‘Reality Check’: How the Judges Are Failing the American Idol 2016 Finalists (VIDEO)
TVLine.com‘s resident reality TV expert Michael Slezak is back with American Idol 6 finalist Melinda Doolittle for the latest episode of Reality Check, as the duo gives their thoughts on the farewell season of American Idol!
So the first 12 singers in the Top 24 have performed, and Michael and Melinda are a lot less happy with last week’s show than I expected them to be, honestly. That said, their gripes aren’t without merit, as the hosts dig into the innumerable ways in which the judges are completely failing the American Idol finalists this season. Whether it’s refusing to call out Thomas Stringfellow on his obnoxious affectations or La’Porsha Renae on her Tina Turner impression, or whether it’s critiquing Jeneve Rose Mitchell on what might have been her best performance to date, the judges appear to be dropping the ball in ways we haven’t seen since the age of Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler. And even then, Randy Jackson would still get on a singer’s case about pitch problems, like some of the first 12 singers this week had. In short, it’s easy to see why Michael and Melinda were disappointed, and this might be their most insightful episode so far this season, because they go into detail on just what isn’t working about Idol this season. Sure, there have been some great ideas (the duets!), but they’ve been braced on either side by some pretty bad ones (no audience vote til Top 10!). Basically, if you’ve got a love/hate relationship with American Idol this season, this episode of Reality Check might just be the one for you. Watch the video below:
Ultimately, I’m in a bit of a disagreement about La’Porsha. I might have gone a bit overboard in my review, but I thought she delivered one of the best performances of the night by virtue of her vocals alone, and the fact that she seemed to have far more stage presence than the majority of her fellow contestants in that first group. Granted, I see exactly where Michael is coming from when he says we can’t have an American Idol winner who’s just a pale imitation of an iconic artist. But I agree with Melinda on this one. We’ve gotten so used to seeing artists come into this competition fully-formed that we’ve somewhat forgotten that, sometimes, a singer needs to use this platform to discover his/her artistry. It makes for a neat narrative as the competition goes on, at least, seeing artists mature and grow into themselves, whether they end up winning or not. Scotty McCreery on Top 5 week is LEAGUES different from Scotty McCreery in Hollywood Week, for example. I’m sure there’s a better example to be found, but that’s just what popped into my head for now. If you think of a better illustration of a contestant growing into an artist over the course of a single season — winner or not — please share in the comments!)
That said, I share the hosts’ disappointment over the downfall of Emily Brooke, who seemed like a sure bet going into this. I don’t really know what happened. Perhaps her fandom for Cassadee Pope overrode her better judgment in picking a song that would fit her? It’s hard to know, since song lists are so extremely limited, and she might not have even picked that song for herself. All I know is that I’m really going to miss her, particularly since, for all the flaws for this week, I think I’d still rather have her than Thomas Stringfellow.
But what do you think of this week’s show? Do you agree or disagree with Michael and Melinda’s opinions? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on American Idol, get the full results spoilers and duet pairings for the Semifinal Round #2 set to air this week!
Or, if you love Reality Check and want more, watch last week’s episode as Michael and Melinda get angry over the judges potentially eliminating the girl who could have WON Season 15!
Oh, and don’t forget to join us tonight for the live blog and recap of the American Idol 2016 Semifinal Round #2!