Caitlin Rickard: Rising Star: Sink or rise?

There’s a plethora of singing and talent competitions out there, there’s no argument about that.
Jun 25, 2014
Caitlin Rickard

There’s a plethora of singing and talent competitions out there, there’s no argument about that.

American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice… do we need another one? The answer is probably not. 

But, we could use a new, fresh format, which is exactly what ABC’s new show “Rising Star” brings to the table.

Other than that, I’m on the fence about it and left wondering if a new format is, quite frankly, all that it brings to the table.

The show premiered Sunday, with much to-do and plenty of advertising leading up to its inception. And since my shows are in the summer slump and finales have aired, I decided why not? What’s one more reality show? What’s just one more useless two-hour block of television to fry my brain with?

I’ll start with the positive. 

The show has a new voting method, and I’m not sure how it’ll work past the auditions, but so far, it’s pretty different and cool. Instead of waiting one week or even the next night for results, everything is instant. 

The show uses an app that viewers download and check-in on before each performer takes the stage. You check-in at a pre-designated (all directions are found on the TV screen) moment and once you check-in you must vote, or the performer automatically gets a “no” vote.

As the performer takes the stage they are in a round room with a giant 70-ft. wall in front of them. Then, during their 90-second performance, those who have checked in will vote “yes” or “no” on whether they want the performer to move on or not. It really is that simple. 

If the performer reaches 70 percent “yes” votes of all those who have checked in before their time expires they then move on in the competition and furthermore the 70-ft. wall is lowered and they finish out their time on the big stage in front of a live audience and celebrity judges.

Additionally, each of the three celebrity judges “yes” votes count for seven percent, instead of one percent, and can boost a performer into the next round more easily.

The problems lie in the live voting format, though. Only those voting on the East Coast count on the live performances and then somehow when the West Coast watches hours later they can also weigh in on those who didn’t make it through and somehow advance those who didn’t get the 70 percent approval rating. 

It’s all very messy at that point.

Other than that, I do think, especially after watching and seeing the results and actions for myself, that the concept of the voting is pretty new and something worth exploring.

So now I’ll tell you what I’m really on the fence about: the judges. And really, it’s not just this show, either. 

Unless you’re The Voice, your picks for judges have been questionable—at best—in the past few years.  Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban on American Idol? Paulina Rubio on The X Factor? And don’t get me started on Howard Stern and Howie Mandel on America’s Got Talent.

I guess all these people have done something and made a name for themselves and reached some peak of success, but I don’t know. Give me Adam Levine and Blake Shelton any day, if anything just to look at them!

On Rising Star we have Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris. LOL.

Separately I can dig them all, but together I can’t think of three people with less in common. Oh, then throw in Josh Groban as the host and it’s a match made in awkward, C-list celebrity Heaven. And didn’t Kesha just get out of rehab last week?

But I guess that’s the appeal though? “Expert” advice and insight from all genres and walks of life? What do I know, right?

Anyway, that’s why I’m on the fence, but where the true atrocity lies is in the talent.

The people truly had just been pulled off the karaoke stage at Tootsie’s I think. The ones that were voted “yes” were mediocre and the ones who got voted “no” were bad. Not like the bad, scary bad that American Idol shows to add humor and you kind of feel sorry for them, but like bad. 

There were boy bands and a dancing boyfriend-girlfriend duo, cheesy introductions and just things you had to see to believe.

If something needs fixing, it’s this. To succeed and produce an actual star, there needs to be real auditions, processes and recruiting that the other shows are so prone to and known for.

I’ll tell you right now there’s no Carrie Underwood or One Direction. There are no likeable, real people even close to those who have succeeded after the fact in the past.

In my opinion, in order for this show not to sink into oblivion it’s got to find the talent that won’t either.

Caitlin Rickard is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.


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