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Rising Star (ABC) premieres on Sunday, June 22 (9:00 p.m. ET), and with this new reality show’s blend of real-time voting, input from an interesting panel of judges representing various musical genres, and talented performers, ABC just might have a hit on their hands. This new reality-based talent show stands a good chance of succeeding in an era when other reality-based performance shows are getting lower ratings, and are being canceled, like was the case with The X Factor, which Fox canceled after three seasons.
Rising Star is hosted by Josh Groban, and the three judges which will add their input are Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Kesha, and Brad Paisley. Just download the audience participation voting app at ABC, the second link below, and join in voting for your favorite performers online.
Unlike The Voice, on Rising Star the performers are seen, their images projected on the Wall as they perform. But, America’s votes will determine if they move on in the competition or get voted off, rather than the judges, as is done with The Voice, with the judges turning their chairs around if they want a performer on their teams.
The performers on Rising Star will be singing behind the Wall, and will get to see how many votes they are getting from America in real-time. If a performer gets 70 percent of the audience vote, the Wall will rise, and the performer will get to move on to the next stage of the competition. Whenever a vote is cast, that person’s social media avatar will flash on the Wall, as proof a vote for the competitor has been counted.
The votes of voters in the Pacific Time zone will be counted, too, but not in real-time, as Rising Star starts on the West Coast later than the other time zones in America. The West Coast votes will be used to save singers who are good, but didn’t get quite 70 percent of the votes earlier in the episode. It might not be the best solution to the frustration that West Coast viewers have experienced with having their votes counted in other shows, like The Voice and American Idol; but, it is a step in the right direction.
The three judges are called “experts,” and they both comment on the performances and — after the votes of America are counted — they each can reward a performer up to seven percent more points.
According to Ludacris, speaking about the technology behind the app viewers can download: “This will be revolutionary for television, for finding talent, period.”
Rising Star has origins in Israel, where, in 2012, Avi Nir, who ran the TV broadcasting company, Keshet International, noticed that a show similar to American Idol called A Star Is Born was not doing well in the ratings.
The show did not interest the audience, nor Nir, like it used to in the past. The sense of drama was gone, and there did not seem to be any innovation behind it. The show lacked a way to use social media to let audiences experience the instant gratification of having their votes count in real-time. In order for a reality-based performance show to be successful with an auidence grown used to social media, Nir reasoned that there needed to be a more direct connection between the viewer and performer.
That is when Nir hit upon the concept of Rising Star, which is now one of Israel’s and the world’s hottest TV programs. Rising Star might be poised to become one of America’s hottest programs, also, if the new twists and innovations also are popular with audiences in the United States.
Rising Star host, Josh Groban, said that “right from the very first note,” performers will be getting “a really intimate connection with the TV audience.”
Also, there will not be any Results Shows, as there are with series like American Idol and The Voice, so there will be no engineered cliffhangers where you have to tune in to the next episode to find out if someone was voted off or can continue on in the competition.
On Rising Star, each performer will get up to 180 seconds of coverage, with a 90-second introduction, and the up to 90 seconds of performance. After that will come the verdict, and the comments and additional points rewarded by the judges.
Through an aggressive bidding process, ABC secured Rising Star for an American audience in October at Mipcom, which is an international television convention that took place in Cannes. For the U.S. version, Keshet partnered with Dick Clark Productions.
According to Ken Warwick, one of the executive producers of Rising Star, who also worked on 320 episodes of American Idol, results shows are just “padding.” He added that shows like American Idol cannot go any further without “the immediacy of interaction” being involved.
Viewers who download the voting app below will be sent tune-in prompts and also have the capability to instantly download songs that appeal to them. Later, Capitol Records will release music from Rising Star and the winner will be rewarded a contract.
Out of around 2,500 contestants who auditioned from six cities, only 30 of them were chosen to participate in Rising Star. The three experts, Brad Paisley, Kesha, and Ludacris, wanted to keep the show fresh, and they and the show’s execs think that a summer launch will help make Rising Star a ratings success.
Both Dancing With the Stars and American Idol originally were aired in the summer and did well in the ratings initially. Summer is a time when families get to watch TV together more often than at other times of the year, and Rising Star execs hope that their show will do the same, and connect with both parents and their children.
Rising Star host, Josh Groban, 32, is a triple threat, as he is a singer, songwriter, and actor. He is the only person to have had two albums appear in the Top 20 Best-Selling Albums list in the last decade, according to Billboard. Groban has sold 25 million albums and DVDs worldwide. He has also acted in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love and he has appeared on The Office and The Crazy Ones. In February 2013, Groban released his sixth studio album, All That Echoes. The album topped the Billboard Top 200 chart, debuting at #1.
Country music sensation Brad Paisley has won three Grammy awards, as well as 14 Country Music Association Awards and 14 Country Music Awards. He had his first #1 single in 1999, and 22 of his singles have since hit the top of the charts. On August 26, his latest album, Moonshine In The Trunk, will be available in stores.
Kesha is perhaps most famous for her hit songs Tik Tok, Die Young, Timber, and C’Mon. She has recently released the song Crazy Kids from her second album, Warrior. Tik Tok was the most played song of 2010, and was the world’s biggest digital-selling song. She has had eight consecutive Top 10 hits, and 4 #1 songs. Kesha also appears in her own TV series, MTV’s Kesha: My Crazy Beautiful Life.
Ludacris has several multi-platinum albums to his credit, and is also a Grammy Award-winnning singer. His hit Billboard Hot 100 number one songs include Splash Waterfalls, Runaway Love, and Pimpin’ All Over the World. He has also sang as a featured singer on other singers’ hits, like Glamorous by Fergie, Lover Boy by Mariah Carey, and Fatty Girl with LL Cool J. He has also acted in a few movies, like Crash, and he will appear in Fast and the Furious 7.
ABC describes Rising Star as a show that “completely reinvents the traditional singing competition.” They declare that it is the first time that “the audience has the final say in real time.” Audience participation via the downloadable app will allow home viewers to have more of a direct say than ever before as to which performers get to move on and which ones will be voted off the show. That aspect is sure to appeal to fans of reality-based TV shows, and the colorful and interesting expert judges, Paisley, Kesha, and Ludacris, are also likely to draw in their fans to check out the series.
Written by: Douglas Cobb