I know that in a recent post, I wrote that I can't watch American Idol because of lots of reasons. Well, I had a different view of The Sing-Off when I saw its previews. A cappella competitions? On TV? Oh, yeah, that's my kind of stuff!
Truth be told, it kind of makes me anxious. What if everybody hates it? What if everybody then thinks that a cappella is just stupid, and doesn't love it for the reasons I do? What if it's just a lame show? Eh, whatever. I'm just going to watch it and see how I feel about it, I guess.
So the show starts with host Nick Lachey of boy band N'SYNC. OK, he knows harmony. Judge Ben Folds. Whatever. Judge Nicole Scherzinger. What harmonies does she know? She sings lead all of the time. Apologies to my soprano friends out there, but if you sing lead all of the time, and with instruments, does that really qualify you to understand harmonies? And she's not as pretty as I thought she was. I guess she was always just sexed up with those non-clothes she wears with the Pussycat Dolls. Judge Shawn Stockman of BoyzIIMen. Yes, he knows harmony, and quite well. Heck, I think he knows Rockapella's George. So he should know stuff, right? I've heard him sing some a cappella, so OK.
Then they say that they searched all over the country for these groups. Really? I only saw ads for it on the internet. Did you actually search yourselves, NBC?
So, let's give it a shot.
I liked how they opened up with everyone singing together, kind of like the dance competition shows.
Nota, from Puerto Rico
They sang "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. I honestly don't know what the judges see in these guys. I didn't really like their harmonies. Interesting arrangement with the rhythm, but I heard a lot of dissonance that I didn't like.
...and I've already decided that Nicole is the Paula of this show.
Voices of Lee from Tennessee
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield. I LOVE this song, so you could do a lot of wrong to ruin it for me. I did agree that the lead was overpowered a little bit by the background, so they should work on the balance. But you see, this is the problem with bigger vocal groups. You have a soloist against all of those other people in the background, so they get kind of lost if they're not strong enough.
Face from Colorado
"Livin' On A Prayer" -- Bon Jovi I have heard of this group from a/c competitions, but hadn't actually heard them before. They rocked! I can't believe that Shawn Stockman has never heard an a/c group rock like that before. Good God, the man needs to get out more! So George goes to Rockapella, and you can't give them a damn listen? What?! I was not surprised that the other judges weren't familiar with this a cappella style, but Stockman? Sigh. Anyway, I felt that the judges were too harsh on them. There are only 6 of them, making that sound. The other groups (save Maxx Factor) have more bodies in their groups and can't rock this hard. Of COURSE they didn't have enough support in the top! There are only 6 guys, dude. If the judges could only hear Thacher (not to mention the rest of my boys), they'd keel over. Seriously.
Noteworthy from Utah
"Think" -- Aretha Franklin I've heard of this group, too, but not heard them before. I agree that it was a little bit screechy at the top, which is my usual issue with all-female a cappella groups. Heck, I had the issue when I was part of a women's choir, so it's not a catty thing.
The first group to be eliminated from these 4: Face. I was surprised about that.
Beelzebubs from Massachusetts
"Magical Mystery Tour" -- The Beatles Entertaining. Love how the judges said that they would go out of tune during the funny parts in the choreography, like "Oops. Hey! Look over there!"
Maxx Factor from Maryland
"Dancing Queen" -- ABBA Another group that I had heard of, but not heard. They were awesome! Not screechy, probably helped by the true altos. Nice sound from just 4 women singing barbershop harmonies. I really enjoyed this.
The SoCals from (duh), So Cal (alums from So Cal Vocals of USC)
"Somebody to Love" -- Queen I liked their energy. They did have a couple of intonation problems, but I still liked them. No, they're not the Glee kids, but Glee, as much as I love it, does not do a cappella, is way produced, and gets to do more than one take.
Solo from Nebraska
"Watcha Say" -- Jason Darullo Sorry, I really didn't like this group at all. Good voices, but I didn't really like the blend, such as it was.
Eliminated from this group: Solo.
I'm not really crazy about this show yet, but I'm still giving it a chance. It's only 8 episodes, so I can probably stick with the whole thing.
Here's my frustration so far: Sony is going to give a *recording contract* to one of these groups, but they pass on groups like Rockapella, The House Jacks, Tonic Sol-Fa and the like? AUGH. Of course, this is the same industry that promotes Britney Spears, so I should just shut up about actual talent, right?
Yes, I believe these groups are talented, don't get me wrong. It's just that their level, save maybe Maxx Factor, is not really up to snuff. Maybe they can groom them like Fox did with the AI contestants? Maybe? Please?