Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sing-Off Season 5 to air Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There is no need to stay home from black Friday shopping to watch Season 5 of the Sing-Off during the NBC winter-season break this Thanksgiving holiday. The formerly all A Capella, now instrument backed vocal competition show will not debut until Wednesday, December 17th at 9 p.m. for what is being celebrated as "A Special Holiday Event."

I am looking forward to the new format with morbid curiosity. How will strict A Cappella groups fare against vocal groups using backing instruments? How do you judge apples to apple pie? Although I love Sing-Off Season 3 winner Pentatonix as a strict A Capella group, I am much more impressed with their collaboration with expert fiddler Lindsey Stirling on an extraordinary cover of Imagine Dragons' Radioactive. In this rendition, Pentatonix' beat boxer Kevin Olusola (KO) also pulled out all the stops to accompany the group on cello:  


The judges will have a challenging time discerning the quality vocal groups from those groups who perhaps have less vocal talent, but are musical geniuses in supplementing their lack of vocal prowess with a difficult-to-emulate horn section or harpsichord. 

I am happy to report that both Dr. Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men (Now using a PhD by his name on twitter, Stockman received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Drexel University in 1996) and Jewel are returning as judges on the Sing-Off. Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees is also returning as host. 

Former judge Ben Folds is passing this year, he says due to scheduling conflicts as he took his concerto tour to the southern hemisphere, too far to hop on a jet plane to bounce back and forth for the show's tapings. However, it is no secret that he is an A Cappella purist and I'm sure the show's format change to allow the addition of instrumentation must have ruffled his feathers. 

Replacing Folds is Patrick Stump, lead vocalist, guitarist, pianist and composer for the popular pop punk alternative band, Fall Out Boy. Stump is currently an advisor for The Voice, joining "Team Adam" just this Monday to advise contestants on correct vocal styling. Known for his quality two-octave baritone tenor vocal range, he will bring an interesting and fresh set of opinions to the judges' box.