Seaford native Jesse Kinch brought the audience to its feet Sunday as he advanced to the second round of ABC’s new singing competition show “Rising Star.”
Kinch, 20, performed “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Not only did he exceed 70 percent of the votes, but he brought all three experts to their feet. The approval rating for his performance was 92 percent, the highest of the show to that point.
“Music has been my absolute number one primary focus in life,” Kinch said. “I know I’m not your typical pop singer. I know that I deviate quite a bit from what’s most popular right now.”
In his pre-performance video package, Kinch said he used to be a loner, but when his father introduced him to the guitar and classic rock, that all began to change. “I really got a taste of what came before me,” he said. “I’m looking for the opportunity to get to the next stage in my career.”
On Kinch’s website, he is described as being part of a new generation of young talent who want to bring rock ’n’ roll back to its glory days. He performed at a rock club at age 7 with an all-adult backup band. At 10, Kinch was invited to the Sam Ash Guitar competition, where he finished third.
His band has been the opening act for Living Colour, Ryan Star and Lukas Rossi. He has also performed in a number of benefit concerts.
The show, which is hosted by singer Josh Groban, features music stars Ludacris, Kesha and Brad Paisley as its experts, but the voting power lies in the audience’s hands. Singers perform behind a wall, where they have a minute and a half to impress the TV audience. Via a mobile app, voters can swipe “yes” or “no.” If the experts are impressed, they can vote “yes” as well. Each of their votes counts an additional 7 percent. A contestant needs a total of 70 percent to advance.
“The beast was unleashed tonight like never before,” he said after his performance.
Kesha said that Kinch’s performance reminded her of old rock ’n’ roll, and she also called him sexy. Ludacris remained standing after Kinch finished his song, and said he was stunned by the difference between Kinch’s soft voice and his powerful singing.
“You came out and exceeded all of my expectations,” Ludacris said. “That’s how you make every second count.”
Paisley said he wouldn’t be surprised if Kinch’s performance gave someone a seizure at home. “Are you a lead guitar player too?” Paisley asked. Kinch nodded. “I definitely want to see that,” Paisley added.
“Rising Star” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on ABC. For more on Kinch, go to www.jessekinch.com.