I enjoy The Sing-Off, which is a little odd — given how much I adore a cappella, it would make more sense if I also loved The Sing-Off. I think, however, that The Sing-Off isn’t the kind of a cappella to which I am especially attached: there’s just something about college a cappella that I particularly like. I also tend to place value on inventive choreography and smart arrangements, as well as great singing voices. And perc — that’s important, too. I also don’t necessarily agree with the judges’ decisions.
Take Season 2, for example — On The Rocks was fantastic. They have fun choreography, energy to spare, and great vocals. “Bad Romance”? Outstanding. They totally commit to the song. They lasted longer than five groups, but they still didn’t make it to the final episode, and four groups beat them.
If I’d been watching The Sing-Off during Season 1, I would’ve been cheering for the Beelzebubs, who came in second. The Beelzebubs are, by the way, the group whose arrangement and background vocals are used for the Warblers on Glee (the Warblers being the group that Darren Criss’s character was in during Season 2). One of their performances on The Sing-Off:
Perhaps what makes The Sing-Off difficult to judge is that there are so many different types of a cappella. It’s hard to judge between people who have very minimal choreography and those who have particularly involved choreography. To me, in this kind of televised competition, choreography is important. It’s about the whole performance, not just about sounding good.
Actually, I just noticed that both of the winning groups (Nota and Committed) were small groups of guys who weren’t a college a cappella group. Not what I personally typically think of when I think a cappella. They also don’t have choreography that is anywhere near as involved as the Boca-type groups (Best of College A cappella).
I haven’t watched beyond the first episode of this season of The Sing-Off. After that episode, I decided on a favorite, the University of Rochester’s YellowJackets. I discovered through Wikipedia, however, that they were eliminated after lasting longer than roughly two-thirds of the other groups. Their Billy Joel medley:
If I start watching again, I may cheer for the Dartmouth Aires — a friend posted a link on Facebook to their Queen medley, and it’s amazing . . . and they fit that college a cappella group thing I like so much.