Reality Check: How Nick Snatched Clark's Idol Crown! Plus: Who's the Hidden Threat to Sawyer's Voice Reign?

Another season of American Idol — its penultimate one! — is in the books, and the guy who almost everybody wrote off as a mid-pack player turned out to be the last one standing.

On this week’s episode of Reality Check, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I examine Nick Fradiani’s upset victory — while trying not to think too much about how The House That Kelly Clarkson Built is slated for demolition this time next year.

We also dish the Season 14 finale — including our favorite vocal moments and the interludes that left us scratching our heads. (Wait, did we enjoy J.Lo’s singing?!)

Plus, we look at The Voice‘s Season 8 Top 4 — and it’s Melinda who provides concrete evidence of why it’s not smart to bet the entire mortgage on wonder kid Sawyer Fredericks.

Press PLAY above for the full Reality Check experience, then hit the comments to share your thoughts on the week in reality singing competitions!

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. Zach says:

    Rayvon totally owned the finale for me. He upstaged his duet partner and had the smoothest silkiest vocals of the night. Definitely will be buying all of his music post idol and he has a true fan in me. :)

    • Holly says:

      Agreed, he was wonderful. But I have to say I would have liked him a lot better this season if he had taken off the damn hat!

  2. BobbieJo says:

    No one can stand in Sawyer’s way. HE’S GOT THIS. lol

    • Gailer says:

      Don’t count Blake out èver unfortunately

      • BobbieJo says:

        Sawyer has over double the iTunes multipliers of Meghan so there is no way she will win.

      • Its strange, but realized every contestant but sawyer was a “saved contestant, which means that each judge tried to throw out one of them and someone else saved them. Its odd that these finalists, who are great, were at one time thrown off a team AND the original people they KEPT were voted off by America! Josh was Blake’s, Koryn was Christina’s, and I cant remember who Meghan was with. Christina also? It goes to show judges arent always right. And now Christina sits with no one left on her team, but she chose to throw Koryn aside!

        • Sara Garcia says:

          Megan was with Pharrell

          • Sara, yes thats right. Megan was with Pharrell Its like they all got switched around to different teams. They were all switched except for Sawyer. They all were in a twitter save also, except for Sawyer. It weird because usually the top contestants were ones that stayed with the same judge. Oh except CWB,he got shifted around too! He was my choice last year! Love CWB. But he also got that great makeover from Gwenn.

    • TinLV says:

      Sawyer has some things going for him, I’ll give you that…. he’s young, he’s cute… he’s basically adorable,, but if he is chosen as the winner, the Voice still will not produce the mega-star they have been waiting for.. His style and voice are well suited to all these old songs he sings on the show, but I can’t imagine he will sell many songs in the real world of today’s music scene. He just won’t fit in. I’m pretty sure Meghan won’t either. And Josh has a nice voice, but he’s boring. He he even made my all-time favorite song, Hallelujah, boring. That song is about longing and regret and passion and pain.. he just didn’t sing it that way. Koryn has the sound and look and she can sing contemporary songs just as well as she does the old ballads and blues.. he singing is always passionate and never boring..; she seems the most likely of the final four to make money in the music business and that’s why I’m voting for her. .

      • T. B. Hammer says:

        Koryn also has an inside track with a major Music Producer in Pharrell. She will be signed as soon as the show is over and everyone can expect to see her on the charts in the years to come. ………..She doesn’t need to win, she’s already on the way. She is a powerful young 17 year-old voice that will make it in the business . ………………….by the way, how many prime or favorable spots in the singing rotation, did Sawyer have this season??

        • Cristal Angel says:

          That’s exactly why Pharrell was determined to save her. I remember when she initially chose Christina instead of him. He knew what he was looking for when he wrote Bright Fire and patiently waited for the right new gifted artist to come! There’s a lot to be said for wisdom.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I just hope he gives Koryn better music to sing than that schlock he handed her for the finale. That was dreadful. And I say that as a huge Koryn fan. Even as a superfan I refuse on principle to download that song.

          • Cristal Angel says:

            Keep in mind, it wasn’t written for her. He was already working on that one which is what a renowned songwriter/producer/artist does. Pharrell is a creative genius when it comes to making good music. He’ll make sure she gets where she’s going as a recording artist after The Voice. She actually did that rushed to get it finished for The Voice little-diddy some justice! Don’t forget Koryn likes to sing from her heart and soul about whatever she’s doing in the moment…making a pizza!! That’s what taking a song’s lyrics and making them your own is all about!

  3. Kate says:

    Goodbye, Idol. Thanks for being disappointing enough that I feel at peace with one of my all-time favorite shows being cancelled. Please, please, PLEASE give us a separate results show next year, even if it’s 5 minutes long or online. The format was the #1 thing that made this season troubling.
    And a sincere THANK YOU to Michael, Melinda and Jason. You make me laugh on bad days and make me think critically about Idol. You are what I’ll miss most when the show ends.

    • Gailer says:

      I hate the new format!

    • Ann says:

      True. For many years, people have been begging to to rid of the bloated results show. This year, they finally did that. I was okay with no results show this year. They just didn’t do it right. The green chairs were dumb. I think what they need to do is introduce the bottom two at the beginning of the show, then let both of them sing to open the show while allowing live viewers a chance to save one of them, but don’t limit it to just tweets or else the Rayvons of the world will stay way past their welcome. All calls, internet votes, tweets…etc…close the voting like 10 minutes before the end of the show, then eliminate one at the end of the show. This allows everyone to perform the songs they practiced and allows those who weren’t in the bottom two to sing without the additional fear of elimination. I didn’t like the awkwardness of not allowing the third place finisher to sing the songs she worked so hard on. That should definitely be fixed next year.

  4. Gailer says:

    If TPTB are smartly reading here, get back the old idol boards where we can bond with other idol fans on daily basis

  5. Jill Moy says:


  6. John says:

    At least we have one more season of Reality Check, right? RIGHT?

    • Susan says:

      YES to REALITY CHECK! SERIOUSLY give Michael/Melinda a tv show.I’d love to go out for drinks with these two. It would be the best night out.EVER We’d bring all of Michael’s top 35 less one.Party!

  7. Caroline says:

    Lol, there’s no hidden threat to Sawyer. He’s winning this in a rout. The guy is at #2 & #4 on iTunes with his songs from tonight’s finale.

  8. Caroline says:

    Nick better watch out. Scott B is probably noticing how Sawyer has crushed Nick on iTunes. And BMLG has a distribution deal with Republic/UMG, so I can see Scott B trying to get Sawyer on BMLG — and ignoring Nick in the process.

    • Shannon says:

      Scott probably realizes by now that sales from the Voice contestants during the show tell you nothing about their post-show success.

  9. Kathy Cochran says:

    Personally, I think Slezak is under the influence of something. Doesn’t he get it? You talk it but put on your thinking hat, Slezak! Yes, Clark’s songs sucked but not because of Clark. How do you sing sucky songs well, particularly if you know you’ve been thrown under the bus? Once again, I say it. I am glad Clark didn’t win because that creep Borchetta would have given him crappy songs to record and then dropped him, saying ‘I told you so’. He is such a creep!

    • Mark says:

      …I couldn’t agree more, Kathy. It was obvious to me from the moment that Borchetta’s negative feelings about Clark became so intense they couldn’t even be edited out of the taped packages – that the outcome was going to be a win for Nick.

      • Mary says:

        I don’t think it was negative feelings, Scott knew the Clark was going to be hard to work with plus his style is not easy to promote. IMO Clark is not main stream, I don’t even know what radio station he would promote it too. I think Clark song fit the anthem more than Nick does, and with effort he could of made it work. Oh well good luck to all the contestants.

      • karenb says:

        The whole thumbs up thing when Nick won made it obvious who he was cheering for. Grrr

    • Eurydice says:

      Oh, I don’t know about that. The contestants are forced to sing crappy songs all the time and the really good ones manage to rise above that. I think Benny and the Jets is a hugely crappy song, basically the musical equivalent of a three-legged camel, with its lack of melody and ponderous rhythm, but Haley managed to make something interesting out of it. I just think the Clark didn’t pace himself well, he didn’t habe the same stamina as Nick and he ran out of energy.

  10. Jill Moy says:

    It’s true, Koryn can be a mush mouth! Gosh, Pharrell can’t sing at all!

    Contrary to popular belief, one can not bet in the state of NV, including Las Vegas, on any event requiring a vote. This includes elections, reality shows, etc. You can bet off shore or with a bookie!

    Some Nevada csinos posts the odds on these events but there’s a footnote under the odds….FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. NO WAGERS ACCEPTED.


    • Cristal Angel says:

      Singing may not be Pharrell’s strongest suit, but he can sure as heck write and produce hit songs in multiple genres.

  11. Brendan says:

    Cuz Nick was the WGWG and Clark was WGWMI (White Guy With Multiple Instruments)…. and showing less than complete devotion to the G means you lose. Duh.

  12. Tahoe Mike says:

    You know, I’ve always wondered how different Idol would be if it took place on the radio. I’d love to see Ryan Seacrest reinvent it as a radio program, where we don’t see the contestants on TV until maybe the top five or so. What if it really was a singing contest? “Video killed the radio star!”
    I was so mad at how they handled Jax’s elimination that I didn’t watch the rest of that show or the finale. I just YouTubed Jax and Joey’s finale moments and called it a season.
    I hope you will get to interview Jax, and present her with this seasons flowers. I’m looking forward to that.
    See y’all next year for one last time.

  13. silentmajority says:

    My thoughts on the Season 14 outcome. Like her or not, the cold hearted dumping of Jax was a disgrace. With the right team around her she has the potential to be successful enough to not care how that all went down, but it’s a black mark on American Idol’s reputation that can’t be erased. Clark will make a decent living performing Christian-flavored blues-pop for people old enough to remember Ray Charles and Otis Redding. Nick has a shot to be the next Philip Phillips or David Cook. I don’t think any of the top three finalists will be perennial chart toppers like Clarkson or Underwood, but they all have viable careers in music ahead of them. This season was a little different in the sense that the top 12 were exceptionally talented as a group compared to past seasons, but the talent was very evenly distributed. That meant there wasn’t the usual two or three standouts who consistently blow us away. They were all good (except Daniel), but nobody was great. Last of all, the format was terrible. I like Melinda’s solution. Let them all compete first, then reveal the bottom two and open the voting at the end. Glad to hear Per Blankens quit. He had more bad ideas than good ones imo. I hope next year the show goes out with a bang. It’s been a great ride.

    • Nan says:

      For years they didn’t open the voting until the end of the show. Open voting during the show is to judge how many are viewing live. It’s a sponsors thing. I doubt it makes any difference in the outcome.

    • Kathy Cochran says:

      Oh, and none of the other contestants sang covers of old songs? All they have to choose from are songs on their lists. That’s it. Clark is also a fairly good songwriter. He is particularly good with interesting chord progressions. Then there was the Michael McDonald duet. Simply amazing! Anyone who doesn’t have a tin ear, who knows music and/or is a musician knows Clark was the best singer . Even Keith said so in an interview after the show. And his career won’t be in Christian Music. He has made that clear. Ultimately, he will be the one with a long career. Nick will drown in the dime-a-dozen singer swamp, never to be heard from again.

  14. lorie says:

    I can’t wait for the individual Idol interviews. Are they coming?

  15. karenb says:

    “GOD OUT” has got to be the funniest line ever from The Fabulous Editor

  16. Smokey says:

    This is a season where we are likely to see a more successful music future for contestant’s from the Voice , than from Idol. ….With young aspiring artists like Sawyer, Koryn and some others getting exposure,,, like Mia Z, etc….. it can be a launching pad for more than one. …..Danielle Bradbery has had a good deal of success from The Voice, won at age 16, and is very well known in Country Music now.

  17. Holly says:

    Melinda you are brilliant! That is exactly how they should do Idol eliminations the final season. Also, they should get the spotlight off the “superstar judges” and shine it on the people we really care about – the contestants!

  18. Kathy A says:

    Melinda and Michael are great, but Jason … no weeks off during season 15, please! I laughed out loud several times during this. Thanks!

    • Puchinsmom says:

      Made me laugh, Jason! Soo glad we get to see one last reality check next week. Glad there’s others out there who appreciated Joey, and kind of lost interest when she left. But I hope all the contestants do well.
      And BTW, I agree that Jax’s elimination was CLOSE to the worst thing ever on Idol. But… do y’all remember when they told Maddie she wasn’t in the top 24, and THEN they told that other singer she WAS? (Becky, was it? ). Then they brought Maddie back in and changed their minds? That was actually worse imo. Altogether too much insensitivity going on.

  19. Lking says:

    Still think they need more than the top 5 to make the tour worth paying to see. Loved Melindas idea for next seasons eliminations. This year eliminations SUCKED!!!

  20. Barbara says:

    I’m glad Idol is getting the boot after seeing what happened this season.
    One question…why did they not comment on Nick’s terrible hair? Clark’s was so important it seemed..

    • Donny Brook says:

      The only way there was a shot for getting another season after next, was for the exec producers to clean house of the Judges and Host, cut expenses and re-tool the show. ……….Since J. Lo and the cast of highly paid celebrity insiders are coming back for the last big wheel borrow of cash from the Idol Legacy, there is no way they can improve ratings. The main producer Per Blankens, even resigned, which is the only improvement that came from this season so far. Adding Borchetta as a Big Machine psuedo-mentor and giving him camera time was almost as bad as putting Nikki and Mariah on the panel at the same time.

  21. Lauren says:

    Shout out to Jason Averett, that was the best editing! Thank you for all the commentary! I’m so glad there’s more Idol discussion next week!

  22. Betsy says:

    Kudos to Jason the editor :)

  23. Lyn says:

    Michael and Melinda – you are so hysterical! Production this week was masterful!

    Re: Idol – I am not sad about Nick winning — but super sad about how Jax was treated on the elimination show. I agree, the Finale was great overall and I’m so glad many of the top 10 got another moment to shine. I hope I get so see Quentin and Joey down the road.

    Re: Voice – In addition to the inane coach comments each time I am amazed how much Pharrell is pushing Koryn to win over Sawyer. I can see why The Voice initally asked Sawyer him to try out for the show. He is so unique and worthy — I enjoy all his performances. I too loved India’s Earth Song. Whoa! Each of them has had a moment over the course of the season, and I applaud the show for providing a platform for each of them to shine. I still prefer American Idol and will miss it greatly.

  24. darcy's evil twin says:

    Ah, Jason was back with a super editing job!
    Thanks, Michael and Melinda for your commentary, as usual. I will treasure every single Reality Check next season. :-(

  25. CKfromDC says:

    Congrats, Nick. Let’s hope history doesnt repeat itself and you dont find yourself in the circular file as quickly as Candace and Caleb did at Interscope and 21.

    Cut the album NOW. Get all those shiny happy people to do their jobs, and get the album out before they forget about you.