'Rising Star' Recap: New Show Begins With Several Contestants Advancing

PHOTO: Internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter Josh Groban, country music superstar Brad Paisley, pop music sensation Kesha and hip hop artist and actor Ludacris have signed on to ABCs "Rising Star," which premieres June 22, 2014.
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ABC's new and interactive singing competition, “Rising Star,” premiered Sunday night with a two-hour show. While it aired live on the East Coast, viewers on the other side of the country also had the chance to determine the contestants' fate.

Viewers were asked to download the Rising Star app, "check in," before each performance, and vote on each contestant, who sang behind a huge video wall. If the contestant received at least 70 percent in "yes" votes, the wall rose, and he or she advanced.

The “Rising Star” "experts" -- Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley -- were allowed to vote. So were West Coast viewers, even though they watched the show on delay. Their votes counted toward contestants who didn't make the cut during the East Coast airing.

At stake in the competition: a contract with Capitol Records.

Josh Groban is the host of “Rising Star,” frequently engaging in witty banter with the contestants and experts.

Here are the highlights from the series premiere:

Joshua Peavy, 28, was the first contestant in “Rising Star” to take the stage. He delivered a performance of Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" that earned him 80 percent of the vote. Ludacris gave him props for kicking off the competition. Kesha said she could feel the performance. Brad praised Joshua for showing heart.

Maneepat Molloy, 16, was a little different from your typical reality-TV singing contestant. She belted out the Italian song "Con Te Partiro," made famous by Andrea Bocelli. She barely advanced, with 73 percent of the vote. Ludacris said Maneepat lacked presence, though Kesha believed that's something that can be learned with experience. Brad said he voted for her based on potential.

Daniel Wolfe and Olivia Thai made up the first act that failed to meet the 70-percent threshold on the live broadcast. Ludacris dismissed the duo's version of OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" as drunken karaoke. Kesha said Daniel and Olivia's enthusiasm was sweet. Both she and Brad encouraged them to keep at it.

Jesse Kinch, 20, raised the stakes, drawing 92 percent for his strong rendition of "I Put a Spell on You." Ludacris said Jesse exceeded expectations and made the most of his time on stage. Kesha said Jesse's voice was sexy. Brad joked that Jesse may have killed someone with his performance.

Sarah Darling tallied 88 percent with her take on Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round." Brad implied that they have mutual connections, and then complimented the way she handled what he considers to be one of the best country songs of the past five years. Kesha was hoping Sarah would reach higher notes.

Macy Kate, 17, was a surprise contestant plucked from the audience. She closed the show with Rixton's "Me and My Broken Heart." She received over 90 percent of the vote. Kesha said she was blown away. Ludacris said there's room for improvement but it was a good start.

“Rising Star” continues next Sunday on ABC.

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