ABC's new singing competition show "Rising Star" gives the audience the final say in who goes home in real time. Hosted by accomplished singer Josh Groban, with music sensations Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley as the special panel of experts, the show will follow a group of aspiring singers as they audition in live performances. As the night goes on, viewers can vote via the "Rising Star" App in real time. They end up becoming the judge who determines who goes home and who moves on the next round.
Classic TV Examiner along with two other reporters, met up with Groban on the set to get the singer/songwriter's thoughts on the show and to describe what hosting a unique show like this will entail.
Check out the interview with Groban below:
Phyllis: How did you get involved with "Rising Star?"
Josh Groban: It was a huge old fashioned Hollywood story of “they called me.” (Laughs) I got a really nice history with ABC from hosting with Kelly Ripa and they’ve always been really good to me and “Kimmel” as well. For [ABC] it was a little out of the box decision. I was actually excited they wanted a music expert to host because they could have gotten a hundred and one other broadcasting experts to go and just read the prompter and host it. I think it’s that new thing for me and hopefully I’ll be able to add something a little different to it.
Phyllis: Are you really nervous to be hosting a live television show every week?
Josh Groban: I’m I really nervous? No. Excited and a little bit nervous - absolutely. I think I wouldn’t be human if I wasn’t. I think that the things that I would get really, really nervous about are partly what made me excited to do it in the first place. The new technology, maybe working, maybe not working – the liveness of it – how are the singers going to perform. Those are the kind of things that I like. I like hosting. Some people haven’t seen me hosting stuff and some people might be WTFing “What is he doing hosting the show?” But I thought that it was a really fun experience for me to not only because of the music and singing experience that I have, but it’s the hitches that I think make it fun. And I think you have to go into it with a little improvisational mentality – you know, “can we do that?” Things may go wrong. I think that’s when you learn to cut to commercial really really well.
Phyllis: How will social media, the App and live voting play a part in the show?
Josh Groban: “It’s an immediate online audience anyway. So we have these kind of shows out there, and then we also having people Tweeting, Facebooking constantly about these shows as they’re happening. But there has never been a combination of the two things so the immediacy that people are craving has not been happening. People are texting, they’re calling in. “Rates apply,” “let’s wait until next week,” it all seems archaic considering the fact that the technology we have has been so instant for so long. So hopefully, what I’m looking forward to, is as a singer, is that person with that is unique, that thinking maybe after listening to the people with all the vocal theatrics listen for days and think “God, I’m not that,” but they’ve got that special thing. I was lucky enough that America when I was eighteen years old said, “I think he’s got that special thing” when nobody else in the industry thought that I was marketable. This is a chance for America to have that say and I think that will be a lot of fun.
How involved is your role with the contestants? Are you mentoring at all as the show is going on?
Josh Groban: Days before the actual show on Sunday, probably Friday or Saturday - it will be shot as well - to really sit with them. That was one of the selling points for me too. I didn’t just want to host. It was important for me to get to know these singers. Obviously the vote is going to be up to America, it’s going to be up to the panel. There’s going to be that criticism and I might argue with them. That has always been something that I always believed in. I got that shot and I think there are a hundred and one ways you can break in this industry and this is one of them. I could be a really exciting moment but before I send them out to the terrifying giant wall, I want to make sure they’re bringing out the specialness that they have.
Phyllis: There are a lot of singing competition shows out there, how will this one be different from those in your opinion?
Josh Groban: I’ve seen the show work in different places like in Israel where it’s a phenomenon. All those other shows were there already when this show came. And what made it special there, we’re hoping to make special over here and the game changing element of it is that there is that immediate intimacy of the connection between the singer and the audience before anybody else gets saved. There is almost a kind of old school feeling of the family sitting around their radio, listening to the radio show. There’s this feeling of togetherness and of having a say. People can a fascinating history promoting a tour, promoting an album and I can put as much marketing dollars as a can, but I tell them, this is the must-see TV event of the year. They get to be promoted, and experts will give them their opinion...it’s the immediacy of it. It may seem simplistic but what I’ve seen when I watched it, is that people get really, really involved. It becomes very emotional, not only for the people at home wanting that wall to rise or really not wanting it to rise. It’s going to be the emotion of it, the unexpectedness, the liveness of it that I think is different.
"Rising Star" premieres live Sunday, June 22, 9:00 p.m, Eastern/Pacific; 8:00 p.m., Central and 7:00 p.m., Mountain (Check local listings for the show in your time zone.)