'Rising Star' crowns Jesse Kinch its first winner over runner-up Austin French
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/24/2014
Rising Star crowned Jesse Kinch its first champion during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the new ABC reality singing competition.
"I want to thank my family especially. They are the ones that gave me music, introduced me to the best music and gave me the opportunities to first start performing. I want to thank the judges and I want to thank anybody -- anybody who has ever had faith in me -- and of course, the fans, who have voted," Jesse said following the night's last round of results.
Rising Star's final episode featured four artists performing live in the hopes of becoming the first-ever "Rising Star" and landing a record deal with Capitol Records: Jesse, a 20-year-old from Seaford, NY; Austin French, a 20-year-old from Tifton, GA; Dana Williams, a 25-year-old from Los Angeles, CA; and Audrey Kate Geiger, a 24-year-old from New York, NY.
The West Coast's voting totals had previously saved both Dana and Audrey Kate from elimination.
Rising Star "seeded" each of the remaining four artists based on their combined East and West Coast scores throughout the season. There were two separate duels as a result in which Dana performed for America's vote against Jesse and then Austin sang against Audrey Kate. The winner of each duel advanced to the final head-to-head performance in which only one person could win and the other loses.
America had to vote "yes" or "no" via the Rising Star phone application for whether they'd like to see a singer advance in the competition. Judges Kesha, Ludacris and Brad Paisley voted over the phone just like the fans, so their votes weren't more valuable than those of home viewers.
After the final head-to-head performance, host Josh Groban would reveal the results and the person with the higher score -- the higher percentage of "yes" votes -- would be named the winner of Rising Star.
In the Dana vs. Jesse showdown, Dana took the stage first with a performance of "At Last." Her score to beat was 30%. Jesse then sang "Fortunate Son" and earned a whopping 87% score. Jesse therefore won the duel and eliminated Dana from the running.
In the Austin vs. Audrey Kate face-off, Austin sang a rendition of "In Love with a Girl," which received a score of 70%. Austin defeated Audrey Kate, who only received a score of 49% after singing "Love Me like a Man."
Austin then won a coin-toss to determine whether he or Jesse would sing first or second in the final head-to-head performance. Austin won the coin toss and chose to sing second.
Jesse rocked the house with his version of "Love, Reign O'er Me." Austin then serenaded the audience with his stripped-down rendition of "Bless the Broken Road."
After each singer gave it his all, Josh announced Jesse had won Rising Star. America scored Jesse 71% to Austin's 61%.
"First and foremost, glory to God for just being here. And my family and my church, I love you guys and I couldn't have done this without you," Austin said before Jesse' victory was declared.
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Jesse concluded the show with an encore performance of his favorite moment of the season -- when he sang "I Put a Spell on You."