Rising Star: Round of 13

Panelists Ludacris, Kesha, and Brad Paisley join host Josh Groban on ABC's Rising Star.
Rising Star (Photo: Bob D'Amico / ABC)

Thirteen singers entered the Rising Star arena, but only eight survived. How have the game mechanics shifted as we start entering the endgame?

Rising Star moved into its middle game this week, with 13 singers each taking to the stage for the approval of the home audience. Many of the game mechanics have changed, though proceeding in the competition still requires approval voting from the home audience. Here are some of the differences in this week’s format:

  • The experts only boost scores by 5%. I take full credit for this one. This didn’t prove to be much of a factor, as Maneepat Molloy was the only contestant who advanced and received a no vote (from Ludacris). Where it does make a difference from a pointless trivia standpoint is that Jesse Kinch would have set a new high score of 94% under the old scoring system.
  • The Wall was only used for the second half. The first seven contestants to sing were situated in chairs based on their scores. The singer with the lowest score would sit in a red chair and set the bar for the wall. It became obvious as the night went on that production did not dictate the running order and a random draw must have taken place, which I appreciate.
  • Contestants were left to their own devices when dealing with song choice. The most common critique from the panel dealt with some of the baffling song choices and arrangements. Dana Williams was the last contestant eliminated from the hot seat with her sexless, hymn-like interpretation of “Latch” by Disclosure.1 The last contestant of the evening, Sonnet Simmons, attempted to perform Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” but it was all over the place and lacked the sultriness of the original. She received a unanimous “no” from the experts—even Kesha, who voted yes for EVERYONE ELSE.

Here’s how things shook out with the surviving contestants:

Frontrunners: Jesse Kinch scored 88% with his version of “Seven Nation Army,” which all but confirms the White Guy With Guitar problem is not limited to American Idol. Austin French (86%) and Joshua Peavy (85%) followed, which, eh.

Middle of the Pack: Shameia Crawford did her own arrangement of “Next to Me” by Emeli Sandé which took the studio to church. There were stained glass graphics and everything. She scored 76%. April Lockhart did an interpretation of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls which I found oddly arranged, but she cleared the 70% threshold. I find her vibe intriguing, so I’m glad she’s sticking around, but hopefully this week serves as caution to avoid over-tinkering.

In danger: Maneepat Molloy sang “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I am not convinced Maneepat is a recording artist—this performance was great for the stage but I have a hard time imagining an album from her. Ludacris did not care for the stage performance, keeping her at 68%.

My favorite performance of the night came from Audrey Kate Geiger, who sang “The Big Bang” by Rock Mafia. I am not familiar with the original track, but Geiger’s voice stands alone in this competition. She’s not trying to sound like Pink or Katy Perry or Whitney or Mariah: if anything she’s trying to sound like Paloma Faith which is a sound that needs to hit more ears here in the US. The experts did not care for the song choice; I thought it was a fantastic choice. Both Ludacris and Kesha voted for Geiger at the very last second, raising the wall after time ran out. That was kinda exciting.

Next week on Rising Star: the quarter-finals!

  1. She received the West Coast Save, but jeezy creezy that rendition went nowhere.  

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About Mike McComb 1225 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv