Marked Melody

December 22, 2009

The Sing-Off!

Filed under: FYI — Alisa Hathaway @ 4:05 am

So, let’s be honest with ourselves here and now. I’m total shit at reviewing anything. I’m not very critical of music, movies, or televisions shows because I am easily pleased and enjoy most pop culture. Sure, I’m culturally literate and can usually distinguish garbage from quality entertainment; but at the same time, I love garbage for its kitsch, for what it tells us about the average American, and for its manipulation of the public through the most basic forms of entertainment. (That’s not to say I love Salinger’s Nine Stories in the same way I love watching The Cake Boss, but I think you understand my meaning.)

That being said, let’s point out what I may actually be good at doing, and that is bringing things that catch my eye to the attention of others, even if it’s simply because I won’t shut up about it. And that’s really all good communication is.

So what’s my point? If you didn’t already hear about NBC’s The Sing-Off, you probably should.

It’s the NBC network’s answer to the hype Fox is cashing in on with shows like American Idol and Glee. Nobody’s denying it anymore – the musical is back in force as mainstream entertainment, and the drooling public is rarely impressed anymore if you can’t act AND sing AND dance all at once. And no matter how hard I try to ignore it, “reality” TV is still ruling primetime. So why not combine the two? Hosted by Nick Lachey (why yes, sir, this is what your career has become), The Sing-Off pit eight acapella singing groups against each other for a Sony recording contract and a cash prize. The groups included a range of ages and styles, including Latin, barbershop, girly pop, gospel, and something I can only describe as frat rock. The judges included semicelebrities what’s-his-face from Boys II Men, the only Pussycat Doll that mattered, and a personal favorite of mine, Ben Folds.

So why was I so psyched to watch the finale tonight? Not only have I had a longtime obession with acapella covers of radio hits, but this miniseries definitely filled the void that Glee recently created. And these people had real talent for music, something you tend to miss out on if all you listen to is the radio or even glamorized audio recordings of your favorite rock albums. Yes, I believe there is still talent in modern music, instruments and all. But being able to watch musicians perform their craft with only the sounds the human voice can make, on live network TV – well, I think that’s pretty neat. Acapella music has been blowing me away since I saw a group of five blind gospel singers make music with only their voices when I was in fourth grade, and the performances on The Sing-Off gave me an even greater appreciation of what real musical training can achieve, despite its cheesy reality-show flair.

But that’s enough outta me. Here are a few of my favorite performances from the finalists on the show. Here’s hoping it comes around for another week sometime soon.

From your happy entertainment seeker,


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