Rising Star – The Duels Part 2 – Live Blog and Videos (UPDATED)


UPDATE: The west coast saved Sonnett Simons who had earned only 3% less of the vote (73%-76%) than April Lockhart, the winner of the duel.

It’s week 2 of “The Duels” on Rising Star. Three more sets of contestants will face off against each other for YOUR vote. We’re live blogging here.

Advancing tonight were Macy Kate, April Lockhart and Austin French.  The fourth contestant to move to the next round will be determined by the west coast vote.  The experts are pulling hard for Gabrielle Nicole, so she’ll probably get the nod. Personally, I would prefer either Sonnett Simmons or Adam Jaymes to get the nod. C’mon west coast! Ignore the “experts” manipulation!

Only April Lockhart vs Sonnett Simmons were close in votes (76 vs 73) but with the experts voting for all of them, the public vote fell into line as well–unlike last week when TWO of the losing competitors earned more votes from the public.

I’ll update with the West Coast results when they become available.

First, film of Brad Paisley and one of last week’s losers, Sarah Darling singing “Whiskey Town” at the Grand Ole Opry over the weekend. Remember when he promised her an appearance as a consolation prize? That, instead of pimping her to the west coast. Oh. She won the popular vote, by the way.

Remember, the contestants flip a coin. The winner performs first in front of the wall. The second is last, behind the wall.

Gabrielle Nicole vs Macy Kate

Gabrielle Nicole – “River Deep Mountain High” – She was the major diva singer that had the crowd going wild. She had a cocky attitude, which could cost her votes. Both Ludacris and Kesha suggest she save the swagger for the stage. She’s so competitive, she’s studied Macy’s videos. I liked her her last week, but she’s trying WAY TOO HAD this week. This is a frantic performance. All three judges vote yes. For the record, I voted no. Seriously, CALM DOWN THERE GIRL. HA HA even with the experts voting for her, she’s only at 49%. The OTT performance coupled with her “attitude” last week did her in. “That’s the way to start off a show” says Ludacris. “You make it look easy.” Kesha calls her a strong woman. She loved watching her go “balls out.” Brad says she moves that stage like she owns it. He can’t understand why she didn’t score higher.

Macy Kate – “Demons” – She auditioned via super-professional looking instagram submission. She’s a Youtube star. Macy accompanies herself on the piano, at first. His is a little unwieldy too. All the experts vote for her and she zooms up to 80%. Eh, this performance was also super try hard. I didn’t really like either of them. Kesha says it’s a tragedy to lose either one of them. Oops. Kesha just said something that was bleeped. I’ll have to read some lips. Brad felt like it took Macy awhile to get going. He liked Gaby better. Both belong on the radio, he says. Luda begs the west coast to save Gaby.

Macy Kate Advances with 80% vs 49%

Josh Groban presents a big ball of yarn to Kesha for her “cat cult.”

April Lockhart vs Sonnet Simmons

Sonnett Simmons – “Feeling Good” – Brad calls it the battle of the “quirky unique” voices. Sonnett gets teary when she talks about being able to connect to the song. Kesha is all YOU CAN DO IT. Oh. I remember her.  She got one of my few yes votes. She has a very unique voice. I really like her phrasing. I’m pretty bored with this song on singing competitions, but she manages to breath new life into it, although she’s got some pitchy stuff going on. SOME REAL PITCHY STUFF. Kesha votes yes. So does Brad and Luda. She’s just under pitch on the high notes. She’s out of her range. She taps out at 73%. Brad calls the song “gutsy.” He wants to hear her do a James Bond theme. Kesha feels like her confidence level is higher, and that she really “lived” it.  Oh. Luda doesn’t get to talk. Short of time!

Brad and Josh are talking trash about each other on twitter.

April Lockhart – “Animal” – April is intimidating because she is younger and less experienced compared to Sonnett. She’s worried about the rangy notes in the second verse. She’s all weirdo enunciation and precious phrasing. She really should audition for The Voice. She’s pretty good actually.  Her performance isn’t as ambitious vocally as Sonnett’s, but she’s mostly in tune and she’s got a relevant vibe. She played guitar last time with a specially made “beak” that took the place of her missing hand (She lost it in a birthing mishap) Her disability wasn’t even mentioned this week. When all of the experts vote for her, they push her past 76%.  Luda says he’s voting yes a lot tonight. It took him awhile to vote, but she took their advice and pulled it together.    Brad thinks she has an international career, particularly in Iceland and Japan (???). Josh had compared her outfit to Bjork. Not really feeling that vibe. But OK.  No Kesha because we running behind time!

Nobody begs the west coast to vote for Sonnett. In fact, Josh gives her the “thanks for playing” speech. Personally, despite being pitchy, I think she was the better singer.

April Lockhart Advances 76% vs 73%

Adam Jaymes vs Austin French

Austin French – “I Don’t Want to Be” – The experts advise Austin to distinguish himself in some way. In other words- YOU’RE BORING DUDE STEP IT UP. Yep. He’s super generic. His voice is lightweight, karaoke.  I thought he stood out in his audition when he performed “Georgia on My Mind” but this ain’t doing much for me. I think he could have chosen a better song. All experts are voting yes again! What’s wrong with Ludacris? He’s going soft.  Whoa. He ends at 81%. Kesha calls him super-soulful. Luda thinks America loves his optimism. Maybe it’s the church background. He’s proud that he’s improved his stage presence. This time, no Brad.

Adam Jaymes – “Free Fallin” – He really appreciated Brad’s advice. All the experts tell him to bring out his “bad boy.”  Not sure why that’s necessary on this particular song? He accompanies himself on guitar. He has a few pitchy moments at first. But nevertheless, I already like this performance best. He has some edge and emotion that Austin lacks. He’s going to have a hard time beating Austin’s vote. Especially after Luda votes no. He’s toast. Brad and Kesha vote yes.  He taps out at 53%.  Ludacris felt he did good but not great, played it too safe. Kesha likes the way he looked. She wanted more from him, the momentum wasn’t there. Brad thought his song choice was risky. He calls Austin tough competition and one of the best singers in the competition. He never misses a note. Bleh. But he’s so boring.

Austin French Advances 81% vs 53%

The final 4 duels air next week:

Youth Pastor Joshua Peavy vs Super Mom Karen Hornsby (she’s the one with the sick kid)
Dana Williams vs “surfer girl” Audrey Kate
Classically trained bgv, Shameia Crawford vs R&B group, Unselfish
High school student, Morgan Higgins, vs fellow teen (she sang opera), Maneepat Myra Molloy

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Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted.I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!
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  • Bunny391848

    This is the song that got Pia voted off on Idol and Sissaundra on The Voice……….

  • Kimmy Moores

    God I’m praying the judges pull through and just downvote the hell out of that macy girl.

  • Kimmy Moores

    To be fair, Sisaundra was practically destined to be voted off that week.

  • girlygirl

    That was not a good vocal. It was all frantic energy with a vocal that was off key from the first note. All 3 judges voted yes (why?), which means Gabrielle only got 28% of the public voters to vote “yes”

    ETA – Wow, Macy Kate’s vocal is not good either. She got 80% of the vote? I guess I was hearing something different than the voters

  • Kimmy Moores

    I find this girl to be ridiculously overrated. Not even going to act like I have a rational reason, cause I don’t.

  • Bunny391848

    My mom and I saw her open for one of my favorite bands last March and my mom thought Macy was eh…..I still don’t get why she’s even on there since her IG audition as a Kurt Schneider video…….I think she has potential but is not there yet….

  • nystargate

    Yup, It’s one of the “songs of death”. It’s sad to see a good singer pick a song that is no good for them. She was great last time and terrible this time. It was way too frantic.

  • Amy Beth

    Lord have mercy, it’s the battle of the weirdest sob stories–crazy cult mom vs. one-handed guitarist.

  • Kimmy Moores

    Looking for signs of a note in tune >.>

  • nystargate

    Oh, dear! Another song of death. And she completely fell apart in the second half. Awful…

  • Kimmy Moores

    She scored hella high though.

  • girlygirl

    I think my ears are bleeding. It shouldn’t be this hard to sing on key, should it?

  • girlygirl

    Not if you take away the judges’ votes, she didn’t

  • Kimmy Moores

    Macy scored 80. She scored 70. Take away the judges votes and she was only 10% less of Macy sans judges votes…and that was muuuuch more than what Gabrielle scored without the judges votes lol

  • Kimmy Moores

    This is such staged bullshit :/

  • Bunny391848

    Guess Josh and Brad are the new Adam and Blake…..

  • Kimmy Moores

    Not interested in affected voices anymore…and I’d be willing to say she nearly forgot lyrics.

  • Kimmy Moores

    Someone needs to tell these judges to stop making such bold faced lies.
    “You’re going to be big all over the world”
    Lol, no. No

  • Bunny391848

    I was just thinking of this song…It’s always so overly covered on Idol……..

  • nystargate

    Ugh! Another done to death song. “I Don’t Want To Hear”

  • girlygirl

    Is this the only Gavin DeGraw song people know? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard it on singing competition shows

  • Kimmy Moores

    I actually liked his vocal though I wanted more…
    But please, please PLEASE. I don’t care if Gavin himself has to appear on the stage and explain to everyone that he has these wonderful things, called ALBUMS, that carry mounds of other songs by him. Someone get that point across thoroughly.

  • Bunny391848

    Bo Bice, Elliott Yamin, Chris Richardson, Michael Sarver, Casey James and probably a bunch of others on the Non-Idol shows………

  • Kimmy Moores

    Oh my God. Not another song I just don’t want to hear

  • Kimmy Moores

    “Vocally adept pop singers”
    Look ya’ll. Brad found a variation for WGWG LOL

  • girlygirl

    No, Josh — the voters gave Austin 60% of their votes. The judges gave him the other 21%. Stop trying to make it sound like a high percentage of the viewers are voting for these people.

  • Kimmy Moores

    I’m pretty sure the only one who’s ever gotten 70% of the voters votes is Jesse..
    It’s ridiculous how much power these judges/experts have.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    And thereby Brad All-Hat-No-Cattle Paisley justifies his existence… that when Rising Star is won by what’s his name who’s possessed by Jimi Hendrix from last week, the show will have its VERY OWN EUPHEMISM for having the same kind of winner as all its competitors do.

  • girlygirl

    That was the best performance of the night in terms of the actual vocal IMO. But it didn’t build until right near the end and might have been too understated.

  • Karen C

    I missed most of the show, I only saw April Lockhart and the last duel. I didn’t think any of them were that great but thought Adam Jaymes was better than Austin French.

    I agree the judges at 7% have too much power, in this case they really decided the winner, and how can you do that without hearing both performances before voting. Very flawed system.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Why is there a wholesome young man doing a Frank Sinatra-style interpretation of Gavin DeGraw’s most over-exposed song, and how do I make him stop?

    Gabrielle Nicole = song that got away from her.
    Macy Kate = song she hog-wrestled into submission (I actually like her, though).

    Sonnet Simmons = eep.
    April Lockhart = have her do a duet with Melanie Martinez, and we’ll all be transformed into adorable pastel-colored Peeps. Add Alex Preston to the mix (we’ll call it a twee-oh), and that opens a portal into Tim Burton’s version of Wonderland. (I mostly like all three, but still…)

    Austin French = just sing “My Way” and have done.
    Adam Jaymes = somebody gene-spliced Cook and P2 into the ultimate WGWG… and yet… the hybridization somehow didn’t work. Oh well, there’s another batch of experimental subjects in a vat somewhere.

    It occurs to me that the emphasis on sob stories doesn’t compensate for the unfortunate reality that we’ve been presented with such a flood of reality singing-show contestants over the past few years that it’s becoming difficult to see them as actual human beings, with work and aspirations and feelings, rather than this year’s line of Music Fever Barbie & Friends.

  • Dean

    Maybe I missed something but for next week they have the group Unselfish performing, didn’t they get eliminated? I know they didn’t get enough west coast votes to make it. Did they just bring them back on because they needed someone to go against Shameia, singing the same genre of music.

  • girlygirl

    I would like to give credit to Brad Paisley for one thing tonight. Josh Groban was talking about how Brad Paisley had followed through on his promise to have Sarah Darling perform with him at the Opry. Josh was trying to say what a great honor this must have been for Sarah, how Brad made her dreams come true, blahdiblah. But then Brad calmly pointed out that Sarah had performed at the Opry before. Basically shooting down the idea of this tv show making dreams come true,

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    I believe her publicist’s press release blast said it was Sarah Darling’s 60th performance at the Opry.

    Paisley did the right thing, but he had the incentive that the truth was already widely enough distributed that doing the wrong thing would have led to a social media eruption. Why TPTB thought they could get away with this spin is anybody’s guess… mine being “hubris.”

    Publicist also called out how the viewers’ vote had been distorted by the judges’ participation. It was all very calm, neutral language, but the situation was not left ambiguous.

  • http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ mjsbigblog

    I snorted when Brad promised to take her to the Opry, as if she hadn’t performed there many many times before.

  • ramiyeIl

    @kimmymoores:disqus Gabrielle didn’t score a 70.

  • tripp_ncwy

    What I have seen of the show (not much), Josh Groban does mentoring during rehearsals for the contestants and I imagine they have vocal coaches as well. That being the case, why are all these performances so underwhelming?

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    That being the case, why are all these performances so underwhelming?

    Because while they’re performing, the contestants are getting way too much feedback on how they’re doing (they can see how their vote is going), and that ramps up their normal nervousness to the point that they lose the key, lose their concentration, and/or go into a frenzy of terrifying effort.

    In an Idol or Voice setting, where feedback is limited to the audience waving its arms and the judges jiggling like bobblehead dolls (much more like a normal concert, if your concerts involve JLo popping in to demand that everybody look at her), most of these people who made the battle rounds would sound pretty good. (It’s not like several of them didn’t have pro or semi-pro careers already.)

    I was very open to this show’s concept in its first week, but as executed, it tends to trip over its own feet.