Over the past several weeks, ABC’s interactive competition series “Rising Star” has consistently figured out ways to incorporate west coast viewers, who only have access to a tape-delayed feed, into the voting mix.
Without an obvious means of doing so for the live finale, “Rising Star” conceded that all the power rested with those viewing the initial, live broadcast. Whomever they declared the winner would walk away with the “Rising Star” trophy and a Capitol Records recording contract.
Those viewers threw their support behind Jesse Kinch, who exits “Rising Star” as its inaugural (and perhaps only) winner.
Seeded into a playoff bracket, the four finalists first took the stage for “duels” with another contestant. Kinch was paired with Dana Williams, while Austin French was summoned for battle against Audrey Kate Geiger.
With support from 87% of viewers, Jesse Kinch’s take on “Fortunate Son” obliterated Dana Williams’ rendition of “At Last.” With only 30% of the vote, Williams was the first finalist eliminated from the competition.
Austin French then defeated Audrey Kate Geiger with a convincing victory of his own. His “In Love with a Girl” bested Geiger’s “Love Me Like a Man” by a score of 70%-49%.
The two male finalists then competed. Kinch’s “Love, Reign O’er Me” received support from 76% of viewers. Since French’s “Bless the Broken Road” resonated with only 61%, Kinch was crowned the first “Rising Star” victor.