Reality Check: How the American Idol Judges Are Failing Their Faves! Plus: Who Didn't Earn Their Top 14 Slot?

Week one of American Idol‘s Season 15 semifinals are in the books, and my Reality Check co-host Melinda Doolittle and I have more questions than we do answers.

Why aren’t the judges giving constructive feedback to Thomas Stringfellow, Gianna Isabella and La’Porsha Renae? Why exactly was the Idoloonie Nation shut out of the voting process? Was it too dang early for All-Star duets? And what in the name of Toy Story was going on with Jeneve Rose Mitchell’s wardrobe choices?

Melinda and I not only tackle these matters of national importance, but also definitively weigh in on the pronunciation of the word “special,” dish rising contestant Avalon Young’s possible Achilles’ heel, and (along with our trusty editor Jason Averett) fall into am extended Harry Potter flight of fancy in which yours truly plays the villain.

Press PLAY on this mess above, then hit the comments with your thoughts on the week in Idol!

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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84 Comments
  1. becky says:

    don’t agree about avalon…. she seems like Avril 2.0 to me. how is that authentic? I think La’Porsha is incredible, though. I think she can perform and I think she does know who she is, which came through in the duet. Jeneve is unique, but that’s not always good, in my opinion.

    • JoMarch says:

      Avalon isn’t authentic enough for you, but La’Porsha is? Wow, that’s bizarre to me. La’Porsha has talent, but original? She’s like so many R&B and gospel singers. She even channeled Tina turner for her Proud Mary. She’s great and I would have no problem if she were the winner, but please, authentic she is not.

      • Red says:

        La’Porsha is nothing but a string of runs that obscure the melody and any meaning of the song. IMO she’s a one trick pony and a copycat. If she goes far and Lee Jean gets eliminated you’re going to see some serious merde.

      • JMay says:

        I was going crazy when ‘tasia and LP were doing the Summertime duet, throwing my hands up in the air and actually saying sing heffa! No lie. However, it is a case of been there, done that and I don’t think she can get very far just on killer runs. If runs and a great voice was what it took, Joshua Ledet would have won hands down.

        • Lizzie says:

          Joshua oversang as the competition moved along. He was good but not great, and he didn’t hit all of the things in the checklist to win. But, that is true of everyone after Phillip Phillips, as proven by the nonsuccess of Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, and Nick F. who can’t even get an album out after almost of a year. All of the singers who would rather hit a big stretch of runs are enough to make me tune out, so that Fantasia-LaPorsha mess at the end, was just painful.

          • ytime says:

            What, was you watching the same show. I’m so glad Kelly the first idol, will have a say in the voting. She has been singing and cutting hits for ten years, including singing runs. The un fair part comes in when white females between the ages of 11 and 19 vote for cute boys, popular looks, and theatricals performances.

      • Lizzie says:

        I don’t like Avalon, either, I find her very offputting. Her voice is okay. If she would get out of her sweats to come to the show, I might be willing to listen to her one more week. The grunge era is over.

    • jr. says:

      Stringfellow and Mackenzie should not have gotten this far. LaPorsha was the best! The country girl is second best. Surprised this season that there are not any good men contestants. With AGT they come out supposedly as a full profesional, ready for their Las Vegas gig if they win. But I thought American Idol sought out new talent to mold into an American Idols, by grooming them through the season. That guy who sang with Fantasia should have gotten through. IMO. With guidance he could have been a contender.

      • Shazza says:

        THIS!!!

      • ytime says:

        Yes to most of what you say, but it’s the ones who votes that makes the difference. Yes, a popularity contest in which the 11 to 19 year old white females rules. They will continue to vote for the cute guys who can barely sing. Hopefully this year having Kelly’s in put might help with the logic and not with the faves.

    • Tom22 says:

      I wonder what part of the country you’re from ? Avalon is about as normal of a 21 year old girl as you can get in California. Self confident, knowing herself. neither better or worse than the person standing next her in line at the supermarket etc. LA is a bit different from San Diego(where she’s from) than LA or San Francisco. The Tech company execs, some worth billions, often go to work in jeans and hoodies. That is not an affectation but just being comfortable without putting on airs. She looks like she might have played women’s soccer or volleyball for years and got that confidence of a woman athlete (or it’s similar to that sort of pony tailed, little makeup of an athletic competitor even if her sport was skateboarding or surfing etc).
      .
      I suppose I could consider everyone from the South talking with a twang and having a “a shucks” attitude just being another un-original, fake country star but I know people from that part of the country talk that way. You don’t need to like Californians but at least recognize what we’re genuinely like.

      • Ben says:

        Well said. Avalon seems completely genuine and down to earth to me.

      • HTGR says:

        Yeah she seems legit natural to me. You can run into tons of the lifestyle surfer/skateboarder girls like her at any 7-11 or whatnot near the beach even since the mid-90s.

    • Mary says:

      Wow I guess it is true everyone has different taste. Avalon was the only one I liked. I am not into the loud screeching runs so LaPorsha, although talented, wouldn’t purchase an album of hers. I like McKenzie on some songs, but was not thrilled with this week. Felt bad for Emily but I can justify why she didn’t make it, but come on if it wasn’t for Brenda Star her daughter would of been out by now. Stephanie was way better and I wasn’t even thrill with her.

      • Scout says:

        Ditto, Avalon. I love the easy breezy thing she is doing. I am so over the runs and screeching thing. Runs need to be doled out judiciously, not a crutch.

    • Timmah says:

      I couldn’t care less about the skateboarding tomboy thing. I just don’t care for the nasally tone.

    • HTGR says:

      How is LaPorscha any more authentic? I didn’t even think Avril once yet and actually I’m still not particularly seeing it regarding Avalon even after you’ve mentioned it. Avalon just seems like a lifestyle surfer or skateboard chic of the post 80s era. Maybe not my style (I’d go for the pre-grunge era styles more myself or more of an Avril-style myself), nor is Porscha’s, but whatever.

  2. Puchinsmom says:

    Laughing too hard to comment at the moment…..

  3. kcostell says:

    Completely forgetting to mention James seems like an accurate representation of his Idol run

  4. RD says:

    Jeneve,really? really?! I don’t believe her for a second.

    • Scout says:

      It’s hard to take her seriously when she dresses like a cartoon. Her parents are dressed pretty conventionally, which makes the get ups look even more contrived. I like her though.

    • Lemon says:

      Everything about Jeneve is Theatrical. She performs as if she’s playing a role in a Musical. Much of her duet with Scotty was an exercise in Sprechgesang. Her voice is mediocre at best, so I admire her ability to distract from that fact in such an effective way.

    • Ben says:

      She is the one I find easily the most believable. She comes across as so genuine. Her and Avalon.

    • twell says:

      Where does one even find the clothes that Jeneve wears? I do not get her at all.

    • Rochridge says:

      Even if she lives off the grid , she would have to jump in her time machine to get the clothes she wears. Strange.

    • Lizzie says:

      I think that is Jeneve’s real self, and I don’t see it selling any records.

  5. John says:

    Spot. On. Spot on. I don’t get the Thomas fixation, and while I like Gianna, I don’t think she should have made it through. Such a bizarre week.

    • Ben says:

      I think TVLine is a little harsh on Gianna. I don’t think she deserved to get through as much as Stephanie Negrety, but I think she deserved to get in more than Thomas. Emily, Jenna, James and Jordan were all fair cuts, and for me Thomas would have been the fifth cut. That means Gianna was still in my top 7. Seventh for sure, but still…

  6. Jason Paul says:

    Ha ha, you’re killing me! Fai-eather Stringfellow needs to go

  7. Joel says:

    Jeneve and Jianna are very overrated by the judges and would never make it on the radio. Also can you talk about how idol apparently is buying see thru long skirts in bulk and putting them on every girl. It’s a bizarre wardrobe choice when they are all wearing them.

  8. Rob says:

    Honestly I’m just going to forget about last week and focus on this week. I can’t wait to see JLo and Haley come face to face again.

  9. JB says:

    I agree with a lot of what Melinda and Michael say here. However, Jeneve? She’s atrocious in every way. Ugh!

  10. Timmah says:

    They are creating another forgettable season. Gimmicky girls and guys with guitars go through, while those who can actually sing get thrown to the curb. Also, if Nick is Patti LaBelle then I’m Elton John.

    • Red says:

      Yeah. I’m crossing my fingers for Jenn Blosil, Dalton Rapattoni and Lee Jean. They are my hopefuls.

      • DELETED says:

        DELETED

      • Lizzie says:

        I like all three of those singers. Also Trent. We seem to have a lot of personality fails, along with bland to not great personality issues with several of the rest. Missing that “likeable” factor that Simon Cowell talks about, where people want to root for them to win.

    • Tom22 says:

      I’ll repectfully disagree. I think we’ve got a really nice group of kids who are all decent singers with a wide variety of styles. A number of them really connect to lyrics and exude confidence in an animated way while doing so. Their voices are strong enough to actually sing sufficiently while doing the most important part of a singers job.. conveying emotions. But again, that’s my opinion and preference. Just wanted to let producers know(if they’re reading) that some people like what they’re seeing

  11. judgingidol says:

    Yes, it’s too early for these duets, but what else could they do in a week like this where we have no vote and the cuts were likely already decided the first night? This was filler to get us to keep watching to at least see the past idols.

    • Lizzie says:

      I would rather have seen the past Idols coach the current contestants, and then have the formers sing on their own so that we could enjoy that.

  12. bgwheels says:

    amazing as always! Laughed so hard. And HP and Luna are PERFECT for MacK and Jenn, I cannot!

  13. jessica says:

    I don’t know why they bother having a top 24 if they are just going to put their favorites through regardless. Jordan outsang Gianna both nights. But the judges gave him negative feedback to make it look like his not being chosen was legit. It wasn’t. He wasn’t in my favorites before last week but his performances were definitely one of the top 7 and he grew on me. Maybe it was the hair cut!

  14. Tahoe Mike says:

    Just one take away from last nights Grammy awards show, Avalon Young sings a hell of a lot better than the Twerp Who Must Not Be Named on his own song.
    ~
    I think I will miss Reality Check more than Idol.

  15. Scout says:

    “expecto mcsqueakum” – LOL. Love you, Michael!!

  16. suggah says:

    OMG!! Thanks Michael for making me almost piss myself!! #ExpectoMcSqueekEm best line ever!

  17. Smokey says:

    I’m just not sure If I’m going to miss AI but I absolutely miss you guys. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t have a star this year. Not to say there isn’t talent but nothing huge. We shall see.
    Hope you guys keep on keeping on after the season………pure and real.

  18. PJ says:

    All these comments go to show everyone taste in music is unique & different. About the only one I’d consider buying an album of currently is MacKenzie. LaPorsha is a good singer, but I’m just not into the loud, big runs all the time. Doesn’t mean she can’t sing, I just don’t listen to that type of music. I think she’ll get a contract regardless of if she wins or not. As usual, a boy is going to win because the main people who call in to vote are younger girls. I still can’t figure out why the country girl is still in this. I’d like for her to get a makeover before she leaves.

    • Lizzie says:

      Of the 12 who competed this week, would listen to the music of Thomas, maybe Avalon, MacKenzie, and maybe Thomas, if I knew what he actually sounded like without the squeaks. Thomas and MacKenzie have the boy-band thing, and that is usually fairly popular. I wouldn’t listen to Gianna or Jeneve under any circumstances, and LaPorsha maybe for a show production but I don’t think she is Broadway caliber. Not sure if LaPorsha would get a record deal. The people who could get a record deal are in the second batch this week.

  19. marie says:

    I’m sure Thomas Stringfellow is a lovely young man, but thank you, Michael and Melinda, for saying everything I’ve been thinking about his performance style. Add bizarre pronunciation to the squeaking and I find him major-league annoying, hate to say.

    If you’re looking in that genre, Mackenzie Bourg is a lot more entertaining without the irritating affectations.

    Can’t wait to see Haley Thursday night – wonder who she’ll be partnered with. I kind of hope one of her partners will be Trent Harmon, my hands-down favorite this season so far (and likely to remain so – I would be shocked and horrified if he didn’t make it through this week).

    • Simon says:

      Couldn’t agree more about Haley. She and Trent would be perfect together. I kind of hope she also gets paired with Jenn (my other favorite contestant).

      • Emma says:

        NO, I don’t want Haley anywhere near Trent, I don’t want her getting sick, she’s got a radio promo tour for Can’t Help Falling In Love to do, she needs to be healthy! Hahah. She would be a great distraction from his ridiculous face pulling however.

    • Mary says:

      Trent has to control his facial expressions, cannot watch him sing. Voice is nice but not seeing star quality yet.

  20. Thomas? Seriously? Stringfaythir should be his new name But I think La’Porsha should be the #Winner and am a big fan of Avalon, too.

    Props to Michael and Melinda, as always, and producer Jason. Reality Check>>>AI 2016.

  21. DELETED says:

    DELETED

  22. Margo says:

    They have already decided who will win. So disappointed in this last season. Why bother

  23. trickster says:

    I don’t get the love Melinda is giving to La Porsha. Last season, they (Michael and her) both dinged Shi for imitating Amy Winehouse and the other artist during Hollywood week. But when La Porsha exactly imitates Tina Turner, she gave her a pass?!? Hell NO!

    • Lizzie says:

      Shi was weak – they seemed to have chosen her for her appearance, but she wasn’t a great singer, and she wasn’t particularly original. I’d like to hear LaPorsha sing something else, just some straight up singing that didn’t have run after run. I would keep LaPorsha into the Top 5 or 6 of all of the singers, but she seems to be getting more nervous – maybe she was just scared of Fantasia.

  24. M. Grier says:

    I have just returned to viewing American Idol after several years absence. After listening to the program for the past 3 weeks, I just have to say that generally, I am unimpressed by the vocal ability of a majority of the contestants. There are a few exceptions that stand out as possible members of the top ten line-up, but already a couple of good vocalists that I really liked have been eliminated by the judges. Jessica Cabral’s elimination proved that the competition is not really about good vocals, because she had it all…except perhaps an intriguing story. Also, Stephanie Negrete seemed to be a good candidate in all aspects but was sacrificed for other contestants. La’Posha and Avalon are both good vocalists. I agree both need further development. The program has changed. I miss Simon, Randy, and Paula..they did offer constructive feedback.

  25. CHICH says:

    Lost did they go home. havent seen lately

  26. Mr Steve Delgado Larque says:

    Well of course everyone has different taste in styles of music they like and who they like . People will support someone just because they are cute or something lame like that. If you really want to vote for the flavor of the moment instead of finding an entertainer that will last the test of time like kelly clarkson then you need to find a powerhouse or an artist with a unique style. Thomas, mackenzie, and laporsha and jeneve in my opinion were the best as well as the guy that did billy idols rebel yell. They took an older song and made it new. Or hhad a bit more artistry of feeling to their songs.Those are my choices. You can agree to disagree. I think this is a very strong season. But remember, only 1 will win. Even my choices may be losers. I hope one of your faves wins.n

  27. Dan C says:

    This was the best reality check of all time. Amazing choice of shows/movies! Didn’t want it to end.

  28. Andrew says:

    This is why this crappy show has been cancelled. I can´t remember a bunch of mediocre talent such as this in a long time. There is truly no potential star, but hey, there hasn´t been a decent winner since Phillip Phillips. I will miss Reality Check much more than the show itself.

  29. Lizzie says:

    James, I liked James.

  30. Dan says:

    Just have to say Melinda has it wrong. Mackenzie looks a lot more like Shane from Weeds then he does Harry Potter. I keep waiting for him to pull out the golf club.

  31. Joey says:

    Avalon is a star. Geneve is a bit of a star. La Portia has a voice, but may not be a star. Forget the rest. Amen.

  32. I don’t remember anything they said prior to the last 2 minutes, but those 2 minutes were gold! I vote both of you through!

  33. HTGR says:

    Hah you are the worst but that ending was LOL (and the truth!). Oh man. Sometimes the worst is LOL.

  34. HTGR says:

    Did feel bad for Emily. Unfortunate time for her one mess of a solo performance. Wrong key and song for her voice.