I have a confession to make. I don’t watch Glee. It’s not because I don’t like acappella. In fact, I *love* acappella. I’ve even blogged about it before. It’s because I don’t have time to watch T.V.
Or so I thought.
Because now I’m watching The Sing Off (Mondays and Wednesdays on NBC). Who’d have thought that if I were going to watch a limited number of t.v. shows (a VERY limited number…like 4), that I’d include a reality show with the same, tired out, ripped-off-from-American-Idol format. And I haven’t watched a reality show since the 2nd season of The Apprentice.
There’s probably nothing that could make me watch that. Nothing at all except for the fact that they installed Ben Folds as one of the 3 judges. So I was going to watch no matter what.
Despite my misgivings, I am really enjoying the show. There are 3 factors that I hadn’t counted on:
1) The American Idol format works. People keep ripping it off because its effective.
2) I’m a Ben Folds fanboy even more than I thought.
3) Nobody can resist good acappella. It crawls in your ear and tugs at the corners of your mouth until you either smile or your head explodes. The human voice is amazing; it is an instrument like no other.
The thing that really strikes me (compared to other shows in a similar format) is the judging. Most (all) of the reality shows in this format have the most worthless comments from the judges, usually stating that each performance is the most amazing performance ever performed by anyone anywhere. The credentials of the judges is usually dubious at best.
In this case, the judges are the aforementioned Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men), and Nicole Scherzinger (winner of Dancing with the Stars and lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls). So obviously Shawn Stockman knows a thing or two about acapella harmonizing, and Nicole Scherzinger knows about singing and also about winning reality shows in this format.
So it would seem that Ben Folds would be the odd man out. What experience does he have? Well, aside from displaying an amazing knowledge of musicians and musical history, he does tend to have a lot of 4 part harmonies in his songs. He also has his own acappella CD, Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella!, although he didn’t do the singing himself. But he obviously has an appreciation for the art.
So the amazing thing is the insightful, in-depth comments the judges give to each performance. They point out things I never would have noticed. Sometimes they still start with the “ohmygoshthisissoamazing” stuff, but then they roll into a pointed, sometimes rough criticism of the piece. They certainly don’t just give everybody a pass.
So, long story short, I’m enjoying The Sing Off a lot more than I expected to. I think there are about 5 groups left, and they are all pretty awesome, so it’s not too late to start watching. If nothing else, you can watch my man Folds lay some awesome critique without being too mean. Then we can debate over stuff, like who got robbed and who’s totally going to win.