Monday, December 6, 2010

Sing-Off Returns Tonight!
Judge Ben Folds gives his take

Be sure to set your TV dials for NBC tonight at 8 PM -- that's channel 4 here in Orlando on Brighthouse Cable. The Sing-Off will air from 8 PM to 10 PM tonight and Wednesday.

The show was actually taped last summer, but the finale will be held live in L.A. Rather than give you my own personal take on the show's premiere, I am doing something different this time: reprinting my favorite judge Ben Folds' blog, "On Key," which I have no doubt that he actually wrote himself. (These days, most celebrities do not write their own blogs or if they do, they are so heavily edited, they might as well have not written them at all.)

Reprinted from NBC's Sing-Off website:

Posted By Ben Folds
November 25, 2010 2:25 AM
The Sing-Off, Part 2

Acoustic Boogaloo: In which the ever advancing army of a cappella groups takes another small step in our second season of The Sing-Off on NBC, with a whole new slew of a cappella groups from around the country.

Last season's success brought many more groups out of the woodwork, and they promise to take the show to a whole other level when we kick it once again starting December 6th. Same cast - my judge friends Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men), and of course, Nick Lachey as our fearless host.

Sing Off is quickly turning into something that I so very much look forward to each year - it's kinda becoming summer camp for me. Camera dudes and TV crew of all types on our set mentioned all last season that they couldn't help getting chills every time a group sang. In fact, some of them seemed annoyed at their physical response. But this IS in fact why a cappella has always been and will never go away. It's not a fad. It's the essence of music. There's nothing novel about it, although in a world where models shake their asses, are tuned by computers, styled and publicized, and are considered mainstream... Yes, I suppose it becomes novel to make music with no instruments. It becomes novel that singers on The Sing-Off have no safety net, that they're not tuned, and that it's all based on talent and skill. Hell, most people might not be able to afford musical instruments in the near future, but we all have a voice. And more people can sing than you think. So this kind of music is going to be around.

I haven't seen much TV and I've never seen any of the popular vocal competition shows. I came to this because I want to see a cappella continue to advance. If the other two judges and I can provide a good sounding board from our experience as performers and even send the losers home having improved and remaining inspired, then I feel we've done our job. At the end of the day, in the final episodes, the public will decide who they connect most with. But until the last two episodes, the burden is on us judges to decide who stays and who goes. And I actually find that really tough.

My interest began as I realized that nearly every university in the country was covering songs I had written. (Nobody else was covering my music! Ha ha.) I honestly felt their interpretation of my music was often an improvement over what I ever imagined. I weeded out an album's worth of university a cappella groups from about 250 groups performing my music and made a CD called "University A Cappella" in 2008, which featured all singing groups. I drove a van with my engineer around the country and placed mics in their dorm rooms and let them sing. The proceeds went to music education, and as an aside, it seems to have landed me a judge position on The Sing-Off.

So these are my people, and my hope is that this show can document some of the innovations in a growing genre, and that it inspires more people to sing. If you watch the news, you start to think that nobody can work together anymore. You might start to believe that there is no harmony, there is no working in concert. I love a cappella because it reminds me that that's not true. That's why it gives the camera dudes goose bumps. And that's why I'll keep coming back as long they'll have me. Hell yeahs, we all grown up now on Season Twooooooo!

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