Rising Star Semifinal Recap: Killing Me Slowly… With Their Songs

rising-star-semifinal-recap-dana-williams-jesse-kinch-audrey-kate-geiger

Off the top of my head, I’d like to throw out a few important new guidelines for Season 2 of Rising Star — while acknowledging that the months old, unchecked Powerball ticket in my wallet is as likely to make all my dreams come true as ABC’s woeful reality-singing competition is to return in 2015:

1. If the show’s “experts” are going to pretend to be “mentors,” then they should never ever allow a wide-eyed 16-year-old girl to sing lyrics about being a “for-a-good-time-call” party girl. #RIPManeepatMolloy

2. Ke$ha must agree to a four-hour nap and five Red Bulls prior to any live telecast.

3. The show’s producers should recognize that at least 75 percent of their addled audience has probably slogged through every episode of American Idol, The Voice, The X Factor and even Duets — and therefore, won’t accept a stripped-down, slowed-down cover of “Billie Jean” as something revolutionary. (Yes, David Cook’s Idol version may be six years old, but it remains absolutely unforgettable, mmmkay?)

On that note, it’s time to weigh in on the six remaining contestants in order from lowest percentage of viewer/judge votes — Brad, Kesha and Ludacris only contributed 1% each tonight — to highest. (It should be noted, BTW, that Brad and Kesha voted “yes” for all six contestants tonight, thereby rendering themselves irredeemably irrelevant. #IrredeemablyIrrelevant #ThatDeserevesAHashtag)

For the uninitiated, the East coast’s Top 3 vote-getters advanced to next week’s finale — while the West coast telecast will save a fourth contestant and launch him or her into next Sunday’s show, too.

Maneepat Molloy, “Chandelier” — Grade: C- (probably her least-flawed vocal to date, albeit utterly age-inappropriate)
27% (includng Kesha and Brad)

Audrey Kate Geiger, “Killing Me Softly” — Grade: C+ (GIVE THIS WOMAN THE SAVE, WEST COAST!)
69% (including all three judges)

Joshua Peavy, “What Hurts the Most” — Grade: D+ (What hurts the most is listening to this overwrought vocalist without earplugs)
72% (including Kesha and Brad)

Dana Williams, “Sunday Morning” — Grade: B+ (Not the most consistent vocalist, but her jazz-lounge rearrangement tonight was quite lovely)
75% (includng all three judges)

Austin French, “Love Runs Out” — Grade: C (A thoroughly inauthentic artist — like a hummingbird trying to swoop down on a prairie dog, pick it up in its talons, and deliver its carcass to its hungry babies)
81% (including all three judges)

Jesse Kinch, “Billie Jean” — Grade: B- (Exposed tonight as a singer who can only nail his notes when he’s full-on wailing; intimate, quiet moments are not his forté)
83% (including all three judges)

What did you think of tonight’s Rising Star? Who were your faves? Did anyone get robbed? Does anyone deserve to “win”? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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108 Comments
  1. Splinterette says:

    Has anyone else noticed that between Rising Star & American Idol this year, almost everyone is out of tune? Or maybe I need my ears checked. I don’t notice it as much on The Voice and up until this season, “pitchiness” was only an isolated issue on AI, so what gives? Some of these people have real talent, but no one can hear themselves. It’s bizarre. If, back in 2002, AI would have had these issues, none of these talent shows would be on today. I just don’t get it.

    • Pam Smith says:

      I totally agree, and that is why I gave up these shows. AI became all about J-Lo, Rising Star is a joke choosing Luda & Kesha as judges, and now I’m having doubts about The Voice, when it sent so many good singers home yet kept the most off-key, whining country boy, who was out sung by every other contestant. I give it up! I’ll just listen & judge my music for myself. Who needs these judges to tell us who to like, anyway.

      • Viajero says:

        Can’t really blame The Voice for the “off key whining country boy” making the final. That one is squarely on the voters and just proves that on all these shows the likeability factor trumps talent.

      • Joanne says:

        Why is having Luda and Kesha a joke? Luda may be a rapper but he knows what he’s talking about. Just because someone is a rapper it doesn’t mean they know nothing about vocals or music. Kesha is a technically trained singer who grew up in the music industry. Her mom wrote the country classic Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You. Kesha herself started out as a country singer. Listen to one of her old country songs like Sunday Morning or something newer like her cover of Old Flames. She’s a pretty good vocalist.

    • Jill Moy says:

      Right on!

      • Only 33 comments? LOL LOL

        • Jill Moy says:

          BECCA,

          Well, the guy in the military and the kid with foster parents both made it through on AGT! They were not worthy of that! Other great talent left in their place….A SHAME! However,they are both too good for this show!

          • Well I just couldnt stand manipoop’s voice. Really glad she is gone!

          • There are so many good acts on AGT that I have quite a few that I like! I love the guy with the dog and several of the singers but not the military guy or the foster kid. I like Miguel and Mara and 2 other ladies (they may have gone home) dont know their names.The blonde lady is good!

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Pitch isn’t the end-all-be-all, but when you’re consistently off, you have no business being a singer. And unfortunately, your observation about Rising Star’s vocalists and the contestants on this year’s American Idol is correct. A wonky note here and there is fine, but this is simply embarrassing.

      • Larc says:

        I think pitch control should be a given for a singer. Hitting the right notes on key is no more negotiable for a singer than it is for a solo player in a band, IMO.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          My point is even the best singers in the world are going to inevitably have some wonky notes. A few wonky notes do not make them lesser singers. It’s all about overall consistency and accuracy.

      • Jill Moy says:

        BECCA,

        I couldn’t stand her either! I knew she was gone but I thought he was going as well! He sounds like a big sissy!

  2. Natinthehat says:

    I’m just happy Dana is still in. We know Jesse will win but I want Dana to make it as far as she can

  3. colton says:

    You oviously hate austin , each week you go hard on him , you are not objective when it came to him , the guy his very talented and has a great voice and people love him
    And jill, if you disagree like always , i prefer you dont comment cause i know what you gonna say, very predictble
    Jesse and austin for the finale 2, i dont care who wins , each great artists

  4. Kaba says:

    Other than Maneepat being so horrible I considered waging war on the West Coast for having the gall to save her, Jesse reminding Austin that those who take his top slot (reserved for him alone) will be put in their place immediately, and Dana getting the much deserved ego boost after finally topping Audrey..
    Lame night.
    Seriously, Austin was boring
    Josh was stupid
    Why the hell was Maneepat saved? Seriously.

    • Jill Moy says:

      EXACTLY! WHY?????

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I miss Kat Perkins. Sigh.

      And what is with all these singers doing this falsetto crap and pretending that that’s singing? No. I blame Adam Levine.

      • Kaba says:

        Better yet. What is with this bombast at the beginning of the song?
        Can they puh-lease stop starting with the chorus at fortississimo? What good does that do the song?

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Yeah, I seriously think these “mentors” are making up the rules as they go along. I remember the first time Kesha said that in an episode early in the season, I nearly had a rage stroke. Even more infuriating was that the country dude agreed with Kesha. This show!!!

          • Kaba says:

            Did you see how they attempted to make her look useful by showing her giving choreo training to that terrible girl maneepat?
            Like…people will realize that singers have choreographers too and that just because they dance while they perform doesn’t mean they ought to be giving lessons to anyone else…..right? Right?
            Sigh.
            The finale is next week though, good to see that lol

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            No, I honestly stopped watching the show after the first episode. I youtubed one performance from last night which was Manapeet’s to see how she stacked up against Kat Perkins’ rendition. For all the moanin’ and hollerin’ over how bad Kat was (FYI: she wasn’t bad at all), I would be curious to read what the Kat naysayers have to say about this beautiful disaster.
            I miss that kid Justin and his/her 10 alter egos saying how bad everything but Idol is. I would love to read his/her take on Rising Star. You know it’s bad when Justin doesn’t even bother to attempt to trash the show.

    • Jill Moy says:

      BECCA,

      Rumor has it, the name of the play is….THE PITCHY TWINS, produced by Harry Connick Jr. Written by Woody Allen!

  5. daezyg says:

    I’m a fan of Jesse, but I don’t know if I exactly liked what he did to Billie Jean. He kind of mumbled through it. I’ve seen a few of his live covers on Youtube and a video of his from when he starred in a musical; he can do soft WAY better than that. He still deserved the top spot, though. He’s the most authentic person on that stage.

    I haven’t the slightest idea how to feel about Dana. She’s in my music limbo, and I don’t know if she can get out until she blows me away.

    I hated every minute of Audrey’s cover of “Killing Me Softly”. That song is about pain, and it irks me when coffee house girls can get away with sounding bored and over-rehearsed while singing about pain. Also, Brad, her sound is not unique or different. Walk into any teenage songwriter’s club or guild, and I garauntee you, you’ll find six girls who sing in that affected style.

    Austin feels like plastic to me. He’s got a decent voice, but every minute he’s on stage, I can’t help but think that there’s ten more of him waiting to get up there next and “blow America away”.

    Josh should have left a while ago. He’s got the voice, but he’s got no real star power.

    Mannepat had the fullest voice in the competition, but nice tone does not a star make. Nerves a plenty with this one. Every time she got on stage, I felt like I was watching some nervous pageant queen sing the national anthem.

  6. Kim Moores says:

    Whenever I see Jesse my eyes immediately gravitate toward his lips strangely enough.

    That is all.

  7. Patricia Parker says:

    I immediately thought of David Cook’s version of “Billie Jean” too. And yes that was unforgettable. I think this was the same version, but not as good as David Cook’s. I am in Phoenix, but we get the show in real time, not west coast time. Does anyone know who got the west coast save?-I am thinking and hoping the final performer.

    • Karen C says:

      To me, it sounded more like David Cook’s version than even Chris Cornell’s, but the phrasing was off. And yes, I think David Cook’s version was unforgettable, even 6 years later I still think it’s amazing.

  8. Kim Moores says:

    Audrey got saved.
    YASSSSS BAE YASSSSSSSS

  9. kcostell says:

    The West Coast has officially redeemed themselves.

    • Jill Moy says:

      Redeemed themselves! Saving her is insane! If she somehow wins the farce, she’ll be the worst singer to ever win a singing competition! I laugh at her singing! She’s a great comedic performer!

      • Hey Jill, at least the finale is next week and this horrible thing will be over! I wonder if the voice will have good singers this next season? I do like Gwen Stephani!

        • Jill Moy says:

          BECCA,

          By the way, the blond lady really sang great her last time out! The judges all gave her the greatest reviews of any singer yet! I like her a lot!

          I also like Gwen! I, like you hope The Voice will have great singers!

  10. Jill Moy says:

    CARTOON VOICED Audrey got lucky! What a creepy voice! America, what are you thinking??????

  11. Faye says:

    Audrey’s coffee shop take on KMS sucked all of the beauty from the song.
    Jesse’s slowed down Billie Jean was OK but hardly original. Still. I preferred him to anyone else.

  12. Kojin says:

    Well, happy that both Dana and Audrey is in the finals. :)

    • Jill Moy says:

      KO,

      Audrie in the finals is hilarious as heck! As I’ve said, she would make a great cartoon character! Her voice is so animated annoying! Maybe she will take up being a stand up comic after Rising Star as she is going NOWHERE! THIS I GUARANTEE!

  13. Bucky Beaver says:

    I thought the purpose of the show was to judge the contestants and vote on the contestants on their ability to sing. So, one of the judges doesn’t vote for a great performance because he doesn’t want to see the girl he personally likes booted off the show, and he admits it. That judge should not be on that show. Brad thought he was great and Kesha voted for him even though we knew she also had a favorite. Come on get someone to judge on what the show is there for, not on personal feelings.

    • Jill Moy says:

      BUCKY,

      I’ve said that so many weeks! The judges are unethical and a few got eliminated because a judge wanted their favorite to go through so they voted to oust the least favorite and voted the other way to boost their favorite! How about when Macy got eliminated! Brad actually walked over to Luda when a performer was singing and told him something! At that exact moment Luda votes yes! Talk about dishonest! Then Luda tried to smooth it over, explaining why he took so long to vote yes! What a load of PURE BS!

  14. Thomas Jacobson says:

    Michael: you are much too hard on this show.

  15. Mamie Ragland says:

    My comment is that the reviewer knows nothing about music if he didn’t like the slow version of Billie Jean and everything else that Jesse Kinch sings. I prefer real rock to bubble gum music and wonder what the reviewer prefers.

    • Haha Slezak only loves girls with big voices (especially African American) such as last year’s AI winner. He’s also very biased and every other word he oozes out always comes with a huge helping of hatred. But since this is his blog, i guess he can say whatever the big black woman inside him wants to say.

  16. Name That Tune says:

    Is this thing still on?

  17. Sierra1707 says:

    (Yes, David Cook’s Idol version may be six years old, but it remains absolutely unforgettable, mmmkay?)

    That’s odd…I’ve forgotten it.

    • Jill Moy says:

      It was never so good! The kid, the other David blasted him on the 3 songs he sang! Cook’s 3 songs for the crown were terrible! If I recall, all 3 judges gave the kid all 3 rounds! Simon didn’t like any of the 3 songs he sang! Cook is another AI farce just like the overgrown babbling baby sounding Fantasia!

  18. Val says:

    Yes I agree that Jesse Kinch is a one trick pony and he can only scream, not sing. I put my hands over my ears it was so dreadful!

    • Jill Moy says:

      VAL,

      No matter what you feel, compared to the others, it would be like pitting Elvis against William Hung or Tiny Tim! The others are horrible!

  19. Cat says:

    Oh Michael. How I miss your weekly videos with Melinda. Wish those were year round…

  20. Jill Moy says:

    I’ll say one thing, I have laughed so hard every week at the judges comments, the bad singing and everything else on this show! Only BLAZING SADDLES gave me more belly laughs! I thank ABC for that! THANK YOU!

    • Or the benny hill show, or even Monty Python would be more entertaining! Dumb and Dumber are those 2 judges who make terrible decisions!

      • Jill Moy says:

        BECCA,

        Ludas has real stupid unethical reasons for voting also! He joins them now as moronic judges!

      • Jill Moy says:

        BECCA, I actually liked Benny hill! Monty, OK! In any event, this show is funny..Oh so funny! If anyone but Jesse wins, it will be be a farce, as if RS isn’t bad enough already!

  21. Jill Moy says:

    These judges are crazy! Luda votes against a singer last week because he wants her to harder! ger because

  22. Jill Moy says:

    Luda last week votes no because he wants her to try harder (last week)! Luda votes against a contestant because another singer wants it more! Brad votes yes because he didn’t like the vocals but loved her showmanship! Kesha several times voted no to a singer because he wanted someone else to advance, which made the difference a couple times! I believe it was Sarah Darling who who left because of Keisha! This bull has been going on all season! I think Brad’s vote against Josh because he liked Dana may have cost Josh to advance instead of Audrey (I’m not sure about that)!

    These judges are the worst! Only way to stop this is not let judges know any vote count! The way it is now it’s all ludacrious (no pun intended)!

    • Jill Moy says:

      ‘Oh, I forgot to add…SHOULDN’T A SINGER BE VOTED ON FOR A YES OR NO ON THEIR SINGING ABILITY, ESPECIALLY BY THE JUDGES??? IT’S A SINGING COMPETITION, ISN’T IT ?

  23. I disagree about Jessie Kinch He is a power house to be reckoned with he proved singing Billy Jean that his softer notes were exquisite.I don’t know how you come up with this.

    • Jill Moy says:

      MEGAN,

      Obviously Michael isn’t a fan of his! He has given him several B- ratings when he deserves much better. Jesse was just SLIGHTLY off a little on this show but overall was quite good!

      PS- your baby is very cute!

  24. Ava Zinn says:

    Jesse and Austin complete rubbish. Audrey and Dana are pretty much the good acts left on #RisingStar

    • Jill Moy says:

      AVA,

      PALLLLLLESSSSSE! Austin is rubbish! Dana is OK! BUT……Audrey sounds like a fluttering owl….such an annoying cartoon like voice! She isn’t good enough for a karaoke venue!

      Jesse has got the highest vote count every week but once and the one time Brad gave him a no, which was ridiculous and cost him the top spot! Compared to Jesse, the others are dull!

      If anyone other than Jesse wins, it will be robbery, especially if no talent Audrey wins!

  25. Jill Moy says:

    Actually, Dana has a an.lying high pitched terrible voice as well…UGG! Almost as annoying as MISS AUDREY…OH GOD!

  26. Jill Moy says:

    StWell, I’m gonna watch the final now on the DVR!

    Like I said all along from the first minute I heard Jesse, from day 1, he would win! He has been the only singer that is good!

    If Jesse loses, it is rigged and a farce! Austin has been popular as well ( I don’t know why )! I guess Jesse will clobber shrimpy Austin French for the easy win, probably 85-65%! The most predictable win in television history!

  27. Jill Moy says:

    COLTON,

    IN YOUR FACE! French boy loses! As I’ve said from day 1…..Jesse will win! He had to! He was the only singer who could sing! Audrey 49%! The voters weren’t fooled at all..she stinks! If she makes an album, she’ll sell 3 copies…1to herself and 1 each to her mother and father!

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