Where has the time gone? It's already time to crown the winner of Rising Star
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We start the show right away with a performance by Brad Paisley and the finalists without any sort of introduction at all. This would've been more exciting if they had to raise the wall.
The night begins with a bracket challenge competition -- why wasn't this done from the start? -- where the first contestant sings with the wall up and the second tries to beat the score with the wall down, just like we've seen in the past. Dana Williams is paired with Jesse Kinch, and Austin French will compete against Audrey Kate Geiger. I guess this is the only way to ensure that both Jesse and Austin will be in the finals.
Dana Williams ("At Last") vs. Jesse Kinch ("Fortunate Son")
Dana has some really nice moments, especially in the end, but this song is such a huge task with so many amazing versions and covers. Result: 30%
"Jesse slaughtered my face" is how Kesha comments on this performance, and I'm not sure what else I can say after that. It's the typical performance of his that goes from 0-100 and stays there for the entire duration. Result: 87%
Austin French ("In Love with a Girl") vs. Audrey Kate Geiger ("Love Me Like a Man")
It's nice to see Austin go back to his roots and take on Gavin again. He definitely seems to be the most commercial of the finalists. Result: 70%
I wish Audrey Kate went with a Norah Jones-type song/performance, not a song that seems like it's in response to Austin's. Of the four finalists, her career is the one I would be interested in following up with. We've seen what she can do, and I'm curious what an Audrey Kate album would sound like. Result: 49%
The Final Duel
The game will change, host Josh Groban tells us, and it's a gimmicky way of tossing a coin with their heads to see who performs first. My eyes are rolling so hard. But Austin wins and he decides to go second.
For their final performances, we won't see the live voting, and the results will only be revealed after both Austin and Jesse take the stage.
Jesse Kinch ("Love, Reign O'er Me") vs. Austin French ("Bless the Broken Road")
Jesse could not have picked a better finale song. He's got the orchestra (let's ignore the fire), it's dramatic, there's control and he's not trying to come out of my screen. It's definitely his best performance of season, topping "I Put a Spell on You." This will be difficult to beat.
Austin also picks a very smart finale song, a country ballad to capitalize on both the country audience and girls. Unfortunately, taking on a slower song means your voice gets more exposed and his vocals are not perfect.
And the Winner Is...
Jesse Kinch! He takes it 76% to 61%. I'm only slightly surprised by Jesse's vote count since his earlier performance got 87% and "Love, Reign O'er Me" was so much better.
And that's season 1 of Rising Star. Thanks for following along all season!