Mike Chin checking in here, live from my couch in front of my television screen. The first episode of The Sing-Off is in the books, and from where I’m sitting, the show did not disappoint. I took in this first episode alongside ACB Production Manager Mike Scalise and University of Rochester Vocal Point alum and ACB contributor Genevieve Chawluk via the magic of Google Chat. What follows is a traditional ACB Event Review, peppered with highlights from that conversation.
Mike Chin (MC): Nick Lachey opens the show, touting it as “the first ever singing competition that’s all about harnessing the raw power of the voice.” Umm, Nick, you have two recent International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella winning groups here, alongside the reigning Harmony Sweepstakes champions. First televised competition of its kind, I will grant you.
OK, enough nitpicking for now. Nick’s only on for a moment before he hands over the floor to all eight competing groups to perform Queen and David Bowie’s seminal classic, “Under Pressure.” Each group gets a moment in the spotlight, and each gets to send one representative to center stage for the song’s epic climax. Good sound all around, though no individual group gets enough time to do anything particularly memorable. From this snippet of a preview, I’d say The ‘Bubs, Noteworthy and SoCals shine brightest. MAXX Factor seems a little out of its element—I think this just isn’t their song. Solo, as a group, isn’t looking as sure of itself as the rest of the pack.
Lachey moves on to introduce our three judges—Ben Folds, Nicole Scherzinger and Shawn Stockman.
For this first evening, each group will perform its signature song.
Group #1: Nota
Nota hails from Puerto Rico. We get glimpses of the guys performing in a variety of venues, jamming at a barbecue. One guy tells the tale of singing to his wife while she was in a coma.
Nota is made up of six guys who wear black jackets, olive t-shirts and jeans. The guys open with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” They trade off on the solo throughout, some of the front men riffing more than others, one busting out the Spanish, at which point we get a sprinkling of Salsa dancing and the guys seem to be a) having the most fun, b) demonstrating the most energy and c) proving to be at their most entertaining.