Rising Star Semifinals Results – Top 6 – Live Blog and Videos

Rising Star Semifinals Results

UPDATE: Audrey Kate Geiger wins the West Coast Vote. She’ll move on with Austin French, Dana Williams and Jesse Kinch to next week’s final. She beat Joshua Peavy by only 1%.

Host, Josh Groban takes the ALS Ice Bucket challenge during the show intro! He challenges the six semifinalists to do the same.  Three of the singers will advance to the finals, with one West coast save.

The “experts” votes will only count for 1% each. This week, Josh and the experts mentor the contestants–particularly on song choice.  After the last couple of weeks of terrible song picks, the producers probably figured it was a good idea to step in.

“America, pull your head out of your apps,” says Josh. Har har.

Austin French – Love Runs Out – An upbeat, contemporary song for Austin. It’s perfect for him, because it retains that funky, soulful, retro vibe that has been his signature in this competition. It’s a confident, energetic performance. The votes rise and rise. Kesha is the first to vote yes. Brad is next. Luda is last minute–probably just for show. Austin tops out at 81%. Kesha calls him “infectiously cute.” Brad says, “You’re so natural at this.” Luda is impressed with the way Austin worked the stage, coming right up close to the experts. Luda joins Austin on stage to demonstrate! – 81%

Maneepat Malloy – Chandelier – In the mentoring session, Kesha joins Maneepat on stage to give her performance pointers.  Will the advice help? Live, Maneepat remains as boring as ever. She adds some weird facial expresses and hand gestures.  It doesn’t help that she’s flat on the high notes. She really has a weak, undramatic head voice.  Oy. This is so bad. This girl should have been eliminated weeks ago. She tops out at 27%  Luda voted no.  She sang a difficult song, but didn’t master it, he says. To say the least. Brad voted yes, because she looked more comfortable. But he agrees there were vocal problems. Kesha is glad she took her advice. “You sang it beautifully,” says Kesha. Yeah. About as well as Kesha would have.  Therein lies the problem of Kesha as a judge of vocal ability. – 27%

Jesse Kinch – Billie Jean – For once, Jesse doesn’t get the pimp spot. Not that he needs it. Brad wants Jesse to surprise him.  Yes Jesse! It’s time to surprise us all! And what does he choose? A cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”– because a rocker has never sung it on a competition reality show before. Snerk.  Jesse begins slow and dramatic, with an acoustic guitar. Strings! Jesse shows off his powerful vocals. Brad votes yes. He stands up with his hands in his air. Luda votes yes. OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW THIS WAS DONE BEFORE by American Idol season 7 winner, David Cook. And that it was originally sung and arranged by Chris Cornell. It was a major moment for David on the show. The arrangement isn’t exactly the same, but similar enough that hands will wring. “Who the hell sings a Michael Jackson song and makes them forget it’s a Michael Jackson song.” asks Luda. LOL. The experts are all over themselves praising Jesse’s originality. It was a good performance. Jesse can sang. But. You know.  –  83%

Dana Williams – Sunday Morning – Dana cries during rehearsal as the experts encourage her. Luda says if she puts that emotion in her song, she can’t lose. Dana is glamorous, in a black halter topped gown. I’ve been pulling for this singer all along. She really is an underdog. I will be voting yes, unless she blows it. And tonight, the experts words of encouragement must have really helped, because she’s singing the best she ever has. Dana BRANGING IT! Finally, an accessible song choice. Her jazzy interpretation really shows off her unique tone and beautiful phrasing. She’s present on stage in a way she never has been before. She barely misses a note. A big impressive finish. She gets 3 yeses and tops out at 75%. I hope she advances to the finals. Kesha calls her a diamond in the rough. Luda is happy she did her homework and feels she’s proved that she wants it. Brad feels it was the first time she really connected to the audience. – 75%.

Maneepat Malloy is eliminated.

Audrey Kate Geiger – Killing Me Softly – New York State of Mind was such a hit last week, Audrey mines the oldies again this week. It’s a good performance. But she’s playing it too safe. Love her quirky sound, but her interpretation is one note. The experts all vote yes. But I’m bored. I wish she’d play with dynamics more. Oh. She tops out at 69%. Audrey Kate is eliminated!. Luda thought the performance got off to a slow start. He understands why America voted no. Kesha thought the song choice was wrong. I think the song choice was OK, but that vocal arrangement was a snoozer. Brad says, “We got to save you.” – 69%

Audrey Kate Geiger is eliminated.

Joshua Peavy – What Hurts the Most – Brad convinced Josh to sing Rascal Flatts. You’ll remember that Brad voted no last week, making the suggestion that he sing country. What’s with these song arrangements beginning with the chorus? Josh gets off to a yelly start. I’m not sure this is a great song choice for Joshua, to be honest. His upper range here isn’t up to task. But he’s singing for his family and daughter, who are sitting in the audience. That should help. His votes are inching up. Luda votes no! He tops out at 72%. ELIMINATED! YESSSS. That was a frantic, uncomfortable performance. Brad thought he did did great. He thinks country is where Josh belongs. No. Josh belongs in AC or Gospel. His attempt to navigate a new genre didn’t work. Brad offers to record Josh. Luda basically voted no to save Dana. I LOVE YOU LUDA. – 72%.

There’s a good chance Joshua will be saved by the west coast.

Austin French, Dana Williams and Jesse Kinch advance to the finals! A fourth finalist will be determined by the west coast. I’ll update later!


Jesse Kinch – 83%
Austin French – 81%
Dana Williams – 75%
Joshua Peavy – 72%
Audrey Kate Geiger – 69%
Manapeet Malloy – 27%

About mj santilli 33694 Articles
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!


  1. I’m here…Think most people forgot about this show. I’m just watching for Jesse

  2. Basically the stage direction for this performance consisted of someone saying “Knee-bend and point!”

  3. The west coast does realize this is what they saved…right? Jesus

  4. I’m here. I’m willing to bet Jesse is gonna get the last spot again. >.< I like Austin too but he (and everyone else) doesn't stand a chance.

  5. and Emily West’s “Chandelier” is wayy better than Mannepat’s

  6. Kat Perkins too.
    This girl does not have vocals for power-anything.
    Seriously, she needs to accept her voice for the daintiness it is and stick to Lana songs or something.

  7. I thought Austin was just ok. Maneeep was off a bit on that song, like she didn’t have enough range.

  8. Yep..Maybe she should stick singing to opera but she should sing easier songs than “Time To Say Goodbye”

  9. Either my twitter timeline is about to explode or no one on it will even be watching……..

  10. Did I hear Josh Groban and Kesha try to claim that girl worked the stage? She stood in the same spot the entire song (once she made her initial entrance). How is that working the stage? She also missed a boatload of notes.

    Austin was ok. I felt him trying to work the stage was a little forced, but at least he tried. And he stayed more or less on key.

  11. So Jesse doesn’t get the pimp spot. Although he might be getting the last slot before they have to sing behind the wall?

  12. Why am I not the slightest bit surprised he’s singing Billie Jean?
    I look forward to this tbh.

  13. So Kesha’s never heard David Cook’s version of Billie Jean — which like Jesse’s version tonight, is based om Chris Cornell’s version.

  14. Can we take a look at how much faster the bar began to rise when Jesse got off that tenderhearted junk?
    People want balls to the wall Jesse. I sure do.

  15. I’ve heard both, and it sounds to me that he is doing David Cook’s version, actually, more than Chris Cornells. And not very good either.

  16. 1st half sucked. 2nd half is what I tune in for.
    Jesse ought to leave these experts to themselves (minus Luda) and just do what got him his 90-something percent score the first time.

  17. To me, that sounded like he was trying to do David Cook’s version of Billie Jean. He even sounded like he was tryign to sound like David..

    Definately didn’t have the impact that David’s version did.

  18. What would you like him to sing next? Totally old school or relatively current? I’m not sure.

  19. Jesse was good. I wanted him to do something tender but maybe a different song. No one will be able to do Billie Jean the way David Cook did.

  20. I never feel sent back in time whenever he sings so he could sing some good ol’ old school and I’d have 0 problem with that.
    The sound of his voice strikes me as current. He isn’t Caleb imo. That’s what they’re making him seem like.

  21. If I had to choose an ideal top 3?
    Jesse, Austin, Audrey.
    And Dana if there’s a save tonight.

  22. I don’t trust the west coast anymore after they saved maneecrap over Shameia

  23. I think the final 4 will be Jesse, Austin, Joshua & Audrey. Which, to me, would be the right 4.

  24. Judges should avoid claiming that any performance is unique or that a song has never been done like that before. Because, chances are, the song HAS been done like that before.

    Jesse was good, as always. I like him, he’s got a good voice and a lot of stage presence, but I don’t think he’s particularly original.

  25. She sounds absolutely beautiful, why isn’t this stupid wall rising at the speed of light compared to Maneecrap?
    Sultry and just…
    I haven’t liked a performance this much since Jesse’s audition.

  26. This isn’t bad, Dana, but Audrey Kate slayed a similar style performance just last weak. This isn’t as good as hers.

  27. I actually liked Dana’s performance this week more than Audrey’s last.
    That girl’s vibrato is niiice.

  28. Jesse wrote on FB today or yesterday that he was singing the Chris Cornell version

  29. Dana finished that performance really well. Easily her best performance that I’ve seen.

  30. Even if someone does a cover based on another cover, there could be better performances or not so good performances. To me, that’s what sets another person’s performance apart from someone else doing a similar cover.
    I do agree Jesse isn’t particularly original. I did like his 7 Nation Army, though.

  31. Glad she did really well. I’m curious as to how Audrey’s gonna top that tonight.
    Usually she does so this should be a sight to see.

  32. LOL, I had the app open on the phone and it said Thank You Karen and I wondered how it knew my name :)

  33. I actually like David’s version much better than even Chris Cornells, the vocals are much better to me.

  34. I think Dana just received a well deserved ego boost…
    Even if it might mean Audrey is leaving.
    Let’s hope Josh tanks.

  35. I think the song choice killed Audrey Kate. 40 year old song and she did nothing interesting with it.

  36. I thought Audrey was good. Maybe a bit boring but one of the best of the night.

  37. Audrey just wasn’t feeling her song the same way she did last week

  38. I agree. That song really shows to me how someone could do a cover of something and make it much more interesting, because of what the Fugee’s did with it. I’ve seen that kind of creativity on other shows in the past but I’m not seeing it on this one.

  39. It doesn’t help that chances are no one wants to hear this song if it isn’t sung with the voice and vocal intensity of a distressed black woman.
    Just saying >.>

  40. A few months after David sang Billie Jean on AI Simon chose the same version for one of his contestants on XF UK and he made it sound like he was choosing something so unique for him..after the guy sang it one of the other judges came right and said he watched AI and saw DC sing it and pretty much said there was no comparison. I SO loved that he did that because Simon was an idiot for making it sound like it was never done before. Anyone that followed season 7 knew Simon LOVED that performance.

  41. If Audrey were on S12 of Idol, she would have done well since it felt like that everybody was singing super old songs…

  42. Luda was like “you’ve got me entirely fucked up if you think I’m putting this on my head”

  43. Oh God…he’s gonna beat Dana….
    This song makes country lovers swooon

  44. I’m sure every viewer of this show follows this guy on Facebook! LOL! ;-)

  45. Yup, the show violated my rule #3: “Never claim to be first.”

    Oh Jesse Kinch, poor Jesse Kinch, papa-lion’s gonna issue you a smackdown at his next show.

  46. Yes!
    Buuut this could mean Audrey could get beat out for the West Coast save.
    I’m just glad a girl is guaranteed in the finale tbh.

  47. Don’t think so. David would bow to Cornell who can speak his own piece … as he did during Season 7 when he and his fans thought David & AI hadn’t given them credit … when they did.

  48. Have to admit I’m surprised Joshua didn’t get past Dana. But again, wrong song. Joshua is not a country singer. Why ask him to do a country song? I know non-country singers have performed this song well on reality singing shows before, but still, why force a guy into a lane that isn’t right for him when he’s trying to make the finals?

    Joshua should have gone with his original pick.

  49. For the West Cost save,is it a completely separate vote or do they have to make up the percentage difference?

  50. Hey, I’m very fond of my rule #3 and want to see it enforced! I sleep better at night knowing that if any obscure reality-show winner with limited career prospects claims a “first” that properly belongs to Cook, Cook will be ON IT.

    (Now, if he could be trained to enforce ALL reality-show firsts, that’d make him downright useful. Somebody should suggest this to him.)

  51. Also, it was funny when Austin was like “I got the highest score last week! Look at me!”
    And Jesse was like “Okay, well I’ll be taking my crown back”

  52. Jesse will sing “Billie Jean” because a rocker has never sung it on a competition reality show before. Snerk.

    That’s funny. Yeah, he’s only around the #10 person to do that song on a competition – you think the judges would catch on, eventually? I’m waiting for the video – to hear what this attempt sounded like.

    After DC got the ball rolling, we have 2008’s XFactor UK – Cowell picked the song for Austin Drage – and Pinoy Idol’s Warren Antig did it. In 2009, Teale Jakubenko – Australian Idol – in 2010, Lloyd Cele – South African Idol. In 2011, Cowell picked the song AGAIN – Drew Ryniewicz – XFactor US, in 2012, Rob Fowler – The Voice of Germany. In 2013 there were three different occasions – an unknown singer at Ceremony of the Decade on Israeli TV, Arya – The Voice – Indonesia, and Tufan Cigdem – The Voice – Ukraine.

    Gotta admit It was an amusement watching Cowell trying to create a “Moment” with “Billie Jean” – TWICE – since he didn’t understand it was the singer, not the song. But there are really no stand-outs in the bunch over the last six years, IMO. Still – I think there may be some I’ve missed, but Jesse can be #10. It’s a nice round number. *Snerk*

  53. Yeah, David has done it every time he has performed over these past five to six years over every slight. You are so right, he will be on it as he has been since 2008. Keeping vigil, season after season.

  54. The show actually didn’t credit Cornell? Bad move. It’s as if some producers have to keep re-inventing the wheel – Idol learned it was a good idea to give proper credit by getting burned when they didn’t. – but this show has to start from scratch? Inefficient.

  55. I don’t know when that whole credit issue first reared its “ugly head,” but it happened “famously” during season 5, with Daughtry, I think. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it also happened earlier and Idol spent several seasons learning that lesson.

  56. “Simon was an idiot for making it sound like it was never done before. Anyone that followed season 7 knew Simon LOVED that performance.”

    Yes. THAT amused me, when he got called on it. Then he did it again, on XFUS in 2011. Still didn’t work. Heh.

  57. Naah, Cook’s deep respect for the importance of rule #3 clearly dates from about the point at which I stated it. So I take full credit for the transformation of Cook into The Enforcer. *dah dah dah dum dah*

  58. This strikes me as the perfect reaction to that notion…DC trying to make a mean face on request – and it’s not working out – you may want to rethink this whole Enforcer gig. *Snerk*

  59. Well, I guess it only matters if it’s a successful performance, endangering one of the front runners? See, I have a whole long list of Idol alum with arrangement credits that were never given – as long as the contestant wasn’t threatening a favorite – nobody actually cared. Funny how that works. Heh.

  60. I did not see myself as being the slightest bit mean in pointing out rule #3 (indeed, TPTB on these shows would save themselves a lot of trouble if they FOLLOWED it, idiots), so I doubt that Cook sees himself as mean in enforcing it. He smites for justice!

  61. This is why Cook as had such tough time breaking out of the Idol bubble. No one in the industry cares about these old Idol performances. This was over 6 yrs ago. Living in the past.

  62. I didn’t like that. Awkward phrasing before “on the floor”, both times.Creating those pauses lost the rhythm, and instead of the song building, it actually went nowhere. Even though he jumped from the first verse to the last, I wasn’t getting anything clear from his interpretation – he didn’t create Cornell’s resignation and angst or DC’s anger and confusion, or an emotional connection of his own – It was just ‘there’, without any texture, and the end just lost focus completely.

    Whoever did this arrangement doesn’t fully grasp dynamics and the dramatic arc, they flattened out the intensity that ought to have been there…or this kid is just too young to sing that song.

    Scratch #10. IMO.

  63. Danny’s issues never really had to do with his singing ability. Pretty much everyone agreed Danny had (and has) a really good voice.

  64. I didn’t know Michael Slezak was doing any commentary on this show…I went to see what Twitter thought of yet another “Billie Jean” and found his opinion first thing:

    here’s what Slezak had to say about it – -> @MichaelSlezakTV’s RISING STAR Semifinal Recap: Killing Me Slowly… With Their Songs http://tvline.com/2014/08/17/rising-star-semifinal-recap-dana-williams-jesse-kinch-audrey-kate-geiger/

    The show’s producers should recognize that at least 75 percent of their addled audience has probably slogged through every episode of American Idol, The Voice, The X Factor and even Duets — and therefore, won’t accept a stripped-down, slowed-down cover of “Billie Jean” as something revolutionary. (Yes, David Cook’s Idol version may be six years old, but it remains absolutely unforgettable, mmmkay?)

    Jesse Kinch, “Billie Jean” — Grade: B- (Exposed tonight as a singer who can only nail his notes when he’s full-on wailing; intimate, quiet moments are not his forté)
    83% (including all three judges)

  65. I am pleased that Audrey Kate was saved. I thought Jesse was great with Billie Jean. He, Dana and Audrey Kate have always been my favorites.

  66. “David would bow to Cornell who can speak his own piece…”

    How right you were, Sassycatz – Cornell heard from – addressed to two of the “experts” – ->

    >>Chris Cornell ?@chriscornell 32m

    #RisingStar @BradPaisley @Ludacris here is a link to my 2006 arrangement of Billie Jean http://tinyurl.com/a2lkkw2 I forgive your ignorance.

  67. Yes, clever – and too true. Plus, Chris Cornell has taken exception to the “Experts” on Twitter – it’s edifying. Heh.

    The show ought to have taken a few seconds, and given proper credits.

  68. Heh. Chris is doing his own smiting – and he doesn’t use humor.

  69. I would have given it a D-, I thought he was terrible tonight. His phrasing threw the song off, and it sounded like he was trying to imitate someone else.

  70. Yes. The weird phrasing and odd diction was only half the problem I had with the song – I added more details down the page a bit – but it makes the “Expert’s” gushing over this song even more distasteful. Cornell may not have noticed what they did to his arrangement – but he will.

  71. I agree, especially since Brad now says he has heard Chris Cornell’s arrangement.

  72. I doubt if anyone will remember Jesse’s performance 6 years from now.

  73. Something I just noticed about the shows tonight, that the judges get to vote after hearing the rehearsals. Not sure if that’s fair but I guess it doesn’t matter.

  74. you know what
    she was always requesting for the opera/classical songs but they didn’t pick them for her. that was too bad and they also said that they would pick them when she could make it through to the finals
    it was really unfair that she never got a good choice like the others.

  75. Glad to see Audrey Kate won the West Coast Save. The lone thing that has gone right for the show is that they’ve ended up with a gender balanced finale (2 guys, 2 woman).

    If they stick to the same voting system as they have been doing throughout the show, I expect Jesse will win with Austin coming in 2nd.

  76. I knew it! I just saw that tweet!

    ETA: Just saw that posted Cornell’s response below so I’m deleting a repetition. But, LOL! I knew he’d do that. (He responded in a blog when David did his version.)

  77. Go check out Brad Paisley’s twitter timeline – he has a series of tweets on this subject. Olive branch time, lol.

  78. Yep. You called it. The one ironic thing about this deal, for me – for 6 years Chris Cornell fans have been kvetching that Idol didn’t give him credit – when they actually did! Seacrest did it in the introduction, right before the song…

    Now we have a show that REALLY didn’t give him credit – and the tweets I see are all – ‘Well, at least David Cook gave Chris Cornell credit for the arrangement!’

    That would be a nice change – if anyone thinks there will still be talk about Jesse’s effort six years from now – I really don’t.

  79. What I love about Jesse Kinch, is his powerful, original sounding voice, his expertise with the guitar and expressive performances. Love his cover of ‘Billy Jean’ and would surely buy an album of his covers from Rising Star!

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