We’re down to eight contestants on ABC’s Rising Star. Will America’s fickleness over song choice and power notes prove to be an obstacle?
With eight performances on Sunday’s edition of Rising Star, it’s another fast hour with five singers guaranteed a spot next week and three awaiting the results from the West Coast. Here’s the rundown in order of how they ranked following the East Coast airing.
The newlywed led the field Sunday with his rendition of “House of the Rising Sun.” I concede that the kid is talented, but his excessive affectations—the scrunchy face, the shriveled hands—mixed with his Mumford and Sons aesthetic really get on my nerves. It screams of tryhard. Regardless, America loves him, and it’s hard to argue against an 89% score.
Jesse closed the show with his version of “Money (That’s What I Want).” Aside from the fact that Jesse is starting to come across as unapproachable, this performance was way too similar to what he did last week and in previous appearances. That didn’t stop the home audience from giving him a raw score of 82%, boosted up to 88% thanks to Kesha and Ludacris. Brad Paisley voted down for Jesse, warning the guy who will probably win this thing that he shouldn’t coast to the end. AGREED.
Audrey Kate Geiger
Love, love, LOVE her. She took on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” complete with a piano on stage, a simple black dress, and a stool. You could feel her drawing on Fiona Apple and Lana Del Rey in her voice, but it was a perfect match of song and singer. She biffed the closing notes, but rather than it coming across as a gaffe it felt like a genuine moment of Audrey connecting with the song. She scored a well-deserved 85%. Go Audrey!
Joshua opened the show with “American Woman”—opting for the Lenny Kravitz version rather than the Guess Who version. I found the performance to be lacking energy, but the panel all gave it a thumbs up. Ludacris praised Joshua’s vocal control, which is fair. I don’t think Joshua has settled on his niche yet. He does well with the Michael Bolton-style tracks, but I think deep down he wants to be a rocker (or at least compete with Jesse). Maybe he should try some John Cougar Mellencamp?
Dana, who was last week’s WCS, selected “Human” by Christina Perri.1 The performance was almost unlistenable, but that’s the fault of the song—nasally and screechy—and not Dana. Kesha and Brad gave her points, but Ludacris agreed with Twitter that she needs to take advantage of every second she is on stage, which didn’t happen throughout the song. Dana earned a 57%, which was enough to advance but shows a significant gap between the contestants.
The poor song choices continued with Shameia’s selection of “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato. The original version of the song is a bit overwrought, but then Shameia tinkered with it and practically shouted throughout her two-minute performance. There was no light or shade, just one level of sheer determination. All the experts love her eye of the tiger focus, with Ludacris pointing out Shameia wants this the most, but Brad warns her to bring some dynamics if she makes it back. She scored 54%.
The magic of Elton John’s “Your Song” is the slow build to the “I hope you don’t mind” refrain. Because this show punishes people who dawdle to get to the power notes, Maneepat opened her version with an overpowering “How wonderful life is / now you’re in the world” then started the song proper. Way to completely neuter the song. Kesha2 was the only expert to give her an up-vote, taking Maneepat’s 43% to a 46%.
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” should have worked. April gave the vocals a Lorde-like inflection, which also should have worked. But about one-third of the way into the song the wheels came off the cart. The song was all over the place, April’s point-of-view got lost, and no girls were having fun. I feel like if she and Shameia had swapped tracks, both of them would have fared much better. Unfortunately, April scored a paltry 27%, so she is out of the competition.
Maneepst ended up earning the West Coast Save, scoring 55%3 to Shameia’s 54%. Ouch. Next week is the Rising Star semi-finals. Only two episodes left!