ACA-WHO? ACA-YOU! Our special "making music with the mouth" correspondent Saray returns with an advance look at The Sing-Off, which makes its return tonight:
Our long national nightmare is over. The Sing-Off returns to NBC tonight, one-night-only style, post-Michael Buble Christmas special, for vocal percussion and puns galore. Our dapper doofus of a host, Nick Lachey, returns, along with judges Shawn Stockman and Jewel. Replacing Ben Folds (unavailable for the taping this year, SIGH) is Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy. Since one of his group's songs was one of the most-covered collegiate a cappella songs last year (My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark), this maybe makes some sense?
For those of you who are new to ALOTT5MA, in my spare time from intellectual property law, I produce the Finals of both the ICCA and the ICHSA, and I'm a reviewer for RARB, the Recorded A Cappella Review Board. I'm here to give you a short preview of the groups you'll see on this year's Sing-Off this Wednesday night!
Here are your competitors this year: a.squared, The Exchange, San Fran6, Timothy's Gift, Traces, and the Vanderbilt Melodores. Notably, two of these groups are all-female.
a.squared is a relatively new group from Yale University. It actually consists of a bunch of members of other a cappella groups at Yale, who got together to do live looping a cappella stuff as an experimental project. I heard them at BOSS (the Boston Sings A Cappella Festival) last year and their work is very cool. Check out their video of Holocene. It gets super interesting around 3 minutes in. I remain doubtful that what they do will translate to television, but you never know. Television is magic!
The Exchange is a pro group that was made up of different members of various Sing-Off competing groups from the past few seasons (plus someone who arranged and coached for the show - scandal!) They are currently making a living as an a cappella group, and travel all over. Though I hate "Blurred Lines", their arrangement is great, and the video is hilarious. Look out for first soloist Christopher Diaz, ICCA Finals best soloist winner and one of my favorite people on the planet.
I know nothing about San Fran6. I have literally never heard of them. Isn't that weird? Here's an obligatory "Bang Bang" cover. They've only had Twitter and Facebook accounts since November, so I'm going to just guess that they are a put-together group for the special.
Timothy's Gift is a Christian singing group that does prison outreach and mission work. Only the women from the group are competing on the show. They're not a group that performs a cappella regularly (check the guitar and percussion in this video of "Rather Be") so it should be fun watching them take on the a cappella challenge.
Traces is an all-female group from NYC that I have thought should be on TSO since the beginning. The did the smart thing and brought in a ringer female vocal percussionist for the show, Selame Scarlett, a frequent ICCA judge. Check out one of the arrangements that won them the Harmony Sweepstakes New York regional title here.
Finally, we have the Vanderbilt Melodores, our second collegiate representative and likely holder of the goofy college kid antic spot on the show (previous credit to the Tufts Beelzebubs, Dartmouth Aires, University of Rochester Yellowjackets, and the University of Kentucky AcoUstiKats.) The Melodores happen to be the holder of my personal Best ICCA Set Ever award with this amazing set from 2011. It is inventive, with amazing choreography and just pure commitment from every single member of the group.
So that's your Sing-Off preview. Questions about how the show works or who is behind it? Predictions on a winner? (I think it will be The Exchange, continuing the run of only having one female winner ever - Kristie from Pentatonix - and frustrating me to no avail.) I'll be around in the comments, and I'll see you back here later this week for a wrap-up.