Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Sing Off- Ben Folds Brings It

After two people mentioned The Sing-Off to me I realized that it would be worth checking out. The first two hour episode didn't disappoint. A reality singing competition between acapella groups, The Sing-Off brought a lot of things to the table that made it worth my while. I'll probably give this show one more post (most likely after the finale), but the second two-hour episode is about to start so I'm going to get my thoughts on the premier down real quick.

Sure the singing helps to make American Idol great, but what puts it over the top has been the dynamic group of personalities it assembled as judges and host. Between Simon, Ryan, Paula and Randy, you've always had someone to love and someone to hate. For me, and most sane people, the two former are the ones to love and the two latter are so easy to hate. The Sing-Off has almost brought the same dynamic to the table. Nick Lachey as host brought a cool, calm and classy aspect to the show, and he doesn't try too hard to coexist with the contestants (a la Nick Cannon). When they announced the three judges I thought to myself, "Interesting that they got three people with singing backgrounds. That's a change from shows of past. We probably won't get the blabber that I'm used to with Randy and Paula." So I was wrong, so what?

This Nicole chick from the Pussycat Dolls was right on par with Paula after one episode. She had no idea what to say to any of the groups and ended up saying they had great spirits over and over again. Shawn of Boyz II Men started off similarly in rambling style, but started to get a bit more comfortable by the end. Too bad when he was comfortable he still started to just copy my boy Ben Folds (a la Randy to Simon). The singing knowledge that Folds brought to the table in this first episode was unbelievable to watch. He analyzed every performance with such precision, to the point that he was glancing over at his notebook before reciting what he had to say about each group. He might look like a complete nerd, but he was easily put forth the best performance by a reality judge that I have ever seen.

The next positive aspect I gathered from the premier episode was that they did us all a favor and got rid of any auditions. For once a reality competition just cut right to the meat of the show and gave us the talent. Eight teams competing over a four nights (I think) for one champion. Out of the eight, no one was bad. Well except for maybe the four mom barber shop quarteters, but they made it through to the next round.

And finally they changed something that I've always hated about Idol. When a contestant gets eliminated in Idol, they sing the song that they just sang the other night. I never care about this performance, because we've basically seen it already. On The Sing-Off the losing group is to perform their "Swan Song" as the exit the stage. It is a song they decide before the competition that they will use if they happen get eliminated. Not only is it new, but they sing it as the leave the arena. Great work.

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