'Rising Star': Kesha on Not Swearing on Live TV or 'Shitting on People's Dreams'

Ludacris reveals why rappers have less of a chance of success on the ABC show, and Brad Paisley advises upcoming hopefuls to go with a hot Disney track.
ABC/Bob D'Amico

Of the three Rising Star experts, Kesha seems much more constrained in her commentary in comparison to Ludacris and Brad Paisley. And it's for a good reason.

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"I have a potty mouth — like, I like to say f— a lot," she told The Hollywood Reporter just after wrapping production on Sunday's episode, the second of the season. "On this show, I really can't or I get in big trouble!"

Still, the pop singer is the most optimistic of the trio, doling out the largest number of "yes" votes for contestants to date. "It's difficult for me to say 'no' — as you've probably noticed, I say 'yes' a lot, but it's because I see young people with a dream, the same dream that I had six years ago. I don't want to shit all over their dreams!" she explained. "I really see that people are really nervous. That is an incredibly nerve-racking thing to stand behind a wall with a camera in your face and millions of Americans watching and voting on you — that is a terrifying situation to be in, and it really makes or breaks the performer."

Ludacris, now notorious for voting negatively, said of his strategy, "I just feel like I'm doing people an injustice if I don't give them the right type of criticism, because we can all be better. It would be so much easier if I just voted everybody 'yes.' … I take that in the sense that I'm not perfect either, and the same way that I dish out criticism, I need to take it too."

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While the premiere episode saw the experts standing up and swiping each other's consoles, the most recent broadcast left them seated in their own chairs. "We got yelled at because my ass almost fell out on live TV!" said Kesha.

Ludacris told THR more about why he didn't vote up auditionee Egypt Dixon, who attempted to raise the Wall by covering Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," which features rap verses with a sung chorus.

"I didn't even know we were gonna do rappers on this show," he said. "It's very hard, and I can relate. … When you have to rap someone else's rap, it's even more unfair because the inflections and things when you sing are totally different than when you just mimic someone's rap. I kind of gave her credit for that, and didn't give her credit for that at the same time. What impressed me the most was her singing voice and the potential for that, than her rapping. I still voted 'no' but I really like that girl."

Paisley, who also voted no for Dixon, said he leaned on Ludacris' expertise that time. "I felt like my advice was like, 'What?! What's he talking about?' I could just see the blogs now: 'What? He doesn't know!' Rap, it's a very individual art form — the closest thing we might have in country music is Hank Williams Jr.," he explained, singing a few lines from "My Name Is Bocephus" for THR. "If somebody gets up there and sings, 'My name is Bocephus,' it's like, no, it's not. It doesn't work, and I think rap is very similar."

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So what's considered a smart Rising Star song choice? "You gotta have something that shows you off quick — you've got 30 seconds to get the momentum going for the Wall to go up, or it won't. … You need something with two lines in a first verse and a big fat chorus."

And while Off-Broadway starlet Alice Lee did just that with Lady Gaga's "You and I," for which Paisley didn't vote 'yes,' the country expert has a solid back-up plan for big-voiced contestants like her. "I went up to her afterward and said, 'You want to get my vote? Sing 'Let It Go' [from Frozen]' — that's an ace in the hole if someone sings that. And it's Disney, so you know someone's gonna do it!"

Rising Star continues Sunday on ABC.

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee