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‘Rising Star’ recap: Tragic backstories and Trippendales

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “Auditions Round 3” | Aired July 6, 2014

Last week: A charming contestant named April Lockhart stole our hearts. Josh Groban was sock-shamed. Kesha shared beauty secrets. Ludacris (or “Luda”) was the voice of reason, and Brad Paisley said some stuff. Plus puppies! Now let’s see what’s in store for this week’s episode of Rising Star.

I should note that last week’s ratings were down 20 percent from the premiere (Yikes!). Whatever happens with this show, I’ll be here with you until the bitter end, drinking a tall glass of unicorn tears.

Once again, we open the show with “Josh Groban in space.” Josh is surrounded by a starry sky in the most scenic room on his spaceship, where he fills us in on the premise of the show. Is it about aliens? No, it’s about raising THE WALL with your votes. I think you all know the deal at this point, right? If not, read about it here or here.


This is our final night of auditions before we move on to battles, I mean DUELS. Josh checks in with the experts. Kesha has some hot purple hair, but otherwise they are all as low-energy as usual. (Geez, take a shot of red bull or something! You’re on live TV!) Josh announces that Brad will be performing, and we move right into the first audition after a warning from Josh to “Hydrate!” if you get finger cramps from voting.

First up is Dana Williams, a 24-year-old from Los Angeles. She shares that her father (who passed away) was a guitar player for Michael Jackson and taught her everything she knows. It’s quite sad, and makes her song choice, “Stay,” all the more moving. Her voice is lovely, distinctive and delicate—one of my favorites this season. America and the experts agree, moving Dana to the next round with 87 percent of the vote.


Our first group of the week is unfortunately titled Unselfish. (We are clearly running out of viable group names, folks!) These four guys, who live and work together in Atlanta, are exuberant and charming, but their “Some Nights” isn’t great. The harmonies aren’t as tight as they should be, and their individual voices don’t particularly stand out. THE WALL is unmoved, as are the viewers, giving Unselfish only 45 percent of the vote.

After a commercial break, we meet Cliff Cody, a 39-year-old registered nurse from Ohio. Cliff lives on a farm with two crazy goats named Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and I want to go there. The goats are STARS and make the rest of his background segment moot, but in summary: Cliff dropped nursing to pursue music full-time and is hoping for a shot at the big time in order to support his family. He’s very likable. I want him to be good, but his “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” is shaky and pitchy (probably due to nerves). Cliff gets only 49 percent of the vote, making two goats in Ohio very sad.


There’s a quick segment about Kesha’s cat cult (Just go with it, you guys!), and we meet Audrey Kate Geiger, a 24-year-old surfer who moved to New York to give singing a go after being inspired by her musically inclined father. Her “Stay With Me” is pretty, if a little behind the beat. This song is hard to judge because the original is so immaculate, but Audrey’s rendition is strong enough to raise the wall with 84 percent of the vote (including a “yes” from all three experts). Ludacris calls her voice unique, and in a weird move, Brad and Kesha both recommend she take her long hair down next week.

Our next group is a duo named OhMG. (Really? Okay then!) Their meet-cute location was a house party, and their relationship status is ambiguous. Josh notes a pitch problem in their rehearsal, and that issue is evident in their performance too. Their version of “Lights” starts poorly and never fully recovers, getting only 32 percent of the vote (including a sympathy “yes” from Kesha). Brad notes the difficulty of auditioning in a group, reminding us that both the harmonies and the solo parts have to be spot-on or it’s not going to happen.

OK, you guys, Josh is back with big news: Kesha’s cat cult is trending on Twitter. After giving the audience time to process that important information, we segue way right into the next contestant, Gabrielle Nicole. A 20-year-old from Ohio, Gabrielle has been singing in church since she was three. She calls her style “diva music” and proudly admits she considers herself to be a diva (uh-oh). Luckily, her voice lives up to the hype with a big, beautiful version of “My Man” that makes the crowd go wild and earns her 90 percent of the vote.

We then are treated to our first expert performance of the season—Brad singing his hit single “Riverbank.” It’s all very country, with summery footage of attractive people partying at a river.

After this country interlude, we meet our next contestant, Karen Hornsby, a 36-year-old with a touching backstory. Karen shares that her daughter, Gabi, is unable to speak or see because of a difficult battle with brain cancer. Karen further explains that Gabi responds to her singing even if she can’t articulate it in words. (If you’re watching at home and not crying at this point, you are MADE OF STONE.) Despite some pitch issues due to obvious nerves, Karen’s emotional “To Love You More” raises the wall with 82 percent of the vote. Her husband is so overcome, he runs onstage to hug her, and it’s a sweet moment. All of the experts admit there were issues, but they’re all so moved by Karen’s story, they don’t care. I’m OK with this.


As we dry our happy tears, we’re introduced to yet another boy group, photogenic triplets who go by the moniker TX3. (Oh, God) The boys make a living singing shirtless on the streets of Hollywood under the name Trippendales (sigh). Their “Keep Your Head Up” is not so hot. It’s the pitchiest of the night, and the audience isn’t impressed, giving them only 22 percent of the vote. (Maybe they sing better with their shirts off?)


After a commercial break, Josh tries to get approval on his newest pair of socks. (Oh, Josh. No one will love your socks until YOU learn to love your socks!) We then meet our second-to-last performer, Skye Griffin, a 26-year-old with a troubled familial history. Skye shows up to perform armed with an entirely new hair color, a blowout and hot pants, looking almost unrecognizable. Her “Only Girl in the World” starts solid, if a bit thin, but seems to worsen as the song goes on. The viewers respond by giving her only 28 percent of the vote, keeping the wall firmly in place. THE WALL is not impressed by your makeovers, contestants!

We close out the night with 17-year-old Morgan Higgins. She’s loveable in an adorkable way, but her “Alone” is shaky, with a somewhat flat, musical-theater-y approach. While she has a ton of potential, her voice clearly needs more training. Despite all this, Ludacris and Kesha both say yes, and Morgan raises the wall with 79 percent of the vote. The other experts heckle Brad for saying no, but I have to agree with his take that there was something missing here. While I applaud Morgan’s ability to do this at such a young age, I think this was one of the weaker vocal performances of the competition. Maybe she’ll surprise me in duels! Fingers crossed.


Our night ends with a final reveal. Josh explains that they are choosing one more contestant from the previous rounds to move on to the next round, in order to up their count from 19 to 20 for duels. Based on the highest combined East Coast and West Coast votes, the winner is Unselfish! Alrighty, then!

Things I learned tonight: Ludacris is incapable of voting without contorting his body into different positions. Josh Groban has to work double the hours of most hosts, covering both East Coast and West Coast airings live. Kesha will vote yes for almost anyone, and Brad loves hanging out by the riverside.

Who were your favorite performers this week? Do you think the show is finding its rhythm or no? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll be back next week to discuss another episode of Rising Star.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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