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ABC’s ‘Rising Star’ Live Tests Go Off With Just One Snag — a Late Ludacris (Video)

The singing competition passed its first big technological hurdle this week

With all that could go wrong with an ambitious undertaking like ABC’s “Rising Star,” who would have thought to prepare for a late judge?

ABC’s “Rising Star” executive producers Ken Warwick and Nicolle Yaron were beside themselves after their East Coast test of the show’s app and voting seemed to pass with flying colors.

“We just went to the digital trailer and everything worked really beautifully, perfect, and we’re so happy,” a giddy Yaron told TheWrap and other reporters at CBS TV Studios on Monday afternoon after the East Coast test.

See video: ABC’s ‘Rising Star’ Judges Explain Why This Singing Competition Will Be Different

Viewers who participated in the test, which occurred during the airing of “The Bachelorette,” were able to take part in a live experience identical to what will go down during voting on “Rising Star.”

In the test, A two-ton wall came down, separating the performer (host Josh Groban stood in for the contender during the tests) and the audience. When voting opened, viewers who had downloaded the app were able to vote “yes” or “no” on it and watch as the percentage of votes increased and the faces of voters appeared on the wall surrounding the performer.

The experts (Ludacris, Kesha and Brad Paisley) also made their votes, which are worth 7 percentage points. When votes reached 70 percent in a region, the wall between the performer and the audience would raise, signifying that the contender would move on in the competition.

Also read: ABC Orders Singing Competition ‘Rising Star’ for Summer

The same test would occur later for the West Coast.

The only snag of the evening was the result of human error. Expert (what this show calls its judges) Ludacris was late to the East Coast test, but in the spirit of the show’s realtime results he charted his effort to get to the studio via Instagram.


He later took a helicopter to the studio — all captured on Instagram. See the videos below.

Still, the rapper was unable to make it on time for the East Coast test (but was there in time for the West Coast one).

Also read: Tyra Banks Partnering With Disney-ABC for New Syndicated Talk Show

Monday’s tests were just the first hurdles before “Rising Star” premieres on Sunday. All the affiliate stations have agreed to air the show at certain times according to their time zone: 9-11 p.m. ET/PT, 8-10 p.m. CT and 7-9 p.m. MT.

While the producers would rather not have anything go wrong, their experience has taught them better.

“Something will go wrong somewhere along the line. It’s live,” Warwick, who was fired from “American Idol” last year, said. “I mean, we hope to be covered, but who knows? We’ll see. We’ll find out.”

“We can guarantee you that something will go wrong at some point,” Yaron, who previously worked at “The Voice,” laughed. “But, it’s live television, so we’ll talk about it and we’ll move on… The big hurdle today was asking America to help us test this.”

Plus, if something does go wrong during the live premiere on Sunday, that could make for entertaining TV, too.

“If it does all go wrong, then you see it, actually second by second, as it happens, so it’s got this kind of train wreck aspect to it as well,” Warwick joked. “If it all goes wrong, then you’ll all be there, witnessing it.”

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