Monday, November 14, 2011

Guilty pleasure.

In a TV landscape littered with all kinds of music competitions, The Sing-Off is an anomaly. For one, it features groups of singers and no individual musicians. For another, the prize is a paltry $200,000 (plus a recording contract). And unlike most of the Idol/AGT ilk, Sing-Off contestants are eliminated by judges' decisions, not by a phone-in vote.

Most unusual, though, is The Sing-Off's catch: All the music is performed a cappella.

With our Church of Christ background, our family has an appreciation for music sung without instrumental accompaniment. (Not that I in any way think it's wrong to play instruments in worship, but that's a rabbit trail I'm not even going to follow tonight!) Plus, my dad sang barbershop back in the day, so his years in SPEBSQSA exposed me to all kinds of crazy a cappella harmonies.

Still, it's funny that this particular brand of music has its own show on network TV. While some voice-only groups have enjoyed commercial success (Take 6 comes to mind), it's not like you're going to come across some sweet a cappella arrangement on mainstream radio. Because of that, I'm amazed that a show like The Sing-Off is on TV—and is in its third season, no less!

But oh my GOODNESS, am I glad it's on TV! I. Love. This. Show.
  • I appreciate all three judges and the kinds of criticism/praise they offer. (And Sara Bareilles? Love her!)
  • I love that in these pre-finals (and pre-recorded) rounds, there are no phone-in votes. Seeing singers pantomiming phone numbers, begging for votes, gets old.
  • I love the all-group numbers that open each episode. Too much fun.
  • I enjoy seeing the different genres the groups tackle each week. Even styles that I wouldn't typically prefer sound pretty awesome when converted to multi-part harmonies. I'm in awe of the musicians who come up with those arrangements. 
  • As the mother of a beat-boxer, I can't get over these groups' "rhythm sections." I can easily imagine Katie beat-boxing on this show someday!
  • I even like the cheesy week-in-review montages that play up the drama of each group's rehearsals.
  • And speaking of cheesy: How 'bout that choreography? A lot of the groups' moves are over-the-top goofy, but that just makes me love them more.
My favorite group is Pentatonix, and not just because they're from Arlington. Here are a couple of their performances:

You know, I really don't need to spend two hours every Monday night watching another TV competition show (on top of my other addictions, The Amazing Race and Survivor), but I just can't help it.

What can I say? The Sing-Off puts a song in my heart.

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