Josh Groban, Ludacris, Kesha And More On Board For ABC's Rising Star Singing Competition

Reality competition shows are no longer a dime a dozen on network TV, but that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared entirely. A few months ago, ABC announced the network would be bringing popular Israeli singing competition series Rising Star to the U.S. On Friday, the judges and host for the upcoming live competition series were announced. Hosting the series will be affable singer Josh Groban and serving as judges are Ludacris, Brad Paisley and Kesha, who recently grew up a little and removed the $ from her name.

While that judging panel should make for some interesting critiques, I’m honestly a little more interested in how ABC determined Josh Groban would be a good fit to host a singing competition series. He’s a singer with some acting experience, having appeared in Crazy, Stupid, Love and CBS’ The Crazy Ones, but he doesn’t really have a background in cutting people off to get the network to commercial breaks. If The X Factor’s Steve Jones and Khloe Kardashian taught us anything, it’s that hosting any competition series is a tough gig—especially if that series is shot on a live stage. Clearly, we have no idea whether Groban will sink or swim in the Rising Star environment, but a little bit of experience would certainly give me less pause.

On the judging end, the panel is comprised of a country musician, a prominent rapper and a vibrant pop singer. Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris all have plenty of hits to back up their pedigrees in the music biz, and several of them have spent time in front of cameras in the past. Ludacris, of course, has the most serious pedigree, having appeared in a slew of movies, including Fast Five (and other Fast movies), No Strings Attached and New Year’s Eve. However, Kesha had her own MTV series and has dealt with cameras in her face before and Paisley has a won a bunch of Grammy’s. So, I guess we’ll count that as live on-camera experience. Since the judging panel seems to be comprised like a lot of others for competition shows, the format for the reality series will have to be what makes Rising Star stand out.

The format is quite a bit like American Idol, but there is a twist. From the very beginning, competitors in Rising Star will be asked to sing live as the broadcast airs on ABC. Competitors will sing with an LED screen that will display votes as they are occurring in live time during the performances. This nerve-wracking addition to the regular competition format should allow viewers to see some performers rise admirably and some fall prey to their own nerves.

It also means ABC is making a bid for live viewers with Rising Star. Part of the fun with the series should be voting for fan favorites and watching the villains of the season choke in live time. Those who watch Rising Star on DVR will likely have less fun with the show than those who actually dig in for the long haul. Now, we just have to wait and see whether or not Josh Groban can live up to ABC’s expectations. Can’t be worse than some of the hosts reality TV has seen.

Rising Star is set to hit ABC’s schedule on June 22 at 9 p.m. ET. In the meantime, you can check out more over at the network’s site or tune into the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday at 8 p.m. During the ABC special event, the newly hired cast members will appear for the first time.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.