Tonight, Rising Star debuts on ABC. It will involve more audience interaction than any reality-based singing talent show ever has before, with viewers being able to download an app at the ABC.com site to let their votes be counted in real time. Hosted by Josh Groban, the experts, or judges, are Kesha, Ludacris, and Brad Paisley.
The social media avatars of at-home voters will show up on a huge Wall. Unlike The Voice, the experts will see the performers as they sing. The faces of the singers will be on the Wall. The acts get 90 seconds each to perform, and if they get 70 percent of America’s votes or better,the Wall will rise and they can continue on to the next stage of competition. Out of over 2,500 competitors who tried out, just 30 have made it onto tonight’s episode of Rising Star.
After Josh Groban told viewers a bit about the show, he introduced the three “experts.” The experts will not have a say in the initial voting, but they can reward up to 7 percent more points, and comment on the acts that perform. West Coast voters will have their votes used to “save” acts who are under the 70 percent mark.
Ludacris says that he thinks “individuality” will be the key to whether or not an act moves on. Kesha is looking for a singer to be “believable.” Brad Paisley, who performed in concert for the troops in Afghanistan on Memorial Day weekend, said that he traveled there on Air Force One and got to meet the president.
Joshua Peavey is the first person to perform. He is a youth minister from south Georgia. He wants to have an impact on the youth in his area, and be an inspiration for them to go the right way in life.
The song Joshua sings is (Everything I Do) I Do It For You. He sounds pretty remarkable — spot-on, and he becomes the first performer to get over 70 percent of America’s votes. He hit over 80 percent! His image appeared on the Wall as he sang.
Brad Paisley said that Joshua “had heart.”
Kesha said that “It was an amazing way to start off the night.”
Ludacris told him that “It was a lot of pressure” for Joshua to be the first performer of the night, but “like a diamond,” the pressure made him better.
Lisa Punch, 21, who is from Guyana but is currently living in Brooklyn, was the second act of the evening on Rising Star. She says to Josh that she is sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with 12 other family members.
Lisa sang How Will I Know. She did an AWESOME job singing it, and she had the audience clapping along as she sang. Many of them stood up and clapped. Needless to say, Lisa easily hit the 70 percent mark, actually getting to 80 percent.
Ludacris said “she made her momma proud” and “everyone in Guyana proud.”
Brad told her “you’re not only going to get a new place to live, you’re going to get a tour bus.”
Kesha said “I loved your attitude and I had so much fun watching you, and I’d love to watch you more.”
After a commercial break, Rising Star came back and Josh Groban said that there was one person in the audience right now who thinks that he/she is there just to watch the show, but he or she will get to actually perform. Macey Kate is the person Josh Groban announces will perform later on. Groban said she will be taken backstage and get as ready as she can to perform.
Kesha related a story of when she broke into Prince’s house and gave him a CD she had made. She added that she was almost immediately also thrown out, though it was her first effort to reach out and be heard musically.
Back on Rising Star, with the third act auditioning of the night, is ManeePat Molloy, 16. She says when she was 8, her dad posted a video of her singing on YouTube that got over 3 million hits, She is originally from Bangkok, and says that her family has made a “lot of sacrifices” for her.
She will be singing in Italian. The song is called Con Te Partiro. Her parents are there to support her, which is cool. She was incredible, and finally reached 73 percent, despite probably most of America not understanding what she was singing. It really did not matter, as her voice was remarkable.
Kesha tells her “You could be a massive star.”
Brad Paisley says “I’d like to see what you can do when you sing a song I can understand.”
Ludacris was the only one of the experts who did not vote for her, not because she is not a good singer, but because he could not understand what she was singing. That is understandable, and she made a gutsy choice picking a song to sing that was in a different language than English.
Three performers have moved on so far on Rising Star. The next act is the first duo on the show, Daniel and Olivia. Daniel said that the person he will be singing with was his vocal coach, and now he is living with her. Daniel says “We were born to do this.”
Josh Groban called them “adorable.” They will be singing Counting Stars by OneRepublic.
They were pretty good, but they just were not racking up the votes like the first three acts did. Daniel started off the song, and Olivia joined in. The audience in the studio clapped along. However, they did not even get to 10 percent of the votes.
Ludacris said that “It looked like you all had a whole lot of fun,” but he then compared their performance to “singing at a Karaoke bar.”
Brad Paisley said “It was unpleasant but sweet.”
Kesha said “I had a hard time saying no, because your energy and enthusiasm was so cute.” She added to them “if it was what you were meant to do, don’t quit.”
When Rising Star came back from another commercial break, Josh gave us a quick look backstage at Macey getting ready to perform. Then, he introduced Jesse Kinch, 20, from New York. He says that since he was 15, he “felt like a loner.” His dad introduced him to Classic Rock, and he fell in love with it. He is hoping “that America is looking for something a little bit different.”
Josh said that his “singing voice is like a beast on a leash.”
Jesse will be singing I Put a Spell On You by Screaming Jake Hawkins. He has a raspy, soulful, kick-butt singing voiceAll of the experts love his singing, and stood up. Not even halfway through the song, he easily busted over the 70 percent mark. He ended at 92 percent, the highest of the evening!
Ludacris said “He KILLED it!”
Kesha said “It was kinda sexy, a little. It was really good, and reminded me of old rock ‘n’ roll.”
Brad Paisley said “I think you might have given someone a seizure at home,” because of his amazing singing. He will be difficult to beat if any other singer has to go head-to-head against him.
Josh then introduced Beyond Five, a group — boy band, it looks like — out of Nashville, Tennessee. Josh Groban tells them in rehearsal that “I got goosebumps.” He complimented their harmonies.
The will be singing Wake Me Up by Avicii. They got the studio audience sorta kinda into it, and got them clapping, but they were slow at getting home viewers to vote for them. They wound up at just 46 percent, though Groban said that “they had moves and harmony.”
Kesha voted for them, and said “the harmonies were on point.”
Brad told them that he liked how the sang, also, and he voted for them, as Kesha had. However, Ludacris, who did not vote for them, said that the group was “great as a unit,” but he didn’t think they were as good when they each did their solos during the song. Beyond 5 had potential, but they just did not seem to wow the home viewers very much.
The next artist up was Sarah Darling, 30, from Nashville, Tennessee. She moved to Nashville right out of high school “to pursue my dream.” She said that she just “never got that shot” to make it big, and she “waited tables for seven years.” She “looks at Rising Star as being able to boost her to the next level.”
Josh says she will be singing the Kacey Musgraves song, Merry Go ‘Round. The studio audience cheered as she sang, clearly enjoying her singing. Brad Paisley stood up, acting as if he was playing air guitar. The votes kept climbing, and she hit 89 percent!
Brad Paisley said that he knew some people who knows her, and Sarah said “We have some mutual friends.”
Ludacris voted yes, but based on curiosity to see what she sings next.
Kesha said she was waiting to hear her sing a high note, but voted for her anyway, because her “voice is so beautiful.”
Back on Rising Star after another commercial break, Josh says that they just hit the 1 million download mark on the apps downloaded.
Colin Huntley will perform next on Rising Star. He is just 16. He says he knows “that my church will be rooting for me, and the people at my school will be.”
He went to prom as a freshman. He says his confidence is “just as strong as when he went to prom as a freshman.” He will be singing Sing. He has a really great singing voice, and is able to hit the falsetto notes in the song extremely well. The audience clapped along as he sang, and he also played the guitar.
Yet, he only got 36 percent of the votes. Kesha said that she “didn’t think it was the right song” for him, so she did not vote yes.
Brad said that he “was really young” and added that he “should come back in a couple of years.”
Ludacris did not vote for him, either, but thought that he had the chance to make it in the future.
Josh said that Summer Collins from Fayetteville, North Carolina, will audition next. She said that her mom “always asked me to sing for her.” Her mom, sadly, passed away from leukemia. She said “music was basically my medicine to get me through tough times.”
Summer will be singing Classic by ATL. She played the guitar as she sang, and did a nice job, but Ludacris and then Brad voted “no” but Kesha voted “yes.” Summer was also not doing very well at moving up in the votes that America was giving her. She wound up at just 40 percent.
Kesha said she “had a lot of energy” and Ludacris agreed, but still did not vote “yes” for her. Josh told her that he is sure that her mom is very proud of her.
Josh Groban said the last audition of the night will be Macey Kate, 16, who was chosen from the audience in the hopes of raising the Wall and continuing on. She told Josh “I am really nervous” but she is hoping that the Wall will rise up. The song she sang that got her selected was Radioactive.
Macey Kate will be singing Me and My Broken Heart. Josh told her “You’re gonna raise the Wall.”
Macey did an uber AMAZING job singing, and already hit the 70 percent mark, barely halfway into the song, if that. She made it to 93 percent, the highest score of the entire night!
Brad said she was “unbelievable” and asked “How did you do that?”
Kesha said “I was absolutely blown away!”
Ludacris said that “there was room for improvement, but your voice superseded everything else.”
Rising Star‘s debut tonight was pretty great, and the idea of having the viewers across America select who gets to move on with their votes through a downloadable app is a genius one. Clearly, by the amounts of votes that they received, Jesse Kinch and Macey Kate gave the best performances of the debut episode, though Joshua Peavey did a great job opening up Rising Star, and Maneepat Molloy also sang very well. It will be interesting to see how well she sings in English. Lisa Punch was extremely good, also, getting 80 percent of America’s votes, and Sarah Darling was terrific, getting 89 percent of America who had downloaded an app to vote for her. Stay tuned next week, and please leave any comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb