Rising Star Recap: Wall You Were Sleeping [Updated]

Rising Star Sonnet Simmons cult

Oh, come on, it’s not all dark clouds and Kardashian hindquarter selfies over at ABC’s Rising Star. After a critically maligned and ratings-challenged premiere last week, the good news is that the possibility of week-to-week viewership declines could make things exciting for folks who stay loyal to the not-entirely-tuneful cause.

Suppose, for example, that only 100 actively engaged voters stick with this reality-competition mess through its Season 1 finale: You — yes, you! — might actually wind up contributing one percent of the total vote. How’s that for power?

And fret not, west coast residents, you’re important, too: In what can only be described as an absolute coincidence by ABC’s publicity team, tonight’s first and last contestants scored just under the 70% total needed to “raise the wall” and advance to Round 2. “The west coast will save you!” guaranteed Kesha, after Shameia Crawford opened the show and fell just short with 69%. Likewise, Megan Tibbits ended the telecast gasping her way through a John Legend number — but playing the harp while she did it! — and thus earned 68%.

To clarify, any contestant scoring a 70% total from logged-in viewers and/or some combo of the show’s judges (who account for 7% each of the voting total) during the live east-coast feed OR in the tape-delayed west coast feed will advance to Round 2.

Gack. I know. You barely care enough to keep Rising Star on in the background while you load the dishwasher. You definitely don’t want to read a 1,000-word recap.

So, bearing that in mind, let me offer some brief thoughts, then pass the mic to you.

Shameia Crawford, “We Are Young”
(rejected with 69% of the votes, including all three judges)
Way to suck the life and youth out of a fairly recent radio hit with an abysmal arrangement, Ray Chew & Co! Also, the vocals were not on point.
Grade: C

April Lockhart, “Say You’ll Be There”
(advanced with 85% of votes, including all three judges)
Her final glory note was brutal, but cool song choice and rich tone scored a “yes” vote from me before she hit it.
Grade: B

Austin French, “Georgia on My Mind”
(advanced with 87% of votes, including all three judges)
A comment from my barely-paying-attention husband: “This guy is a quote-unquote rising star because Kesha — for f—‘s sake Kesha! — hit a button?!”
Grade: C

Trinitii, “Problem”
(rejected with 30% of the votes, including Kesha)
This show has one less problem without this trio. And damn, that was some rough rapping.
Grade: D-

Alice J. Lee, “You and I”
(advanced with 73% of votes, including Ludacris and Kesha)
The judges were right — the off-Broadway baby wasn’t quite bluesy enough, but at least she hit most of her notes. Which on this show, ought to result in an automatic Top 10 placement.
Grade: B

Rye Davis, “When You Say Nothing at All”
(rejected with 45% of the votes, including none of the judges)
I guarantee I will not remember this performance by the time I’m pouring milk over my Wheat Chex tomorrow.
Grade: D+

Sonnet Simmons, “Wicked Game”
(advanced with 81% of votes, including all three judges)
Nice combo of power and vulnerability — combined with an ethereal falsetto and some melodic risk-taking — makes her one to watch, despite a few wobbly notes. Did Kesha really need to make jokes about Sonnet’s mom having been in a cult? (Short answer: No.)
Grade: B+

Deedra Ervin, “Anything Could Happen”
(rejected with 26% of the votes, including none of the judges)
I liked that she boogied and bounced around. Let’s leave it at that — seeing as her family’s house just burned down two weeks ago.
Grade: D+

Will Roth, “Sweater Weather”
(advanced with 83% of votes, including all three judges)
Bearded growler got Kesha’s vote based on facial hair and backstory — he’s a vet tech and private detective. Based on his vocal accuracy, though, I’ll just say it’s a good thing he’s got two other careers on which to fall back.
Grade: C-

Egypt Dixon, “Fancy”
(rejected with 44% of the votes, including Kesha)
Her rapping wasn’t half bad — or, well, uh… at least she had believable attitude? Not the most talented contestant, but maybe Rising Star would’ve been a little more interesting if she’d advanced. (I voted “yes” — sue me!)
Grade: C+

Adam Jaymes, “I Won’t Give Up”
(advanced with 87% of votes, including all three judges)
He delivered Jason Mraz’s big hit with a ton of passion — but I would’ve liked a little more vocal precision, especially in the latter half of the performance. The fleet cadence of the bridge was not his strong point, either, it must be said.
Grade: B-

Megan Tibbits, “All of Me”
(rejected with 68% of the votes, including Kesha and Brad)
The show’s producers would obviously love a west-coast veto — to prove the show isn’t an exercise in futility for folks closer to the Pacific than the Atlantic. But honestly, girlfriend’s vocal had more heavy breathing than an obscene phone caller.
Grade: D+

What did you think of Episode 2 of Rising Star? How did it compare to Episode 1? Did anybody strike you as a future chart-topper? Sound off below!

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