Rising Star: “I Loved Your Story”

The set of ABC's Rising Star.
Rising Star (Photo: Eric McCandless / ABC)

Rising Star seems to be obsessed with the “triumph through adversity” storytelling model, with actual musical talent taking a backseat.

The audition episodes for Rising Star ended Sunday with five more acts advancing to the duel rounds. The timing of this is perfect, as the parade of personal tragedies was starting to become more of a circus trainwreck. I get it: the show wants the audience to be sympathetic to these people and everyone needs to have a story. However, a series of unfortunate events does not have any bearing on musical talent.

The most egregious example of this was Karen Hornsby, whose daughter has had a hellacious battle with cancer, including blindness and an inability to speak. All things considered, the kid seems happy and relatively healthy, at least from the contestant package. But this isn’t about Hornsby’s daughter, this is (supposed to be) about Hornsby’s singing ability. There were bum notes and pitch issues throughout the performance. She got through thanks to all three judges responding to her story in spite of her significant technical issues.

It’s maddening. Though it did get me thinking of other people who should audition for Rising Star.

My name is Yoko, I’m originally from Japan and now live in New York City. I guess you could call me a peace-loving activist, but with a flair for art and performing. My husband John was a musician also and had a few hits back in the ’60s. Sadly, he was murdered in cold blood outside our apartment. But he always wanted me to be a musician and go after my dreams. I bet he’s listening to me today and smiling!

Then she’d audition:

Kesha would probably vote yes because of the story. Ludacris would curl up into a ball in his chair, crumpled by anxiety cramps at his moral crossroads before voting no. Brad Paisley would think a little too long before voting no, though would offer some constructive criticism about confidence as the audience boos. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next week’s Rising Star is the first of three one-hour1 duels. The panelists will become mentors for the six performing contestants. The way Josh Groban described it, the home audience will be voting for one contestant in each duel, but the wall is involved somehow. Maybe a winning contestant still needs a 70% approval rating to advance? Also, how will West Coast voting work this time around?

Other observations:

  • What is with the images of people behind the audience? Specifically, why are they moving? Are people Skyping into the show? Why?
  • There are currently an odd number of contestants2 who have advanced, so expect some weirdness with one of the duels.
  • Gabrielle Nicole may have set herself up with some trouble, issuing a playful challenge to her competitors which roughly translated to “I’m not here to make friends.” She has my vote.
  1. YAY!  
  2. And a number of odd contestants  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv