ABC's interactive singing competition "Rising Star" continued Sunday night with four contestants advancing to the semifinals after the East Coast vote and one additional act being sent through after the West Coast broadcast.
Jesse Kinch, Austin French, Joshua Peavy, Audrey Kate Geiger and Dana Williams advanced to next week's semifinals.
The top eight acts went up against one another to compete for the highest score. The first five sang with the wall up. The act with the lowest score up to that point was placed in the “hot seat,” and the next three contestants then sang with the wall down, trying to beat that person’s score. Viewers who downloaded the “Rising Star” app were asked to vote “yes” or “no,” just as they did in the audition round.
The two-hour show aired live on the East Coast, but viewers on the other side of the country had the chance to move an additional contestant on to the quarterfinals.
Host Josh Groban and the "Rising Star" "experts" -- Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley -- presided over the performances. Votes from the "experts" only counted for 3 percent.
Here are the highlights from Sunday night:
Christian youth and music pastor Joshua Peavy kicked things off singing the Lenny Kravitz version of the Guess Who’s “American Woman.” He earned 71 percent of the vote, including a "yes" from Kesha, who was skeptical at first. But she thought Peavy “looked like a bad**s, had blue hair and sang amazing.”
Ludacris, echoed the comments of viewers following the show on Twitter and complimented Joshua on his “energy” and “vocal control.” He voted “yes.” Brad also voted “yes,” noting Peavy “had the moves” to go along with his voice. Peavy moved on to the semifinals.
Dana Williams, 24, followed with Christina Perri’s “Human,” collecting 57 percent of the vote. Ludacris voted “no,” explaining that he “loved the high notes,” but felt there were several parts of the performance that were a little “iffy.”
Kesha voted "yes," telling Williams she really believed in her. She also complimented the singer on her "gutsiest performance" so far. Paisley wanted to hear something more in the performance, but heard enough in it to vote “yes.”
April Lockhart performed Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and earned just 27 percent of the vote. Brad, who earlier commented that Lockhart always seems to find a song to match her voice, commented, “Maybe we found one you can’t do.” He gave her a “no.”
Ludacris once again quoted comments from viewers following on Twitter who thought it was a “bad song choice.” Kesha agreed, but voted “yes” because it was “a fun song,” and April was such a “fun, cute girl.” April was eliminated from the competition.
Sixteen-year-old Bangkok native Maneepat Molloy followed with Elton John’s “Your Song,” and racked up 46 percent of the vote. Kesha voted “yes,” telling Molloy, “This is a singing competition and you sing real good.” Brad thought it needed “a little more soul” and voted “no.”
Ludacris didn’t comment because of a lack of time, but also voted “no.” Maneepat Molloy was eliminated after the East coast broadcast, but saved by the West Coast and advances to the semifinals.
Audrey Kate Geiger, a Long Branch, New Jersey, native living in New York City these days, tackled Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” It drew standing ovations from the judges and garnered 85 percent of the vote. Ludacris voted “yes,” and said he liked everything about the performance, calling it “unique.”
Kesha voted “yes,” noting it was an example of a great song choice and “America loved it.” Brad also voted "yes" and declared, “We have a couple of stars on the show and you’re one of them.”
Geiger moved on to the semifinals.
Austin French, the first artist to sing with the wall down, raised it with his version of “House of the Rising Sun.” French collected 89 percent of the vote. Brad admitted he’s “never loved that song,” but acknowledged Austin “did it as well as anybody” and voted "yes."
Paisley added that he wanted to hear the Tifton, Georgia, native “sing a country song.” Kesha voted “yes,” explaining she loved the song choice and thought Austin “did it justice.” Ludacris loved the arrangement and voted “yes.” French advanced to the semifinals.
It was now 30-year-old full-time musician Shameia Crawford‘s turn to raise the wall or go home. Her score of 54 percent with Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” was enough to do that. Kesha voted “yes,” noting she “loved the conviction” in Crawford’s eyes.
Ludacris gave her a “yes” because he thought out of everyone in the competition she “wanted it the most.” In spite of that, Shameia went directly to the “hot seat” and was eventually eliminated from the competition.
Multi-instrumentalist Jesse Kinch raised the wall with his version of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want),” later popularized by the Beatles. It earned 88 percent of the vote. Ludacris voted "yes," declaring “some people work hard for it, some are born with it,” but Kinch “has both.”
Paisley, also voted “yes,” saying he loved the performance, but felt it was a “clichéd cover song.” But he also urged the 20-year-old New York native to choose a song that “shows him something unique.” Kinch moved on to the semifinals.
Rising Star continues next Sunday on ABC.
Editor's Note: This story was corrected to show that Dana Williams advanced to the semi-finals.