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‘Rising Star’ recap: Meet the final 4

Season 1 | Episode 9 | “Semifinals“ | Aired Aug 17, 2014

Last week: Eight contestants were reduced to six during another awkward game of musical chairs. Questionable song choices sent a couple of favorites home (you’ll be missed, April Lockhart!). Kesha did NOT show up with rainbow hair on the previous episode, which set the tone for a somewhat underwhelming evening. Now let’s see what’s cooking this week on Rising Star. 

The show opens on our remaining six competitors standing onstage as Josh Groban narrates. We cut to see Josh in the greenroom in front of Ludacris, Brad Paisley and two buckets of water. I think anyone with a Facebook account knows where this is going, but in case you don’t: Brad and Ludacris gleefully soak Josh as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Josh then nominates the semifinalists to take the challenge.


Josh (or “Joshua Tree,” as he calls himself) is now onstage, miraculously dry. He announces that Kesha changes her hair color more than Brad changes underwear (although this doesn’t really apply tonight, since Kesha’s hair color is a repeat of previous weeks). Josh also confirms that three of tonight’s finalists will be saved by the East Coast, while the West Coast will get its regular bread crumb of saving one (for a total of four finalists). Also, each of the experts will get only 1 percent of the vote, so it’s up to YOU, intrepid at-home judges.


This week, Josh and the experts are tag-teaming each contestant with their expertise. Josh and Brad are handling the vocal and musical side of the performance, while Kesha and Ludacris are coaching on choreography and stage presence.

First up is newlywed Austin French. His “Love Runs Out” is high-energy and looks great thanks to some helpful coaching during rehearsal. It also sounds great (the vocal doesn’t suffer at all from the added movement). There is no doubt that this guy has one of the best voices in the competition. Viewers and the experts agree, giving Austin 81 percent of the vote.

Tonight’s second performer (and last week’s West Coast save) is our youngest, Maneepat Molloy. Her pick, “Chandelier,” is not the ideal choice. The song is too wonderfully weird to be handled with musical-theater gloves, and while the upper notes that cause most people to stumble are spot on, Maneepat struggles with her chest/head voice mix throughout. That struggle shows in her 27 percent total vote.

After commercial, we return to current frontrunner Jesse Kinch, and revisit last week’s commentary from Brad saying he’d like to hear something different from Jesse. Brad clarifies, explaining he’d like to see a softer side, and Jesse gives him that with a dynamic cover of “Billie Jean.” I absolutely love the idea of flipping this song, but this oddly metered version takes the wind out of the song’s sails. However, Jesse still cuts through the neutered arrangement, slaying it and earning 83 percent of the vote (the highest of the night so far). With that, we’re reminded that Maneepat is in the hot seat, and we see a return of the old leaderboard, telling us that the next contestant will need more than 27 percent to raise THE WALL and secure a place in the finals.

THE WALL comes down for the next contestant, Dana Williams. She calls herself the underdog of the competition, and Kesha sweetly consoles Dana when she has a tearful crisis of confidence during rehearsal. After all of that, Dana’s torchy version of “Sunday Morning” is gorgeous and unexpected, and it successfully raises THE WALL with 75 percent of the vote. Even Ludacris responds to Dana’s comeback, giving her a “yes” vote. Being a fan of Dana from day one, this basically makes me feel like giving everyone a box of puppies. However, this does mean Maneepat has been ejected from the hot seat and shuffled to the bottom 3.

Um, apparently everyone is getting in on the bare lightbulb trend reinforced by this show. Check out this car commercial that aired tonight. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Bare lightbulbs make everything sexier.


Our fifth contestant tonight is sultry songstress Audrey Kate Geiger, whose performance of “New York State of Mind” was one of last week’s biggest highlights. Audrey’s “Killing Me Softly” makes me happy (it was the last song I performed on The Voice, so I have a special connection to it). Her smoky rendition is lovely and understated and true to the original. While I love it, viewers at home seem to have a harder time connecting to it (maybe they’re more familiar with the more soulful remake?). Voting moves slowly and only gets Audrey to 69 percent, relegating her to the bottom 3. THE WALL stays firmly in place.

Since we’re nearing the end of the evening, now’s the time for the hosts to get wacky. In response to a Twitter dare, Josh pulls out some crazy wigs for Brad and Ludacris to model in honor of Kesha. This is the end result. Please do enjoy.

wig_-_brad wig_-_luda-1

Tonight’s final performer is family man Joshua Peavy. After Joshua rehearses his initial song choice, Brad recommends he switch gears and go country, covering “What Hurts the Most” instead. While Joshua sounds great on this song, he looks physically uncomfortable and seems to be working a bit harder than usual vocally. His 72 percent is not shabby, but it’s not enough to steal the hot seat from Dana, and Joshua moves to the bottom 3.

Josh closes the night by revealing this week’s West Coast save to be Audrey Kate Geiger. Aw, good choice, West Coast! That ice cream I promised is back ON.


Things I learned this week: Kesha needs to change hair color stat, or we’re all going to forget that’s her thing. Dana Williams is the little underdog that could. “Chandelier” is never the right choice for a singing competition, and Jesse can make just about any song arrangement sound compelling. Additionally, I want to walk around all day long with bare lightbulbs behind me, because they bring the sexy.

Who were your favorites this week, and who are you rooting for in next week’s finals? Do you agree with the West Coast save? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll see you again next week for the season finale 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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