Reality Check: Is Team Xtina Unbeatable on The Voice? Plus: Slezak and Doolittle Pick Their Idol Final 3s!

Disgusting. Magical. “One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life.”

These are just a few of the superlatives my co-host Melinda Doolittle and I hurl at The Voice‘s incredible Season 8 contestants on this week’s installment of Reality Check.

But are we on #TeamYouth, #TeamExperience or #TeamXtina? You’ll find out as you watch us debate The Voice‘s Top 20 Live Playoffs.

Also on the docket? Melinda’s and my controversial, not-quite-definitive picks for American Idol‘s Season 14 Top 3. Plus, a deep dive into our issues with current front-runner Clark Beckham, and a chat about how Tyanna Jones got her groove back.

Press PLAY above for the full Reality Check experience, then share your Voice faves and your Idol final three picks down in the comments!

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. Jenny says:

    Michael and Melinda hilarious as usual.

  2. ctz says:

    Boo, now you know Idol is doomed when Reality Check starts with Voice and gives them more time than Idol. Sad!

  3. Greta says:

    I live for Reality Check! And I absolutely agree with every single point you and Melinda made.
    But I have one huge request: Tonight (or tomorrow?), when you create your poll for us to vote on our favorite performances, please do not put the coach’s name ahead of the singer’s name! It should not read “TEAM PHARRELL: Sawyer Fredericks.”
    Simply “Sawyer Fredericks” will suffice, thank you very much.
    I don’t care whose team the singers are on!! :-)

  4. Lois Benton says:

    Yes to Quentin. Probably yes to Joey. Everyone else, I have to see what this week brings. Tyanna and Clark (and in weeks earlier he’s been leaving me cold too) were the best last week, for sure. But we’ll see if that holds up. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d send Nick home at Top 7, no question. May Jax after that. But every week is a shot and I’m open to embracing fine performances.

    • Mytake says:

      If you took Quentin’s charisma and magnetism and gave it to Rob on the Voice it would be amazing. Rob has a much better voice but Quentin has that incredible magnetism that no other singer on either show matches. Well maybe Kimberly is up there with him on energy and she can sing like crazy! As far as I’m concerned, the voice has 4 or 5 singers that are better than the best singers on AI.

      • susan says:

        I haven’t voted Idol since Adam Lambert,but Quentin really is drawing me into his performances,and he gets me to vote for him. He is the complete artist-visually and vocally.

      • Lemon says:

        I love Quentin’s voice. Watch his short clip of “Riptide” on YouTube. His upper range is gorgeous.

    • Lois Benton says:

      Mytake, I watched a few seasons of The Voice and gave it up. It’s just a game show for the judges. Most of The Voice contestants have great voices….and it doesn’t matter. Winning means nothing and the format of The Voice means that it’s hard to get invested in a contestant, mainly because it’s ALL about the judges. But even when I do get invested in Voice contestants, they are soon gone, so it’s pointless. But, of course, the reality today is that no amount of exposure on national TV translates into any success in the music business anyway, on any show. Susan, funny you should say that. Quentin immediately reminded me of Adam Lambert, mainly because he’s so magnetic and just doing his thing and letting the cards fall where they may. Lemon, I just watched Riptide again, and you’re right about Quentin’s beautiful upper register. I think the divide between Michael and Melinda reflects the divide in the real world: The best technical singers may not be the stars in the music industry, because the indefinable charisma, magnetism, artistry, and just plain good luck trumps vocal ability.

  5. karenb says:

    Are there going to be any interviews with the Idols this season??

  6. MAB says:

    I just don’t get the appeal for Joey and I cannot see her in the top 3. I tried to like her but after listening to her performance like 5 times trying to see what I am missing I just can’t. To me it was a train wreck. The outfit the voice, the whole thing. I really feel bad because she is a really a nice person but American Idol she is not.

    • karenb says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. And there’s no way I could listen to her songs five times!

    • Mary says:

      I think it is a case of you either like her or don’t, I feel that way about Jax. Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

      • Riordan says:

        Feel the same way Mary. Jax doesn’t work for me at all. In fact, I think she’s had more downright awful performances than anyone else remaining.

  7. Scott says:

    Yall always get me cracking up. I love Quentin, not as much as Michael, but I tend to agree more with Melinda on this one! And yes, Kimberly was the top of the voice performances, but I agree she won’t win :/ gunna be like Judith and Amanda (though Cassadee was my favorite that year, Amanda should have been in the finale at least!)

  8. Jon says:

    Michael, thanks so much for finally giving The Voice some time on RC! Agreed with every word EXCEPT the Hannah-bashing because I luv her (loved Sarah too — it was Corey who should have gone home). Otherwise, great ep!

    • Lynn says:

      Agree. I think we have only begun to see what Hannah is capable of. She is a very good singer and reminds me of Natalie Merchant.

  9. Scott says:

    I agree with the Clark analysis. Yes he’s got a phenomenal voice, and he will win most likely, but there is just something that doesn’t connect with me. I’m not looking forward to his performances as much as others and I think it’s cuz I know exactly what he will do. Melinda is right, he kind of does the same thing ever week. He does it great don’t get me wrong, but I think it just leave me not really looking forward to his performances as much. Hoping he spices it up this week!

    • Scott says:

      Something in Clark’s eyes screams out “Help me! Get me out of here” when I watch him sing. Love his voice, but his stage presence is strange.

    • Princess Adora says:

      Carrie Underwood didn’t really have that “eye connection”, but she’s definitely improved since. Maybe Clark can do the same thing as he gets more comfortable with the stage.

      • Puchinsmom says:

        YES about Carrie Underwood. I’ve been thinking that exact thing in relation to Clark. It’s been discussed here before. Alot of us liked Bo Bice way better. HE was a compelling performer. Carrie, not so much. (In my case I am also not a country fan). But she’s achieved a phenomenal career, and no one complains about her stage presence. AND, for me, he’s as good to look at as she is! (Maybe he could get an Almay contract for eye makeup! ). Only kidding….

    • Tamara says:

      I agree, and Clark is still my fav contestant! He has EVERYTHING, literally the ‘work’ he has to do is more on his on stage personality and adding a bit more theatricality to his performances, not work on his singing or anything (which would in theory be harder). However, he does seem slightly uncomfortable on stage, which I don’t understand. For me, his standout performance is still Georgia On My Mind from the House of Blues performances, he was so natural and easy but he really felt the performance, which is why I was surprised when he seemed so stiff on the live shows. Maybe it’s a big stage vs. smaller, more intimate crowd thing?

      I really hope he works on it based on what JLo (quite astutely, surprisingly) told him last week, because I LOVE his bluesy voice and taste in music, and of course he is very easy on the eyes. I think he is less Scotty 2.0, and more like Phillip Phillips- good looking, good taste in songs. Except he is a better singer than Phillip, but Phillip was a far more dynamic performer.

    • Joe says:

      You want the problem with Clark? He’s a modern day Michael Bolton. Does anyone outside of menopausal women seek out Michael Bolton? No. That’s why Clark is not connecting. He was current when Richard Marx and Bolton owned the charts. Today? Not so much.

      • Dee says:

        Um excuse you. I’m postmenopausal (and yes I said that out loud!) and Michael Bolton is the last guy I would “seek” out. Stop assuming that you know a person’s fan base. Oh. And go Clark! And Jax! And Quentin!

  10. Matt says:

    Boo on focussing on The Voice over Idol this week! #TeamIdol
    On another note, can someone check if sales of Jordin Spark’s This Is My Now have increased these past few months thanks to Reality Check??

    • Scott says:

      I mean it was equal. They did 8 mins on each show.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Equal is not enough for some of these Idol fans. Don’t you remember some of them were complaining that in a 16 minute video, The Voice had 75 seconds of coverage as more of a “oh yeah, let’s acknowledge that other show exists.”
        I’m so happy we’re getting more discussion on that other show. I’m still bummed Koryn isn’t getting the love she deserves, but maybe we’ll get a shout out next week when she’s undoubtedly in the top 10 and undoubtedly kills is yet again.

  11. CMB says:

    Idol has definitely put the best 7 in the running. America got it right 2 weeks in a row. Now, it’s poor song choice and major flubs that are going to knock people out. I wish the Idol kids were getting the amount of mentoring that I feel the Voice contestants get. I still prefer Idol because, viewers can form a better connection with the contestants. We see them every week without the long breaks in between and they are not just a cog in some team’s wheel. Voice seems to be overly focused on the team aspect, but it’s a turn-off for a lot of viewers. I’m not so sure that I agree with Team Christina being the top team on the Voice. She always finds a way to sabotage her own team with bad song choices or strange staging. I think Sawyer, Mia or Joshua Davis will more likely pull off a win.

    • Simon says:

      My top 7 would have included Sarina and Adanna over Nick and Rayvon, but besides that I think it’s pretty good. And I totally agree about Christina sabotaging her contestants. Remember how phenomenal Matthew Schuler started out?

  12. Jill Moy says:

    What’s so great about the talent on these shows? There’s a few good singers on each show! The voice talent is superior! AI is a joke! Jax is a Joax, or should I say Hoax! She can’t sing and Rayvon is no good! Joey is a clown with very average vocals! You all know the good talent on both shows! But there isn’t anything so wonderful about either show!

    • Jerry says:

      You are stupid and this made no sense.

      • Jill Moy says:

        no JERRY, YOU ARE THE FOOL! Obviously you haven’t heard good singing in your life! These singers are nothing special….PERIOD!

    • jen mac says:

      i know im late with my comments but I agree with you almost every week, Why is this crazy spell everyone is under with Jax?? she is not a good singer and after this week ugh!!! vocals were all over the place. Her performances reminded me of a high school talent show!!!!

  13. Angelstorm says:

    I’m not really feeling Clark either – I mean he has a fantastic voice and the boy is beautiful but . . .I feel like there’s something missing…

  14. Carrie says:

    Reality check is my jam but was waiting for some Slezak-Doolittle feedback on the Jaxification of Gaga which, despite her ensemblage was her worst performance to date and will not be surprised if she and Nick are in the Bottom 2 (though I fear a three-peat for the man with the gorgeous voice and somewhat bland persona.) And to bring Michael and Melinda together – if you could take Quentin’s eye-motion and teach that to Clark? WINNING! For me – Clark, Quentin and Tianna/Joey in the top 3! Joey is more unique and has also had a miss week – but when Tianna nails it she is a beast so I’m torn, but I agree with Slezak on Quentin – he has something special and its the the only time I have ever disagreed with the divine Ms. Doolittle so wholeheartedly.

  15. Vicky Enriquez says:

    Yep,Tyanna was the best of the night! My pick is Tyanna for the winner, and Nick and Clark, as either second or third, unless Tyanna opens the door for them. That’s my top 3 pick! Joey is different, but not better! They are all Special in their own way, but they can’t be all the top 3. I would definitely like to see Tyanna, Nick, Clark, Rayvon and Jax on the tour, as the top 5 on the tour though. Heck, I say make it the top 10! Where’s the rest of the fans of the other 5 going to be during the tour. They won’t have bought a ticket to see their Idol, if their Idol isn’t even going to be there! It makes no sense! Anyways, thanks for doing the Reality Check, as I look forward to it every week!;) You two are very funny, and entertaining!;)

  16. Jerry says:

    I wish you didn’t spend so much time on The Voice compared to Idol. The contestants aren’t even THAT amazing like you keep throwing at us every week.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Counterpoint: The Voice is having the best season ever and its contestants are giving us a lot more to talk about than Idol. To be fair, Idol is also having a good season, but The Voice is just blowing them out of the water, which the ratings confirm.

      • Jerry says:

        The Voice isn’t “blowing them out of the water.” You are just biased towards the Voice. There’s good singers, but none that are that interesting. And the ratings mean nothing. The Voice’s ratings aren’t great either, but no matter how good idol’s talent is and no matter how bad the Voice’s talent is, the ratings would be roughly the same. You are talking about a 14 year old show vs. a 4 year old show. Sit down child. There’s more to talk about with idol(and the fact that nobody from the voice will be a star).

        • analythinker says:

          Your choice of words is proof that you’re the one biased, towards Idol.

        • jag says:

          Years of telecast does not prove anything for the current Season of both shows. You are as good as your last performance. Idol in so many levels can’t reach the Voice in talents alone. 20 contestants dropped into 12 and I was thinking unfair. Idol 1 out per week im already itching for the to 3 coz i cant stand how far is the difference between the contestants. Joey on the Voice will be like Xtina saying “You’re good” then a long silence, Xtina glances on both sides. Lets reverse the situation, Corey being critiqued by Jeniffer “your so damn cute” followed by things that does not do anything for the contestant. need to say more?

        • Hayder B. Hayden says:

          Ratings do matter–ask the advertisers and network executives. Right now The Voice is destroying AI. Last week’s Voice results show got 50% more viewers than AI’s live competition. Is that simply because The Voice is newer? Being newer didn’t help X-Factor much, did it? And btw, AI hasn’t produced a hit making star since The Voice entered the fray. Both shows are 0 for the last four years.

      • Jerry says:

        And Deanna, Corey, Brian, and Hannah’s performances just cement the fact that its NOT the “best season evah!” They were all terrible. You are just saying its the best season because you are drinking Slezak Kool-Aid. You probably think last season(Season 7) was better than this year of idol, don’t you? That was one of their worst seasons.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I think you’re coming unhinged, Jerry. I hated last season of The Voice, and this season of Idol is a million times better than that trainwreck we had in season 7. Reagan James… shudder. I am allergic.
          I’m not biased to one format or the other. I go where the better singers are.

          • Timmah says:

            I think The Voice has the better singers this season, but Idol has the better artists and entertainers. Particularly Joey and Quentin, and I guess I’d throw Jax in there for her artistry even though I don’t personally care for her.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I will absolutely agree with you on Joey. Joey is an artist through and through. I will buy her album immediately whether she wins or not. Quentin… no. I need my singers to be able to hit correct notes. I can’t deal with his pitch issues. He might well be amazing, but the pitch problems make me fast forward through his performances. And Jax I don’t get. I can’t tell if I love her or hate her.
            The Voice I think has several contestants this season who are ready to start recording right this second. India is probably the best but we’d never know it from the song choices (ugh ugh ugh). And I know you disagree, but I think Koryn is also ready. That voice of hers is special. Her inexperience shines through at times, but the issues she has are fixable. Mia is also an impressive musician and artist, but she missed the mark for me tonight badly.

  17. Quentin needs to be on TV in some way, shape or form. He’s just got something magnetic about him…plus he is super visually appealing. I do see what Melinda is saying about his voice, but he does have an “it” factor.

  18. Jax says:

    Why spend so much time on The Voice? Did you switch teams?

  19. JON says:

    I’m still sad that Sarina Joi Crowe got eliminated already.

  20. zac says:

    Have you seen/heard Clark’s songs on Spotify? They’re quite good. ANd he has a music video on vevo. And yes, I think he’ll win the competition.

    On The Voice, someone from Christina’s team should be at least in the finals. Their talent is crazy

  21. Jan says:

    I really like Tyanna a lot … even on her “off” weeks, I liked her batter than some others. Crazy about Reality Check!!

  22. lorie says:

    I guess I’ll have to start watching The Voice.

  23. Liz says:

    Michael, I am with you. My top three are Quentin, Joey & Jax with Tiana my fourth. That will never happen though because there are too many women in there and the voters will never allow it.

    I am also not in love with Clark. Yes, he has a great voice but when I think about whose CD I would want to listen to, I just don’t think I would enjoy his as much as the other four. He doesn’t have that “it” for me.

    • jj says:

      I’m the opposite. Clark is the only one I think I would want to listen to an entire CD worth. Quentin’s vocal weaknesses will be all the more apparent when you remove the stage presence (as it would be on a CD), and with Joey and Jax, I am not sure I could handle that many of their songs in a row.

  24. Jason says:

    It’s not fair. Melinda was able to take a step back, and analyze why Clark wasn’t working for Slezak. Slezak should do the same… or, at the very least, acknowledge that what Melinda is saying week after week about Quentin has merit.


  25. Erica says:

    I feel like Michael broke his record of I’m-a-married-man’s per season this season. I also agree with him…. Quentin (or Joey!) is just 100x more compelling to watch than Clark.

  26. Angie_Overrated says:

    No Koryn love? Boo! But I get it. This season has so many talented singers it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few to talk about.
    Good catch, Melinda, on Meghan being sick. There was a ceiling on her range last week that confused me, but I missed her nose running. That does change things substantially. And she sounded wonderful tonight, so yeah, Meghan is back.
    Can Kimberly win this all? I’d support that!

    • Jerry says:

      You are stupid if you think its the best season ever of the Voice. Talk about hyperbole! You probably even think its better than the best season of Idol(Season 11). Hannah, Corey, Deanna, and Brian confirmed it isn’t the “best season ever!”

      Also, why didn’t you make a comment on idol? It shows that you are biased towards the Voice(which creates flops, not stars).

      • Angie_Overrated says:


      • jag says:

        again? why the hate on Voice? Biased? what about you attacking all Voice lovers?Troll that much?

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Jerry (or Justin as he/she/it went by last year) is a known troll. His/Her/Its objective is to derail any constructive conversation about The Voice and is pretty easy to manage by simply ignoring him/her/it and not giving the desired reaction, which is a caustic dialogue where no one wins.

      • Brigid says:

        You are hysterical! The best Season of Idol was Season 1. Everything after Chris Daughtry was booted was crap. No one has become a star from that show since him. Neither of these shows will create a star because they are over saturated. People watch them for pure entertainment and when it’s over, so are the winners careers. One and done!!!

  27. cjc says:

    “He’s like Sigfried and Roy without the Tiger.”
    “What in the world!?!?”


    Can we all chip in and buy Melinda a new camera? I need to see her hilarity in HD.

  28. logan sweeney says:

    Clark will win, and should win!!!

  29. Kerry Kolsch says:

    Michael you were always supporting Kris Allen, with his Arkansas cheating, over Adam lambert. You do not have much credibility. Sawyer Fredericks will win the voice because the 16 year old is the real deal.There is no one like him and he is already an incredible songwriter.

    • karenb says:

      What’s the connection between Kris, Adam and Sawyer?

    • Mary says:

      Kerry you have no credibility, same old, same old. How many years now?? Definition of insanity is repeating the same thing hoping for different results. Move on.

    • trimaran12 says:

      If you truly believe there was cheating, file a class action lawsuit on behalf of all the Season 8 contestants who made the voting rounds. Otherwise, please let it go. Adam is doing just fine without winning the show.

  30. Carola says:

    Love this! ANd I agree with Michael, QUENTIN HAS TO BE IN THE TOP 3! A finale without him would be just plain lame.

  31. DarkDefender says:

    Michael, Michael, Michael.. Quentin in your top 3?


  32. mark says:

    I agree, Clark could benefit from an eye transplant from Quentin…that might complete his appeal for all of us…although Michael might not be satisfied since Clark is simply non-competitive with Quentin in imagination, fantasy and style…and the game is on!

  33. lking says:

    Don’t watch The Voice, but I wonder why they seem to have better singers than Idol, but don’t seem to have careers after the show. JS…I like Quentin, has and Jiey for the top three also Michael. I know realistically Clarke will probably win this, but he just boring to watch. Have no clue what it would take to make him more interesting.

  34. Mary says:

    Sorry Melinda I am with Michael regarding Quentin. He pulls you in, yes his vocals aren’t perfect but he has the “it” factor. Yes Clark and Rayvon have the voice they are like dull dishwater, just there. My top three would be Quentin, Joey and Tyanna. I am resign that Clark will probably win, but Scott has got his work cut out for him

    • Jess says:

      I agree! Quentin really does know how to work the camera and naturally has it- no matter what he will succeed after Idol.

  35. Kathy says:

    Listening to Reality Check is always a fabulous time

  36. Jess says:

    Awesome Reality Check , spot on points and I’m with Michael about Quentin. Only negative is why did we get 7 min’s for the Voice and it was 1st? I can’t get into that show and hate I had to fast forward. Sad to see the end coming for AI even though we really do have a fantastic group this season.

  37. THANK YOU FOR THE VOICE LOVE! Yes, I know I’m shouting, but I’m really, really happy to see it.

  38. danin says:

    Quentin, Tyanna, Clark. My faves.

  39. joey says:

    It’s about time you started out Reality Check with the Voice. After seven and a half seasons of the Voice, with the many multi-platinum recordings, grammies, etc. the Voice contestants have been responsible for, you have finally given the Voice its due. No wait! I might be mistaken.

  40. Trisha says:

    Joey’s jazz style is fantastic, I hope she does that with every tune from now on, Harry & his “don’t be so retro” advice be damned. Her Miss Independent & Mad World covers were 180 degrees apart and yet totally her. A killer voice/unique tone and emotional delivery are key. Don’t get that combo from anyone else on the show. Keep hoping Quentin’s going to find his voice. The Voice is Sawyer’s to lose, he is mesmerizing.

  41. Lyn says:

    QUENTIN for me too!! Such presence! I agree with Michael. Sorry Melinda. Clark doesn’t do it for me either. Same ole, same ole.

  42. marie says:

    All day yesterday, I kept refreshing the “American Idol” tag, and Reality Check did not appear. Finally found it this morning by searching for Michael Slezak. Look, you want to emphasize The Voice over Idol, ok. But Reality Check MUST be tagged under American Idol as well as under The Voice.
    That said, I’m sad Idol seems to have been given the back seat to Voice.
    I have to say, I’m 100% with Michael on his “emotional top three.” I have nothing but respect for Melinda, but I am totally in Quentin’s corner.

  43. Denote says:

    Well, I agree with Michael – A Quentin, Joey and JAX/CLark top three would make me happy. Love Quentin. Melinda was on point when she said there is someone for everyone.

  44. Tammy says:

    Thank you for the Voice discussion. I just watched after I know who is gone…. boo this week to Mia and Joey being eliminated. It’s just wrong wrong wrong.

  45. Darrell Whitten says:

    Quentin looked and acted like a street thug last night. He should be thankful for the opportunity he has been given yet, he acted like it was owed to himself, Joey, and Trayvon. I say “out with Quentin”.