'Rising Star' Recap: The First 3 Duels Square Off
'Rising Star' Recap: The First 3 Duels Square Off
Esther Gim
Esther Gim
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Rising Star moves to the next round of the singing competition -- the duels. For the next three weeks, the 20 singers who advanced from the live auditions will sing head to head, with the show's wall twist, of course.

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Here's how it will work: the singers will be paired up, and the first one will perform to the audience, and, like always, America and the judges will swipe their votes yes or no. The second singer will be singing behind the wall, which will only raise when the first score is beat. 

This doesn't seem fair at all because the second singer will be more restricted and they'll be the one facing all the pressure to beat the first score. What about the West Coast voting, you ask? Of the singers who don't advance, the highest one at the end of West Coast will be moving on as well. With three duels in each episode, four will see another day.

Oh, and every singer will perform the song of their choice. And it's just an hour long now.

Whew. Did you get all that? On to the show!

Alice Lee ("Wings") vs. Lisa Punch ("Perfect")

During rehearsals, the experts can see just how much Alice listened to and implemented their advice, which is a good sign. It is definitely better than her theatrical audition, and she's going with an upbeat, fairly new song. There is a lot of energy, but for some reason, I'm expecting her to run out of breath. She just seems like someone who's had a lot of practice -- possibly too polished -- without a memorable voice. All three experts vote her in and she gains 69%.

For Lisa, going from the upbeat, energetic song to this kind of saps the energy more than it would've had she gone first. She impressed me by tackling Whitney, and I'm not sure where that has gone this time around. I think she would've fared better with a stronger song. Kesha is the only one to vote her in (duh), and the wall stays down with 66%, which means Alice Lee has won this duel.

Megan Tibbits ("Summertime") vs. Sarah Darling ("I Hope You Dance")

I thought the decision was right that the wall stayed down for Megan in the audition, but the West Coast slid her through. Here, she trades in her harp for the guitar. This performance is definitely a lot better than her interpretation of John Legend. Her voice is definitely unique, and I can very well see her creating a nice career for herself. However, I'm just not a fan of her voice. All three experts give her the green light, though and she gets 71%

I may not have thought Megan should've made it through the first time, but I'm betting she'll make it through over Sarah because Megan's uniqueness is also her strength, despite my personal opinion. Again, I'm not feeling Sarah's performance. Her problem the last time was staying in the same range, and this one is just putting me to sleep, but I can't sleep because it's all over the place. Brad is the only one to vote yes, and she gets 69%, losing to Megan. This is really close, especially since in the first duel, 69% was good enough.

Will Roth ("Wrecking Ball") vs. Jesse Kinch ("Whipping Post")

I feel like it's just a foregone conclusion that both these guys will make it through. One will win the duel, but the other will still advance with the West Coast votes. I'm feeling a little uneasy with Will's song choice, though. The first verse is really interesting with his voice. I thought he was going to change it up, but he sings it to the point. Luda is the only one to say no and he gets 57% (which means that his percentage would've been a lot lower if the other experts said no). All around, it's a disappointment.

I mean, it's just not fair, is it? It doesn't take that long for Jesse to be the first singer to raise the wall. He's just in another world, and I'll watch 100 average performances just so I can wait for Jesse's one. He's through with 90%.


WEST COAST UPDATE

The new twist for the Duels is that which East Coast loser gets the highest percentage from West Coast viewers will advance to the next round. Here are their West Coast percentages:

Lisa Punch: 67.43%
Sarah Darling: 67.34%
Will Roth: 56%

Lisa Punch will advance to the next round. The show revealed the exact percentages, so it's literally less than one-tenth of one percent that made the difference..

All Duel results were the same for the West Coast audience, though Alice, with 68%, only beat Lisa by 1%, as opposed to winning by 3% on the East Coast. The other two Duel winners won by the exact same margin on both coasts.

It's a bit complicated because, if the Duels were decided by West Coast voters and the tiebreaker to pick which loser moved on came from the East Coast, then it would've been Sarah who got saved instead of Lisa. Or if it was decided by combining the percentages of East and West Coast voters for the losers, Sarah would've won as well.


Rising Star airs Sundays at 9pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)



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