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The Sing-Off


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#31

LakeGal

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:38 AM

I really thought Nota was the best. They were first and really set the bar high for me. So I was a bit disappointed with the rest. I was hoping FACE would stick around and we could have lost the yellow sweaters or the pink sweaters instead. The yellow sweaters actually hurt my ears with their high screeching.

The 'Bubs were entertaining. But I had to watch them to like them. If I turned my back to the TV they didn't sound that good.
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#32

sparrowfletch

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:52 AM

The Tufts guys make me think of Andy Bernard from The Office.


Fun fact - remember when Andy kept telling Dwight that every song is better a cappella, and Dwight suggests "Rebel Yell", and Andy insists it's better a cappella? Well, guess who's done "Rebel Yell" a cappella - the 'Bubs!

But ITA, especially when they were shown shopping for ties and stuff...that wasn't really representative, but the silliness in the performance was pretty typical 'Bubs.

Overall, each group got stereotyped in its own way. From the "singing soccer moms!" to the "sassy Mormon girls!" to the "rockin' mountain men!" everyone got pigeonholed to a degree by the wardrobe people. Especially poor Voices of Lee, who looked like an Old Navy ad.
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#33

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:54 AM

Yeah, I'm completely biased as I know some of the people who founded the SoCal Vocals but I really loved them. Dan was great on the solo. For me, for you, they and the awesome Beelzebubs were the best.
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#34

Nena

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:04 AM

Fun fact - remember when Andy kept telling Dwight that every song is better a cappella, and Dwight suggests "Rebel Yell", and Andy insists it's better a cappella? Well, guess who's done "Rebel Yell" a cappella - the 'Bubs!


Had to see that, and of course, everything ever done is on YT

If they bring that in before the end of the show that could be an interesting show crossover for NBC, in a scary sort of way.
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#35

noandthen

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:25 AM

I think the 'Bubs missed a golden opportunity of performing this for Nicole. ;) Go 1:40 in.
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#36

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:35 AM

Nick was surprisingly not a great host. He didn't have any charisma or fire, and just kinda stood there.


I agree. I wanted him to depart from the script for a second every now and then to register what was happening on the show. If someone has just said something funny or outrageous, or if a group really pulled off a killer move or used an unusual song, acknowledge it, riff on it, and then get back to the script. Maybe these are the kinds of skills that come with practice and ease in front of the camera.

I agree with whoever said the first group is so clearly head and shoulders above the rest that it was a letdown. Some are going to compete with superior charisma and creativity (the bubs) but from purely musical skills and song interpretation standpoint I thought they (Nota?)were peerless tonight.

Voices of Lee just has an Up with People vibe that I'm afraid I can't get past. Especially if they're going to always choose inspirational songs like "Unwritten." Meanwhile the suburban housewives are singing "Rehab". My world is all atilt.

The Mormon girls can get off my screen right now. The lead singer is one of those types who doesn't really have a good singing voice so she compensates by belting out as many notes as possible. It was surprising actually to see how many lead singers tonight did not have the vocal strength to rise above their background singers. The judges were bang on about so many intros being lost because the background singers were drowning out the lead. How is that not obvious in practice? I thought maybe some groups had chosen the wrong person to be the lead.
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#37

Nikki125

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:37 AM

I liked it. Not as much as I thought I would, but still really entertaining. I thought the Bubs were the standout group by far. Although Solo was pretty dreadful, Maxx Factor wasn’t much better. They sounded off-key throughout their performance. I would have liked Solo to stick around another week to see if they could pull the vocals together on a less ambitious song.

And speaking of which, Cringeworthy would have done themselves a favor by not doing an Aretha Franklin song. If you want to pull off a song by one of the biggest power voices of all time, you better have some big vocal talent to back it up! Stick to Wilson Phillips and the like, ladies.

Also, the five minute pauses before announcing who will advance to the next round has got to go. I know these dramatic pauses are the norm on competition shows, but this was a bit excessive.

Edited by Nikki125, Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:45 AM.

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#38

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:52 AM

The Mormon girls can get off my screen right now. The lead singer is one of those types who doesn't really have a good singing voice so she compensates by belting out as many notes as possible. It was surprising actually to see how many lead singers tonight did not have the vocal strength to rise above their background singers. The judges were bang on about so many intros being lost because the background singers were drowning out the lead. How is that not obvious in practice? I thought maybe some groups had chosen the wrong person to be the lead.

There are also technical issues to consider (from Deke Sharon via rarb.org):

[where are the stage monitors?]

4 wedges under the grilled first three feet of the stage, tipping up at an angle, plus a few wedges hanging down from above, and 4 side fills tucked away where you can't see them. I've soundchecked every group repeatedly and made sure every singer's level is where they like it for every song in every round.

We learned after the first show that the overwhelming rush of sound from the crowd (these audiences have been amazingly supportive but loud!) can overwhelm the monitors mid-song so we increased levels and # of monitors carefully without risking feedback (absolutely can't have feedback on national TV).

And add to the confusion the fact that the majority of singers have never really used monitors (or mics, for that matter!). Too little time to get them up to speed on in-ears, so wedges it is. Gotta get them used to balancing and tuning through the system, not just standing in a circle. And using proper mic technique (one of 'em moves off their mic and there are huge problems - they're essentially no longer exist. Goodbye third of the chord!)

Plus they're all moving around. Some with more choreo than others, but for all more than they're used to (but less than will create significant problems in their tuning). As much as they can handle (this is TV) but no more.

And they have to be emotionally compelling. It's not good enough to just sing in tune, blend, have a great lead vocal and dance well... you also have to connect with the audience and judges.

All while they're nervous.

I think this is the most challenging reality competition there is. Eat a bug, sleep under a tree, braise a lamb shank, make a dress out of plastic bags... just not as difficult.


Edited by cutecouple, Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:53 AM.

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#39

mosestoes

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 3:47 AM

I liked the show; will tune in for the rest. As of now, I'm rooting for Nota, SoCal, and Voices of Lee, in that order. Glad to see Shawn on here; he's an awesome talent and gave good critique. Didn't know Ben Folds had such musical chops (all I know is 'Brick' and I hated that song because of the 5.2 million times I heard it); he was an excellent judge as well. They both pointed out some interesting things that a non-musician like me doesn't know about a capella and singing in general. I gave PCD Nicole a chance, but I quickly learned to FF her Lil Mama-like nonsense.

Really enjoyed Nota. Wasn't sure how well the salsa would tie in and I was initially reminded of ABDC's Afroborike (not a positive) because of said tie-in, but ultimately they won me over.

I already don't like that 'Bubs group. The singing was pretty good; not great, but good. Their performance was just okay for me - a little too busy and a bit cocky. Also, that opening bit did them no favors in my eyes because they just reminded me of the emo, aren't-I-cool-in-my-overplayed-dorkiness type of guy that is often shown in TV dramas, and I usually hate that character. (Plus, can they say "'Bubs" one thousand more times please? Oy.) Folks say their talented, though, so I'm going to be open-minded and hope to be as impressed as others seem to be.

I loved Ben Folds' "you needed more cussing" reply to Noteworthy, and I'm glad the group was able to laugh and take it in the spirit in which it was intended. That lead singer's hair definitely draws the eye, but she was not great. Overall, I liked some of the ladies' voices and want to root for them, but they are in dire need of some better bass/baritone action, nevermind that that's my favorite part of any music anyway.

I'm glad Voices of Lee stayed over FACE. FACE sounded sloppy to me. Very cool story, though, with the whole carrying your friend's baby - I don't think too many people could've done that. VoL sounded lovely on most of their harmonies, and some individual voices were excellent. VoL's director seemed a little... controlling. I feel like they're going to be whipped or forced to sing scales while running suicides or something if they don't win this show or if they have any off notes.

I liked Maxx Factor, but I'm worried about how they'll do with certain types of songs. I wasn't loving their preview song.

I do, however, like the concept of Sing Off giving us a sneak peak at tomorrow's performances. Kudos to Nota for getting me to like that dreadfully whiny effing song more in 10 seconds than I have in months of hearing it played all around me.

Edited by mosestoes, Dec 15, 2009 @ 3:51 AM.

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#40

Cherry Wire

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 4:39 AM

Did this show kind of remind anyone of America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC)? It's ABSC!

I thought it was fun - the groups were entertaining and Ben Folds being generally awesome as a judge was a bonus. Some thoughts on the groups:

Nota: Very mature, very suave, I like them.
Face: surprised me. I was hoping they'd have a really rock-heavy, meaty sound, like they claimed. Instead, it came off as wimpy and boy-bandish.
Voices of Lee: I thought the soloist was weak. Pretty girls, but near the bottom.
BYU: I liked them, even if they weren't quite in sync.
Beelzebubs: They seem like the traditional geeky white-boy a capella groups I can't stand, but I was surprised how much they won me over. Most fun group.
Mom Factor: Seems like their style is pretty challenging, isn't it? Unglamorous though they may be, I'm glad they survived.
SoCals: My pick to win. They've got it all, the sound, the look, etc. UCLA grad here, it pains me to praise anything USC.
Solo: Also surprised me. As soon as they said "We have nothing to go home to and we're gonna win" I thought they would kick ass. Instead, they did....the opposite.
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#41

Rickster

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 9:32 AM

Interesting to read about the technical problems. I tuned into the Tufts and Socal groups and thought they were terrible, but then I thought, they really couldn't be that bad if they were organized college groups on network TV, so maybe something else was going on, like problems with the miking or balance.

Coincidentally, this was on against the Straight No Chaser Christmas Special on PBS (a capella group from Indiana U) in my town. Now those guys can sing.
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#42

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 10:26 AM

Didn't know Ben Folds had such musical chops (all I know is 'Brick' and I hated that song because of the 5.2 million times I heard it)

He's a very good rock pianist, and most of his songs are more up-tempo and less serious than Brick. Try to find "Song for the Dumped" on youtube or something. And yes, there's cussing.
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#43

FunnyHat

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 10:27 AM

I love a good barbershop quartet and Maxx Factor is all I have to latch onto with this show. If this is what they do with "Something Stupid," I can't wait for their guilty pleasure song and "Rehab" tonight. Hillarious. I'd like the SoCals if they weren't forced to pull out the Glee connection in their intro package. It really turned me off.

Nick Lachey is almost as bad a host as Nicole Scherzinger is a judge. Woof. That was the real competition on stage: who could do worst at talking with any sign of interest.

Edited by FunnyHat, Dec 15, 2009 @ 10:43 AM.

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#44

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 10:55 AM

The audience seemed less than enthusiastic imo. Singing without instruments? That's unpossible. Maxx Factor ftw!
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#45

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:03 AM

And that chick from the Pussycat Dolls is just completely unnecessary - but according to the summary above she'll be replaced with someone new tomorrow so, yay!


Promise? Thank god - she was useless. Ben Folds: Funny AND smart. Shawn was also a pretty good judge. Nick Lachey: bleh. Who knew he was so boring?

Sorry, FunnyHat and chesslover - I can't wait for Maxx Factor to go. They're good, but I loathe barbershop. Overexposure as a child, due to my dad's heavy involvement, has scarred me for life. The approximately 700,000 hours I spent at barbershop competitions still haunts me.

Wanted to like Face better, because they're my home team, and really really wanted them to rock "Livin' on a Prayer" - but they were strangely flat to me. Not flat musically, just - meh. I'm sure they're fun to see - they have two sold-out performances here next month.
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#46

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:14 AM

I thought that the SoCals had the same problem as Face- a lead singer that really couldn't do the solo part for the song that they picked. I actually thought it would be them against Solo. Solo was definitely the worst out of all the groups last night. I think that ultimately the judges stuck w/ Voices of Lee b/c they were a better group with a crappy arrangement - with a different arrangement, I think they could be phenomenal, way better than the BYU group. Their lead singer was okay, not great.

I think the final groups are going to be the Bubs v. Nota. I can't believe that Nota was put together just for this show- they are really tight. It could be that they end up not having the depth that the other groups who have been around longer will have.

Noteworthy is pretty meh- they were better than I thought with Think.

Maxx Factor totally surprised me. I thought for sure that they would be the ones to go home initially, but then, their harmony was awesome and they seem to do a good job picking songs that they can pull off with barbershop w/o sounding old and fusty. I also got a little nervous when it was down to them and Solo, though. I told my husband that if Solo didn't get sent home, well, that was wrong. I was glad that they did. I actually think that if they did I Will Survive instead, they might have lasted another round. They've only been together for 3 months, though, so if they stick with this, they will get better.

Edited by feminaformosa, Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:15 AM.

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#47

Sharon

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:22 AM

The Sing Off on Hulu
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#48

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:28 AM

Did this show kind of remind anyone of America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC)? It's ABSC!


Yes! And now I am hoping for a best of Britney Spears challenge. No, I'm not kidding.
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#49

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 11:52 AM

I was pleasantly surprised by this show, so I think I will watch it thru it's run. I like good vocalists and a cappella is just the thing to really feature them.

Ben Folds - Wow, quite a surprise on selecting him as a judge. I've been a fan of his music ever since I saw Drew Carey on some talk show and he recommended Ben Folds Five as a hot group. He was very precise in his criticism and seems to know exactly what he's talking about when giving advise to the contestants - without sugarcoating it too much.

Shawn from Boyz II Men - Probably another good choice since he was in one of the premier a cappella related groups of the 90's. He was less technically aware than Ben, but still had good critiques.

PussyCat Girl - I'm not a fan of the PCDs, so I'm not even aware if this chick can SANG or not, but after ever comment she made to the groups about "making it their own" or "smelling the color of their harmonies" or whatever pseudo musical BS she was pushing, I was sitting on my couch saying - "Thank you, Paula. Another Demerol?"

I thought the best part of the program was the opening number with the Queen/Bowie production. I liked Nota, SoCals and the Bubs - not crazy about the Soccer Moms schtick - but if they pull off Rehab well that would be filled with awesome. The Mormon gals - eeech... screechy and loud does not = good. The rest were like Up With People wanna bes and just not feelin them.

Glad they got rid of the group SOLO. They were pitchy (dawg) and did not mesh as a group. One of the lead gals (who was having a verklempt moment at the sing out) had a dreadful voice. When they did their backstory, I was thinking ... "Hey, is this another movie trailer for Precious?" So nice to see tragic homelife doesn't automatically mean you get a free pass to fame and fortune.

I will tune in again - it was entertaining overall. Oh, and Nick Lachey is wearing ALOT of makeup. Maybe that's why he so stiff.
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#50

Morgan of Hed

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:17 PM

Who dressed Nick, Men's Wearhouse? That was one ill-fitting suit.
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#51

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:21 PM

From the opening number I immediately said Nota would win and the rest of the show did nothing to disuade me. They can seriously harmonize and have some flair. The Bubs will challenge them but they are a little too frenetic for me - I prefer substance over style.

Overall, I thought the groups were trying to do too much in the background of the songs, which often drowned out the lead.

Also, as a big fan of Glee, it is now clear to me how much tuning they do in processing for that show. Because every single one of these groups last night were off key/pitchy at some point. And I agree with what someone said above - don't use a song recently done by Glee. I did not like the SoCals version of the Queen song at all.

Edited by rivermet, Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:24 PM.

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#52

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:27 PM

Glad they got rid of the group SOLO. They were pitchy (dawg) and did not mesh as a group. One of the lead gals (who was having a verklempt moment at the sing out) had a dreadful voice. When they did their backstory, I was thinking ... "Hey, is this another movie trailer for Precious?" So nice to see tragic homelife doesn't automatically mean you get a free pass to fame and fortune.


Thank you. Not to sound cold and heartless, but their opening package turned me off to them. It was ALL "poor, poor, nowhere to go, poor, poor, if we lose this reality contest we might as well die, did we mention we're poor." I get adversity, but this was a little too playing it for affect. And then they weren't good which made the backstory pretty moot.

Also couldn't stand SoCal. Do you know why people may compare you to Glee? Because you keep comparing yourselves to Glee. And then singing one of the more popular songs to come out of the show. Using the exact same arrangement. But doing a pretty poor imitation of it.
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#53

Sharon

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:32 PM

'The Sing-Off' premiere: Keen singing and swan songs:
http://watching-tv.e...-off-ben-folds/

This being the post-Susan Boyle era of TV competition judging, no act was ridiculed in the making of this show. And I do have to say that Ben Folds is my new favorite TV judge, hands down. The once-and-future Ben Folds Five leader was smart, articulate, funny, and perhaps the only person currently on TV who can use “keen” as a word of praise and not seem like he’s reading from an old Archie comic book.
The other two judges seemed cast as types. Former Boyz II Men member Shawn Stockman took the Randy Jackson role (“Wow, wow!”; “Pitchy”), while Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger was the Paula Abdul effusive-babbler (“Your voices are limitless!”).


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#54

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:37 PM

Did this show kind of remind anyone of America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC)? It's ABSC!


The executive producer of ABDC is also the producer of this show.

I really am looking forward to tonight ... the previews were great. Wish they had audience votes though similar to what they have for the Dance Crew show.
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#55

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:44 PM

The things she said didn't even make sense half the time ("beetle-bubs"? Does she not know what Beelzebub means?).


Perhaps I'm giving her too much credit, but I think she was intentionally making a pun. Beatle-bubs. They had just sung a Beatles song.
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#56

Cherry Wire

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:25 PM

There are also technical issues to consider (from Deke Sharon via rarb.org):


Hmmmm. I thought the groups sounded fine - in light of all those technical challenges, I'd say the show pulled off quite a feat!

One interesting thing about these college groups: I've heard they can be really popular on some campuses. A friend of mine who's a UNC alum says the Clef Hangers had more female fans than anyone on campus except the basketball team, and that their on-campus shows sell out in minutes with people waiting in long lines. I wonder if that's true anywhere else? Probably not BYU, but elsewhere?

Also, if many Idol finalists are struggling even to reach the point where they can rely on a music career without needing a day job (much less become stars), aren't the odds even longer for a group coming off this show? Ugh, makes me feel bad for Solo.
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#57

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 1:53 PM

I adore barbershop, but I hate female barbershop - everything sounds like the Andrews Sisters. I must admit that Maxx Factor was very, very good, but they should be. Sweet Adelines is pretty selective and they do a lot of professional-level training. I'd much rather see Solo grow; if they've only been singing together for 12 weeks, and assuming they weren't in college glee clubs for the past 27 years like some of the kids, I'd bet they could turn into something very cool. I could do without the Lee people, one less group of adorable whitebread college kids wouldn't disappoint me at all.

I'm delighted that Beelzebub and the Mormons are on the same show. I forecast a showdown between them. Just because it's the sort of thing a cheesy show would do.

I have a strong dislike for pop songs arranged for choirs, so I'm not crazy about this overall. Queen songs work pretty well, and Magical Mystery Tour worked, some other Beatles songs, Abba, ok. But I could do without the Unwritten and other stuff.

I loved how Nota changed musical styles during one song.

I am actually looking forward to tonight's episode. Someone save me!
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#58

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 2:37 PM

Also, Nick? You don't have to define "a cappella" every single time you're on camera. We get it, no instruments. We won't forget during the commercial, promise.


Oh, and by the way, Lachey: You did not invent the expression "swan song" ......as in "We call this their 'swan song.'" Just saying.

Ben Folds? I forgive you for that awful "Brick" song. You had me at hello with the HRG glasses.

So far, my favorites are Nota and the Bubs (thanks to whomever posted the hilarious Youtube clip of "Sexy Buttons." So about to go on my Facebook page in a minute.) I also really liked SoCal. Their lead male, Dan, has fantastic stage presence. Of all the leads, he was the only one I think has obvious star quality.

Edited by guinevere34, Dec 15, 2009 @ 2:38 PM.

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#59

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 2:48 PM

One interesting thing about these college groups: I've heard they can be really popular on some campuses. A friend of mine who's a UNC alum says the Clef Hangers had more female fans than anyone on campus except the basketball team, and that their on-campus shows sell out in minutes with people waiting in long lines. I wonder if that's true anywhere else? Probably not BYU, but elsewhere?


As an acapella group alum, who did the competition circuit, I can say this is definitly true on many campuses. But that's because in most good peformances, the group almost always involves the crowd ( bringing them up on stage, serenading (sorry, sp?) a female, eliciting audience involvement for parts of the song, etc). I felt bad for a lot of the groups last nite because many of them had no stage presence. Some, like the unfortunately named FACE, had, uh scary looking faces and looked quite mean when they sung. Then other groups, like the Bubs, were too over the top for me in their stage presence and forgot that they weren't singing in a student lounge. These groups should have looked at tapes of Rocapella or Take 6 to see how it's done.

I agree with a previous poster who noticed that a lot of the groups seemed to pick the wrong people to sing the leads. (Except for SOcal, their lead had a Clay Aiken thing goin on. He was good) Just wow @ noteworthy. That poor lead singer is not gonna have a throat if she keeps that up.

I was pleasantly suprised by Maxx Factor. I kinda cringed at the "barbershop" genre, (was expecting hello my baby, hello my honey. Hello my ragtime pal... lol) but it was pretty good. They probably should have that song in a higher key, even just a half step woulda brought out that solo more. But that was pretty full sounding for four people. I think thats what made it good.

Socal wins for the best look. Nick Lachey loses for the worst look. Either he got dressed while drunk, or his stylist was drunk and high. I have never seen such an ill fitting suit on someone over the age of 12.

This show was cute. Nicole shuold stay away from the Valium and take out the "Paula Abdul judging for dummies" cd out of her car.

Yikes. Solo was awful. Too bad. I wonder how they scoured for talent for this show, because I'm sure they must be some other acapella groups from other than the super peppy collegiate circle out there.
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#60

sparrowfletch

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Posted Dec 15, 2009 @ 2:52 PM

(thanks to whomever posted the hilarious Youtube clip of "Sexy Buttons." So about to go on my Facebook page in a minute.)


You're so, so welcome guinevere34. noandthen posted it too.

I almost feel a duty to share that with as many people as possible...it's so ridiculous and brightens your day! The lead on the "Sexyback" part of the song is still with the Bubs and is on the show (goofy, curly hair), while the lead on the "Buttons" portion graduated in 2008. I can't help but think that if the Bubs had gone "SoCals" style and assembled an all-star alumni team with that guy and a few others from recent years, the competition would be in the bag.

EDITED to add that someone who was at the second episode taping has posted all the groups' song choices for tonight's ep over at www.rarb.org. I've spoiler-barred the ones that weren't previewed at the end of last night's episode:

Here's tonight's Big Hit and Guilty Pleasure selections:

Voices of Lee – No One by Alicia Keys and Freedom 90 by George Michael
Nota – Down by Jay Sean and Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees
Beelzebubs – Right Round by Flo Rida and Come Sail Away by Styx
Maxx Factor – Love Story by Taylor Swift and Rehab by Amy Winehouse
The SoCals – Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Jefferson Starship
Noteworthy – Viva La Vida by Coldplay and Hold On by Wilson Phillips


Edited by sparrowfletch, Dec 15, 2009 @ 3:32 PM.

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