Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Sing Off

I am not much of a TV watcher.  My choice to not watch TV initially was because it was so addictive to me and I do not want to spend hours sitting in front of it.   More recently it has also been because there is so little on that's worth watching.  For several years my regular TV watching was pretty much limited to NFL football.  About 3 years ago I started to watch NCIS and have enjoyed that on Tuesday evenings.  More recently Sue and I happened to watch the second episode of NBC's The Sing Off and have enjoyed that show as well.


The Sing Off is, I guess, a reality show similar to American Idol, but with one very dramatic difference.  The judges are always positive and affirming, even while critiquing a performance; there is no drama or negativity at all.  The contestants are all a cappella groups containing at least 5 members who, over the course of the 10 week competition have sung one or two songs a week of different genres with one or two groups eliminated each week.  The show started with 16 groups and the grand finale narrowed it down from the top three to the final winner.


I don't know about you, but generally when I think a cappella the first thing that comes to mind is that the piano player didn't show up and we have to sing our hymns without any accompaniment.  And some times that works out but other times it would have been better if we had just skipped the singing.  But these groups have truly amazed me with what can be done a cappella.  For many of these groups it is hard to realize that there are no instruments and that every sound is coming from someones vocal cords.  Complicated arrangements, choreography, a wide variety of genres, short time windows to prepare; nothing seems to slow them down.  While I have known few of the songs, and didn't really care for some of them, the performances were always entertaining and pretty amazing.




Take a listen to Pentatonix, pictured above, singing Born to Be Wild or the Dartmouth Aires singing Pinball Wizard to get a taste of what the competition has been like.  These have been my two favorite groups throughout the show and ultimately finished first and second in the competition.  For winning, Pentatonix received a cash prize and a recording contract so they should have a CD coming out in the future.  Planning on buying it at this point.

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