A few years ago I thought The X-Factor would succeed and The Voice would fail. I am so glad I was wrong. However, I also thought the new Rising Star that debuted on ABC last night would do well. It didn’t. The show debuted to a 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic and 5 million viewers. It did top Twitter, however – which seems to be what a lot of shows are tracking these days.
The show, based on an Israeli series, has singers behind a screen is voted live by viewers in the Eastern, Central and Mountain time zones, with West being on a tape delay. If the singers get 70% of the votes from the viewers and judges, the screen rises and the performer moves on. Seems like a unique enough concept right? The show has been huge in Israel, but didn’t seem to catch American viewers’ eyes.
Host Josh Groban seemed uncomfortable on stage and felt rushed at times. He’s a nice enough guy, but came off very nervous and didn’t add really anything to the first episode. The show also felt very staged when they “grabbed someone out of the audience” who auditioned via Instagram – and she seemed very ready to sing. The “experts” Ludacris, Ke$ha, and Brad Paisley didn’t add much too the show, but were a fun addition.
Debuting on a Sunday might not have helped much either, but singing competitions have also been on the decline as of late. Fox has canceled The X-Factor and American Idol has had its lowest viewership since its first season. Even The Voice, the one singing competition that has stayed consistent for most of its run, has declined a bit during this spring season. It might be that singing competition fatigue has FINALLY settled in, and America just doesn’t want another “mindless” reality show.
Debuting live might have hurt the show too, while every other singing competition that I can think of has debuted with taped performances and auditions first. That might have been a cool idea in concept, but doesn’t seem to have worked well when it actually happened. We will see if the ratings grow as the weeks go on, but reviews have been lukeworm at best.