“So wake me up when it’s all over.”
That was the refrain delivered by ill-fated boy band Beyond 5 during tonight’s premiere of ABC’s reality singing competition Rising Star, but unfortunately it echoed the sentiments in my own head after watching 10 fair-to-tragic acts limp their way through a series of dated or done-to-death ditties.
You can’t say, though, that host Josh Groban didn’t tip us off in the show’s opening seconds with this dire warning: “Let’s introduce you to the main star of our show: The wall!”
Yes, Rising Star‘s gigantic, much-touted barrier exhibited more humanity and enthusiasm than “experts” Kesha and Brad Paisley (and the contestants) combined. (Ludacris, at least, wasn’t dull while boogying his way through a series of “No” votes.) But great television cannot survive on the singular of an inanimate object alone. (Not unless we’re talking about the enduring ratings appeal of Kim Kardashian, anyhow.)
For the uninitiated, let me explain the show’s basic premise: Wannabe music stars take the stage behind a gigantic wall and sing for votes from the judges and the viewing audience via the Rising Star App. Kesha, Brad and Luda’s “yes” votes count for 7 percent apiece; the remaining 79 percent of the vote is comprised of viewers who “check in” via the app before each performance. If the singer’s total goes above 70 percent during his or her live performance, the wall is “raised” and the act moves to the next round; failure to raise the wall results in automatic elimination. (West coast viewers get a second chance to veto east-coasters “nos,” so the show isn’t totally pointless if you’re closer to the Pacific than the Atlantic, BTW.)
(Also: Thank you for not removing TVLine from your “favorites” during the preceding paragraph.)
With that said, since I’m not confident Rising Star will survive past July 4th weekend, I’m going to limit myself to reviewing the premiere’s 10 acts in 10 words or less — plus letter grade:
Joshua Peavy, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”
(advanced with 87% of votes, including all three judges)
Generic song for a generic singer. Initially, I thought his last name was “PB.”
Lisa Punch, “How Will I Know”
(advanced with 80% of votes, including all three judges)
Ballady intro was not terrible; cheesy “boogying” on chorus was.
Maneepat Myra Molloy, “Con Te Partiro”
(advanced with 87% of votes, including Brad and Kesha)
Teenager delivered classical tune with the blankness of a chalkboard in July.
Daniel & Olivia, “Counting Stars”
(rejected with 6% of the votes, including none of the judges)
That 6% says it all: Why throw a rock at a car wreck?
Jesse Kinch, “I Put a Spell on You”
(advanced with 92% of votes, including all three judges)
Soft-spoken guy with great pitch and grit, but overbaked vibrato.
Beyond 5, “Wake Me Up”
(rejected with 46% of the votes, including Brad and Kesha)
Brad and Kesha voted for them because they were from Nashville? Revoke their priveleges!
Sarah Darling, “Merry Go Round”
(advanced with 89% of votes, including all three judges)
Country vet showcased gorgeous tone and restraint. Too good for this show?
Colin Huntley, Age 16, Georgetown, TX
(rejected with 38% of the votes, including none of the judges)
It feels mean to vote “No” to children, and yet…
Summer Collins, “Classic”
(rejected with 36% of the votes, including none of the judges)
Sweet teenager had a sad backstory — and, alas, a middling performance.
Macy Kate, “Me and My Broken Heart”
(advanced with 93% of votes, including all three judges)
“Instagram auditioner” got “surprised” when Josh asked her to sing; and yet she showed up in thigh-high boots expecting only to be an audience member? Hrmmm. As dubious a setup as her final set of runs.
With that, I’ll let you make the most important vote of all by grading the Rising Star premiere in our highly scientific poll below.
And for all my reality TV news, interviews, recaps and exclusives, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!