Rising Star continues the duel rounds with three more battles. Will a new frontrunner emerge from behind the wall?
Gabrielle Nicole vs. Macy Kate
The night opens with the prize fight between overall #3 seed Gabrielle Nicole vs. overall #1 seed Macy Kate. You may recall Gabrielle ending week three of auditions by challenging the rest of the qualifiers to come at her. The mentors warn her during their session that America may not respond too kindly to such cockiness. This is immediately followed by an interview clip where Gabrielle describes her opponent as “the white version of me.” That sound you heard is the palm of my hand saying howdy to my forehead. She signs “River Deep Mountain High” which does not go well. The track is a performance piece more than it is a song—Gabrielle sells the performance, but her vocals are more shouty than melodic. Although Ludacris, Kesha, and Brad Paisley vote for her, Gabrielle scores a meager 49%. Ouch.
Macy Kate has chosen “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. I vote no before the first note. In her mentor session, Kesha suggests opening with a power note rather than meandering to it throughout the song. In her interview, Macy stresses that Gabrielle will probably set the bar rather high. Awkward. Macy plays the piano and opens with the power note, but the song is a mess.1 Ludacris pushes Macy over the top and Kesha helps, but all three could have voted no and she would have advanced. With 80%, Macy moves on to the next round.
Sonnet Simmons vs. April Lockhart
This is the battle of quirky voices. You may recall Sonnet as the woman whose mom had to escape a cult in Europe when she was a child. She takes on the reality show song of doom “Feeling Good.” Sonnet’s voice has a Sarah McLachlan quality to it, which I didn’t notice in her audition but that I’m responding quite positively to this time. She also rocks the 8-inch heels and deserves bonus points. Granted, there are some bum notes and her upper register could use some work, but Sonnet delivered a good performance. She scored 73%.
April Lockhart selected “Animal” by Neon Trees. She is rocking the odango look, and has the cutest green and checkerboard ensemble. The look combined with her vocals give the performance a Regina Spektor vibe. All three panelists give their support (Ludacris at the very last moment), boosting April to 76% and a ticket to the next round. This was a good battle.2
Austin French vs. Adam Jaymes
The panelists describe this duel as having the two most similar contestants. They both received the same song suggestions, so this could be interesting. Austin selected “I Don’t Want to Be” by Gavin DeGraw. The panelists want him to own the stage and suggest a wardrobe upgrade. A bowtie enters the conversation, but Kesha puts the kibosh on that. She’s my new BFF. I don’t care for the arrangement, but the rest of the audience is won over. He scores 81%, giving him the top score of the night.
Adam Jaymes does “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty. Allegedly. The arrangement is all over the place, trying to force the sale of the song far too early without actually selling the audience on what Adam is trying to do. There’s making a song your own and then there’s making it unrecognizable. Brad and Kesha do give his score a boost, but Adam finishes with 53%.
Next week on Rising Star: The final four duels!