Review: “Rising Star”

Hello. Last night, ABC debuted a new, live singing competition titled Rising Star. I saw it last night, and overall, I’m not that impressed.

For those who didn’t watch it last night, the simple premise is this. Contestants stand in front of a 70-foot wall and sing for 90 seconds. As the contestant performs, the audience watching at home and in the studio can vote with their smartphones using the free app ABC has so generously provided. In order to raise the wall and advance to the next round, contestants must earn the yes votes of 70% of the voters who had checked in for that performance. Sounds difficult? Here’s the kicker. The three judges (Ludacris, Brad Paisley, and Kesha) can vote as well. Yes, they vote, and their votes count for 7% each. That’s 10% of the goal. Here are some performances to show you what I mean.



First, the good: This is innovative technology, which delivers instant results. No more waiting another night for the results. Viewers decide instantaneously. And if you don’t make it over the 70% mark on the East Coast, don’t worry! You’ve got the West Coast!


Josh Groban

Second, there’s Josh Groban, the host. Just look at him. Smart polka-dot handkerchief in his lapel, blue on black….. he looks dressed for the part. And I was surprised to find he’s actually a modest guy. He had to wait for Ludacris to mention his 25 million copies in sales. His hosting style reminds me of Bob Saget, from America’s Funniest Home Videos.  If you had never recognized him before, you’d swear he was some other guy hosting a reality show.


The bad: The judges vote. And they carry a heavy weight with them as well. Each yes from a judge adds 7% to a hopeful’s score. They need at least 70% to advance, so if you don’t get at least one of the judge’s yes votes, your chances are not very good. In fact, I’ll show you the results from last night (courtesy of Wikipedia).


Order Artist Song Percentage Experts’ choices
East Coast West Coast Brad
Kesha Ludacris
1 Josh Peavey (Everything I Do) I Do It for You 87% 83%
2 Lisa Punch How Will I Know 80% 78%
3 Maneepat Molloy Con te partirò 73% 75%
4 Daniel & Olivia Counting Stars 6% 17%
5 Jesse Kinch I Put a Spell on You 92% 92%
6 Beyond 5 Wake Me Up 46% 44%
7 Sarah Darling Merry Go ‘Round 89% 86%
8 Colin Huntley Sing 38% 37%
9 Summer Collins Classic 40% 37%
10 Macy Kate Me and My Broken Heart 93% 91%



Six out of the ten songs performed that night had yes votes from at least two judges. When we adjust the percentages without the judges’ input…..


Order Artist Song Percentage (raw)
East Coast West Coast
1 Josh Peavey (Everything I Do) I Do It for You 66% 62%
2 Lisa Punch How Will I Know 59% 57%
3 Maneepat Molloy Con te partirò 59% 61%
4 Daniel & Olivia Counting Stars 6% 17%
5 Jesse Kinch I Put a Spell on You 71% 71%
6 Beyond 5 Wake Me Up 32% 30%
7 Sarah Darling Merry Go ‘Round 68% 65%
8 Colin Huntley Sing 38% 37%
9 Summer Collins Classic 33% 30%
10 Macy Kate Me and My Broken Heart 72% 70%


Only two songs would have made the 70% requirement, and that’s just barely. Now, I understand that 70% is a large number of people, and if I were a contestant, it would be nice to have a little insurance from the judges. Of course, if I were a contestant, I would tell Josh that my mom owns nearly all his CDs and that personally, I can’t stand the constant playing of his “You Raise Me  Up” for every little inspirational story that shows up on TV.


The biggest issue with me is the timing. There was a commercial break after every single performance, and even one after Josh “picked” a contestant out of the audience. Josh spent a ridiculous amount of time at the beginning explaining the rules and conversing with the judges (ABC wants you to call them “experts”, but with their votes counting 7% each, they are judges! Let’s call a spade a spade, people!) A lot of this commercial time was used to promote ABC’s summer lineup, including The Quest, a show I am very interested in.


And while viewers were checking in, they were “treated” to a 90-second backstory. One contestant lost her mother to leukemia and used music as her “medicine”, another is a youth leader in a town high with substance abuse, and two are immigrants. That may have influenced votes.


And finally, viewers can only vote using a smartphone or tablet. I wish there was some way to vote over the computer as well. I’d have voted, but noooooo.  Let the old and the middle class  people vote, ABC! Not everyone’s got a smartphone, but everyone likes music.


Would I watch it again? Yeah, if I had my computer in front of me. I was working on Marvel Avengers Alliance all through the show, and I hit “mute” during the breaks. Overall, Rising Star does speed up the process of music competition. It’s just too bad we need all those commercial breaks to make up for it.


Rising Star is on Sunday nights at 9/8c and 7m on ABC. Check your local listings.

About gameking77

I'm an average guy who loves game shows and interviewing people.
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