When ABC hired Josh Groban to host the network’s new singing competition, “Rising Star,” it knew the world-famous singer wouldn’t allow himself to be relegated to the handsome talking-head role.
“We wanted a host who was really, really involved and who was going to be an advocate and a mentor,” executive producer Nicolle Yaron tells Zap2it. “Not only is he the funniest, nicest, most charming host out there, but he’s also one of the best singers in the world.”
Groban’s role will encompass many things — not just host. “He’s basically [the singers’] vocal coach, their mentor, their advocate,” Yaron says. “He’ll stand up for them when America or the experts might not necessarily agree — he’s there to help them all along the way.”
Says Groban, “I’m gonna have a chance to really sit with them, to go through what their songs are. That was one of the selling points for me, too. I didn’t want to just be a talking head. Before I send them out to their terrifying, giant wall of doom, I want to make sure that they’re bringing out the specialness that they have.”
Groban knows he might not be the most experienced host, but he’s excited (and a little nervous) for the challenge. “The things I would get really, really nervous about are partly what made me excited to do it in the first place — the new technology maybe working, maybe not working, the liveness of it — how are the singers going to perform? Those are the kinds of things that I really thrive on.
“It’s the hitches that I think make it fun,” Groban adds. “I think you have to go into it with a little bit of an improvisational ‘yes’ mentality. There’s no ‘Can we do that over?’ Things may go wrong, but I think that that’s when you learn how to cut to commercial really well.”
“Rising Star” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT/7 MT beginning June 22 on ABC.