remove all the stuff that doesn’t work. I hate to say it, but Idol is kicking The Voice’s butt right now.

  3. Scott says:

    Lol at all of Quentin’s songs being creppy, but it works for him! No Koryn love? Otherwise good episode! And I don’t think they even mention Tyanna.

    • Hayder B. Hayden says:

      I need to see something different from Quentin. It’s not just the fact that all his songs sound creepy, or whatever. Rather, no matter what song he does, he slows it down and makes it sound like everything else. No matter what he starts with, it ends up sounding just like the last song he did. He needs to mix it up and prove he’s more than a one trick pony.

  4. Jill Moy says:

    I feel Joey is a comedian! She has always been terrible! Rayvon is boring at best! Terrible high notes! No personality…PERIOD! Jax, to me has a weak, phoney, whispering and annoying voice! I am amazed that anyone has liked her…EVER! I think Nick is #3 and Tyanna #4 (no mention of Tyanna???? UH OOOO, LAST WEEK NO MENTION OF ADANNA AND SHE’S GONE????DO THEY KNOW SOMETHING???)

    • Jill Hey! The twitter save will sink certain contestants! Tyanna, Qaasim and Quentin have the least twitter followers and they are starting the twitter save! Jax, Daniel and Clark IN THAT ORDER have the most twitter followers. I showed the list on last weeks AI site, because I found an article that listed the amounts of twitter followers for each person. Tyanna is at the bottom with only Quentin below her. We need to vote super hard so they DONT GET IN THE BOTTOM 3 IN THE FIRST PLACE! I dont know why Michael Slezak didnt mention the new twitter save.

      • Mary says:

        I hate the twitter save, not only copying The Voice but only a selected portion can vote. The votes however few there are should be the final say. If I am understanding this right the bottom two are in jeopardy of leaving and only a few on twitter get to keep him or her there. The only advantage I can see of this is that the one who shall be remain nameless is from the west coast so maybe they won’t be following twitter, don’t want to be spoil, and we eliminate him with the east coast votes. Also not everyone is on twitter so for me why bother voting because it will be override.

        • MARY exactly! Im so mad! Why are we voting if they are changing the results and thats what they are doing. Qaasim, Tyanna And Quentin have the least amount of twitter followers. Quentin is my favorite right now. I wish they would do it like Rising Star. Rising Star did the second chance twitter vote on west coast to maybe change the results of east coast!

        • Vickie says:

          Totally agree! HATE the Twitter save. HATE the new format w/green & red chairs too!

  5. Runner says:

    Yes, Joey was a hot mess. I couldn’t even watch after 10 seconds, but I still voted for her. She can’t go home just yet. No.

    • karyn says:

      Completely agree. Joey’s one of my favorites and the minute I saw that dress I knew exactly what she was going to sing and that it was going to be awful. It was somehow even more painful to watch then I’d anticipated.

      I hope MS wasn’t right saying her following will abandon her, but he may be right. Her bandwagon is too new and people who just jumped on might jump off quickly.

  6. Timmah says:

    I think Tyanna is much more in danger of leaving than Joey. Tyanna has had several bad (and even worse, unmemorable) weeks in a row.

    • Hayder B. Hayden says:

      All the girls are in danger. Girls are always in danger on this show (except the season it was rigged to produce a female winner).

      • Smokey says:

        Yes, it was pretty obvious that season that the boys in the mix were not stellar.

      • Timmah says:

        Yes, but I don’t think Jax is in danger, just because they pimp her so much. And Joey seems to have a decent fan base. That’s why I think it’ll be Tyanna leaving. Obviously none of the cute guys are in danger, even though most of them couldn’t sing their way out of a paper bag.

      • Hayder..THE season it was rigged?? Didn’t Kelly Clarkson AND Carrie Underwood win?

  7. Ginger Snap says:

    I’m all in for Daniel , you’re next American Idol!

    • Star says:

      Same here. Daniel may not have his best vocals but he has that magical connection with viewers.

    • Hayder B. Hayden says:

      That would be the proverbial stake through the heart for this show.

      • Ginger Snap says:

        And it would be the show’s 0 producers who drove that knife through heart of American .

        Self destructiven behavior. The gets the winner it deserves.

      • tank says:

        I think so too. I’m not going to waste another season on this show if Daniel keeps knocking out people who are so much better than him. He didn’t know the words to his song. He’s just not cute enough to get away with stuff like that. They should have let him go early on and told him to come back after his voice changed.

  8. Kathryn says:

    Bravo for keeping in Harry’s reaction to Joey’s performance. That point in the video killed me.

  9. MAB says:

    So totally agree with Michael and Melinda this week. I thought Clark, Quentin and Jax were the top. I always liked Clark and Jax but Quentin is fast becoming one of my favorites. Nick, I am still not sure of. I like him but am not wild for him.

    • karenb says:

      @MAB- get outta my head lol My thoughts exactly…on every point.

    • Temperance says:

      Yup. I’m on board with that.

    • Smokey says:

      Nick and his Band were on AGT in the past. The extra exposure for Nick from Idol, will be a nice boost for their Band bookings and booking price-tag after the Idol work is done. ………………

      He will probably be thankful if he can get 2 or 3 more weeks of exposure, and should, and probably more……….. And he is always good on the vocals IMO.

  10. trev says:

    FINALLY! We finally get a Voice recap! I’m loving this season. Pharrell is really bringing the heat and Christina is upping her game.

  11. Tommyo2000 says:

    Great analysis …. Spot on with Jax, she was fierce. And she doesn’t get enough credit for making everything her own. Also, Quentin does have to show us something other then the dark, slow sort of creepy ballad. It’s work one song per week, but I could never get through an entire album of that. I know Clark is on top of a lot of lists, but I don’t know what kind of music he would be making. His covers still seem dated. Daniel is completely out of his league … Physically he looks younger that 15, and he doesn’t have the talent to be there.


  12. GH says:

    Idol has jumped the shark. Looking back, they should have ended it after Season 11, when they had their biggest song with Home and last big winner with Phillip Phillips.

    • joey says:

      I agree with you that they’ve jumped the shark, but it’s not something that can’t be repaired.
      They put on a show that’s 120 minutes long. They give us: 40 minutes of commercials, 20 minutes of contestants’ singing, and 60 minutes of distraction and bullpoop.
      They need to fire Per Blanken, make the show about the singers, and they’ll be good to go. They might even find a star, which is what the show is supposed to be about, and which is the main reason why they became the number one show on TV.

  13. wild_child says:

    Please please spend more time with the voice when live rounds start. The talent pool is insanely deep this season while AI is just the exact opposite. The Voice is so much more deserving of a more in depth analysis. Why must you deny us these simple pleasures? Why?!

    • Smokey says:

      On “The Voice” we see much more light-hearted humor and excitement among the Judges/Coaches and contestants,,, and usually good performances. …..The Idol Judges and Ryan usually don’t do real well with their attempts at humor…………………

      However, there are some talents on Idol — some with a talent to be “different and engaging”, some with a talent to be “happy regardless of the drama and pressure” some with a talent in vocals and doing a song very well —- It’s an entertainment reality show and whether it produces a big star or not, doesn’t matter to most viewers, as long as it is entertaining enough to hold their interest. ………………….. If I and those who watch the show with me like the song choice and the singer, we don’t usually care if every single half-note is on-pitch. ……………..just looking forward to Kelly mentoring……………..hope she does well, as my basketball brackets are mostly busted, so need something to look forward to.

  14. I lost interest after Hollywood Anderson wasn’t on there for any reason, there were still some good moments I’m certain.
    Just wasn’t able to see it.

  15. karyn says:

    I agree with most of what Michael and Melinda said but I disagree about Jax’s stool kicking stunt. I really liked the performance till that moment and that was so unbelievably cheesy that she completely ruined it for me. I also like Quentin more in this show than in the past. His over-the-top theatrics are often inappropriate to the song (e.g. You’re the One that I Want) and I’m rolling my eyes, but it was just right for this song.

    Joey was a train wreck but hope she gets through. Nick was much better than usual. I’ve always liked the voice but for once I liked the performance a lot.

  16. Purple says:

    I am going in the other direction from some people here. I just got back into watching American Idol last season. I even saw them on tour. I really like the judges now (Harry, JLO, and Keith). Yes, I know it’s strange. I did notice that this season is good but not as interesting as last season was. Last season seemed more competitive. I don’t know if it is because people are playing it too safe or they are not ready to be on Idol. Some people think it is the format. Others believe it is the voting. Right now I am leaning towards the voting process and song selection. I went back and checked out some clips of the shows in Detroit. I noticed that some of the good people did not make when people started voting. Maybe they need some more saves or something to keep it competitive and interesting. I don’t think it is the themes because last season people got to pick more current songs and some picked out current stuff I never heard of. I’m neutral with the chair thing and the one day per week thing also. I am still watching the show for now.

    The Voice contestants are very competitive but they need more variety. I watch the Voice sometimes and I noticed that some of the singers especially the females sing the same type of style. Most of the females come out and try to sound like Alicia Keys or Mariah Carey over and over again. I like that Jax and Tyanna sound completely different from each other. However, I do like that The Voice contestants come out and really go for it. Which is really great.

    • Smokey says:

      RE; Purple said ” I noticed that some of the singers especially the females sing the same type of style. Most of the females come out and try to sound like Alicia Keys or Mariah Carey over and over again”……………………………………………

      This seems to be a factor of many of these talent shows — you hear some good singers that can chase all the swooping notes and get into the top 24/16/12 or to the knockouts or “lives” or upper line-up on a UK X-Factor or Aussie Voice –etc. ………………… then they begin to fade in popularity, by always chasing the same old big song productions…………………………………….


  17. Trisha says:

    If Joey goes home this week and Daniel stays I am done with Idol forever. I’ve said it before and never followed through, but that kind of mindless voting, plus the new Twitter save will be my undoing. She had a bad week (not worse than a C Michael and I think that was too low.) Daniel hasn’t had one good performance.

    • Smokey says:

      In addition to the twitter save, the Idol machine could still pull-out a “so close” save where no one gets sent home and they tally 2 weeks of voting to send 2 people home.

      That could happen before top 5, just a possibility. It might depend on if they think that the crew they have is helping hold interest in the show.

  18. Cathy Perez says:

    American Idol: I’m not overly thrilled about any of this season’s contestants. I do think it’s Joey’s turn to go home.
    The Voice…a big WooHoo! Yep it’s the best season EVER!! I feel it’s anyone’s game at this point. They all have powerhouses on their teams! I just wish The Voice’s winner’s were more well known after they win, cuz, usually, once they win, u never hear a thing about them anymore–unlike the American Idol winners.

  19. Simon says:

    What happened to interviewing the finalists after they get eliminated? Is that not something they’re doing anymore? I was looking forward to seeing Michael talk to Sarina.

  20. Cathy Perez says:

    The talent on Idol this season good but…they are NO match for the contestants on The Voice this season.

  21. shawnuel says:

    I hope if Slezak and Melinda talk about The Voice next week they mention Josh. That Guy is just PURE!

  22. Vickie says:

    NONE of this year’s (or recent years) singers on American Idol are GREAT. This year, Clark is best. I’ve enjoyed the “unusual voices” of Jax and Joey and have been thinking for quite some time that they would sound great singing “To Sir With Love” from the 1960’s. This would have been a great week to do that! For those of you too young…there was even a movie made. I do email and phone calls and a few texts. I HATE the twitter save on any competition shows and I hate the ones that only let you vote on facebook. I know, I know. Most people do it, but not me! There hasn’t been a CONSISTENTLY GREAT singer since David Cook on Idol. But every single season of The Voice has several OUTSTANDING singers. I’m always wondering WHY American ldol doesn’t get great singers like that! Also hate this year’s format on Idol and I find J-Lo’s sexually suggestive outfits (and words) not right for the American Idol Teenagers!