ABC's 'Rising Star' Premiere Flops In Ratings

The network's latest attempt at a singing competition garnered just 5 million viewers, despite big celebrity names and a lot of promotion.

ABC's 'Rising Star' Premiere Flops In Ratings

ABC might want to wish upon a star if it wants "Rising Star" to succeed. 

The network's latest entry into the overcrowded talent competition genre, featuring Kesha, Brad Paisley and Ludacris as "music experts" and Josh Groban as a mentor/host, was not a hit with viewers when it bowed Sunday night. (Via ABC

Critics didn't hold back — calling the show "lackluster," "not great" and even a "reality trainwreck." (Via The Washington Post, YahooEntertainment Weekly)

On top of that, TVLine reports an anemic 5 million total viewers tuned in for the premiere. 

That's fewer than tuned in for ABC's last attempt at a singing competition, 2012's "Duets," which featured Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Nettles. Its premiere garnered almost 7 million viewers — but the show was canceled after a short, nine-episode run.

A different talent show actually beat "Rising Star" Sunday night.

NBC's "America's Got Talent." "AGT" brought in 8 million viewers in a special Sunday airing, which many saw as a direct hit against the new ABC show. "Talent" usually airs during the week. 

So, what went wrong here? "Rising Star" is based on a ratings record-breaking show in Israel — but it seems like the format got lost in translation. (Via Keshet International

The big pull of "Rising Star" is supposed to be real-time voting. Viewers get to vote live via an app as the show is happening. If a contestant earns 70 percent of the audience vote, he or she moves on to the next round. There's no waiting for a results show. It's immediate gratification. (Via iTunes

The problem is, unlike Israel, the United States has different time zones. The Eastern, Central and Mountain zones all get to vote and watch at the same time. The West Coast watches and votes on a delay, and those votes don't seem to count as much. And Hawaii and Alaska? They don't get to vote at all. 

Another factor of "Rising Star"'s failure might be that we're oversaturated with singing shows. 

"Rising Star" is executive produced by the former EPs of one-time juggernaut "American Idol," which saw audiences as big as 16 million and as small as 6 million over the course of its latest season, and NBC's "The Voice," the current No. 1 singing competition. Its latest season averaged about 12 million viewers a week. 

There's also the failure of the recently axed "The X Factor," which premiered to more than 12 million viewers back in 2011 but was down to just 6 million by the end of its final season last year.

The Oregonian says "Rising Star" isn't different or exciting enough to lure "Idol" and "Voice" viewers. And those shows are waning in popularity anyway. 

Billboard says another big problem with the singing show's first broadcast was its lack of, well, singing. More time was spent explaining how the show worked — and listening to the experts banter about nothing — than on the contestants. 

Deadline reports ABC was waiting on "adjusted" ratings from Nielsen and asked news outlets not to publish that 5 million number, saying it would be "inaccurate." But those initial numbers are the ones reporters use to judge all other TV shows. 

And waiting for adjusted ratings didn't really pay off — the number went from 5 million to 5.1 million.

Still, Variety says "Rising Star" can count one win from Sunday — it was the most social show of the night. The app was downloaded more than 1 million times, and the show attracted nearly 130,000 tweets.  

Although a lot of those tweets were about how bad viewers thought the show was. 

Unlike its singing-competition competitors, "Rising Star" airs just once a week — so we'll have to wait until next Sunday to see if the show can live up to its name or if it should be retitled "Falling Star."