Does Rising Star Equate to Rising Ratings?

It was just a matter of time before advertisers tossed in their way of offsetting the modern marvels of fast forwarding through commercials in our favorite TV shows. There has been no better invention than DVRs. It’s better than peanut butter on pancakes. Unless you’re in the advertising industry.

Now, though, we’ve begun to see a number of shows with live voting opportunities for viewers. Here’s the deal they offered: watch our shows live and you can log in and vote on matters such as, “Is she cray-cray for taking him back?” Your options being “yep” or “nope”. Nothing like a bit of modern slang, right? On the other hand, if you could care less who she chooses to break up with or if it matters little whether he admits to cheating, those polls that gobble up about one-third of your TV screen are nothing more than annoyances.

capture-20140623-055252As of tonight, ABC has upped the ante. Sort of. Because there simply aren’t enough singing contests on TV, the network caved in to advertisers whose hard work was being zoomed past, courtesy of the fast forward option on our DVRs, and introduced the next wave of modern viewing. We now have “The Wall”. And it’s live, apparently.

Rising Star is similar to The Voice in that we have the obligatory rapper, hysterical country swooner and “girl who plays by her own rules”. Oh, and we also have Josh Groban. Josh Groban! Using that formula, Blake Shelton’s role is filled by Brad Paisley, CeeLo and Usher are now Ludacris and the Christine Aguilera/Shakira combo has now morphed into Kesha. Admittedly, I know nothing about Kesha, but I have to say, Paisley, Ludacris and Groban? Doesn’t get much better than that.

In order to prove that it’s live TV, Groban was told right before going live to toss in a current event that was unfolding. That current event was, of course, the men’s national soccer game between the U.S. and Portugal that had just ended in a tie. OK. We’re convinced it’s a live TV show.

The fact that the advertisers are Nintendo, pushing its latest attraction for elementary age kids; Kraft Mac & Cheese (again, with an elementary age kid touting the message) and the new Fall lineup for ABC, you have an idea of who the show is targeting for those ever-important votes.

ABC was pushing for a fresh approach, but how fresh can it be when it’s been done to death? We have the tearjerker stories, the 15 year old kids whose lives are over if they don’t win and the awkward comments made by the hosts/judges/experts/whoever they are (I’m really not sure what role Ludacris, Paisley and Kesha play except to vote for those they really like). My favorite awkward comment so far: Paisley retells a conversation he had recently with President Obama. He explains the 70% mark each contestant must hit, only to have the prez say, “I’d be happy with 45% approvals.” But it didn’t stop there – Groban then turns to Kesha and says, “Have you ever hung out with a president?” She gets out, “Not yet,” before Paisley says, “I think Bill Clinton’s her type.” Did I mention how much I adore Brad Paisley?

I’m not sure how ABC or any network handles bummer live shows. Do they have to continue the season if it’s a fail? After all, they’ve brought all of these singers with big dreams into the mix. What happens if ABC cuts off life support? I say put them out of their misery sooner rather than later. You can be sure it’s the Paisley/Groban/Ludacris combo that pulls this through past, let’s see, the 4th of July. Anyone care to put money to it?

Besides, what network would actually cut a series that has powerful story lines and opt to run with another show that doesn’t hold a candle?  Betrayal was a far better choice for the network – and I’d even be willing to forgo the DVR and actually watch the commercials if they’d bring it back.

Oh and if you’re wondering what the best Josh Groban song might be – check out the video. This is right up there with Julian Lennon’s Valotte and Ty Herndon’s Hide. Nothing better than a man who plays piano.

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