Why you should watch The Sing Off

I haven’t been watching TV lately but with the help of Youtube and with my Google skills, I am able to discover a TV show that makes me appreciate ‘real talent’. The Sing Off is my favorite TV show, my favorite talent show, my favorite singing competition. I keep replaying and searching for their videos of Season 2. It’s an American singing competition featuring a capella groups singing popular music. Let me tell you why I am a fan of this show.

The Best Musical Instrument

As I watch each episode, the more I am convinced that the best musical instrument is the human voice. I just realize how incomparable the human voice is when I get to hear a very familiar song sung with a different musical arrangement in a capella. There are emotions that can only be expressed in a human voice. No violin, guitar or drums can magnify these feelings. An example of this is the rendition of If I were a boy by the a capella group, Backbeats. When we hear Beyoncé sing her song, we often hear a woman ranting over a man who took her for granted. You hear anger and grudges. But in the rendition of Backbeats, it was different. As they apply dynamics in their singing, it adds another meaning. The song then has a lot of depth. The hate song becomes melancholic that you are able to sympathize with them. Also, check out the Backbeats’ rendition of Breakeven. It has the same feel. I like the breathing sounds they make when they reach the bridge of Breakeven.

Real Talents

One of the judges, Nicole Scherzinger said “You cannot deny real talent.” I haven’t seen or heard a group in the show that has much flaws. Every group deserves to have more exposure on TV. The Sing off makes  a capella genre alive in the music scene. Of course, singing is the highlight. But other talents are also given light such as beatboxing, the brain behind the group’s musical arrangement, and storytelling as well. I never thought that I would really like to learn beatboxing until I watched Courtney Jensen in The Sing Off. She’s the only female percussionist in the entire competition. I also have high regard for people who have talent in musical arrangement. It’s amazing how people can imagine sounds in their heads and translates them to actual sounds. In The Sing Off, you will observe how creative musicians can be. I did not like songs of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Maroon 5 but through The Sing Off, I am now enjoying their songs. It is all because of the different styles and techniques they use in their songs. Though not directly related, storytelling is part of how they sing. The sounds, the way they sing convey stories. An example of this is Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town’s rendition of House of the Rising Sun. Ben Folds said their music is very visual. He added that they can  sing for a movie.  It is a talent to build images with the sound of your voice.

Learn More about Music

The Sing Off educates me more about music. I learn that the first a capella group was a group of students in Yale University called Whiffenpoofs. I learn to compare modern style of a capella group singing with the traditional. I learn that there are conservative musicians who are not fans of beatboxing. They believe singing itself can bring great music. Crescendo, decrescendo, dynamics have become my music vocabulary. I learn there are many sounds used in a capella, such as ”wo—oooh”, ”wow,””chen chen chen chen,” “ha ha ha,” “donokow,””ahhh,” “tuh-tuh-tuh” and a whole lot more. I can somehow distinguish a simple arrangement  from a complicated one.

 Selection of Judges

The three judges of the show are Shawty Stockman, Sarah Bareilles (who will replace Nicole Scherzinger), and Ben Folds. Shawty Stockman is from an all-time favorite boyband Boys 2 Men who influence male groups like Backsteetboys and The Script. I like hearing comments from Shawty Stockman. He has so much passion. He tends to be exaggerated, intense especially when he says, “It was like drama,” or when he asks the audience, “Do you know how hard it is?”  The woman of the show, Nicole, is the lead singer of Pussy cat dolls. She’s quite pleasant not only in the eyes but also in her comments. Though some people don’t like the way she judges, I like her to be there. She is gentle when she gives her critique but she tells the contestants what they need to know.  The best trait of Nicole in judging is sometimes she unintentionally brings humor.  She makes use of her kinky vocabulary in music by coining the words   “musical orgasm,” and “musical climax.”   The show lets the audience see another side of Nicole. Occasionally, she performs in the show where her vocal prowess proves that she is not another pop star with bikinis. Ben Folds, on the other hand, is the one who criticizes the technical aspect of the a capella performance. Ben Folds has been in the industry for a long time but his name reached a wider audience when he accepted the offer to be one of the judges for the show. Thanks to this show, we get to know a fine musician whom we don’t always find in mainstream music. I heard an interview with Ben Folds in a radio show. This was aired before the show ran. The DJ said, sooner or later people would be curious who Ben Folds was. They would soon find him in Google and look for his videos and songs. I found out I’ve been listening to his songs. I just did not know they were written and sung by him. For those of you who don’t know about him. He is a singer and a song writer. His genre is alternative rock music. Some of his songs are Brick, Army, and Kate. He also wrote a song for an animated film, Over the Hedge.

Higher level of Singing

You will always get to hear a group of people singing but not as artistic as the ones you get to watch in The Sing Off.  Aside  from the fact that they are introducing a modern way of group singing, they also show you how an a capella group should be.  I like how they make use of the stage in contrary to choral groups that we usually see on schools.  For instance, though Whiffenpoofs maintains a traditional style of  a capella but they know how to play on stage. From their second and last performance, their performance was like Broadway according to Ben Folds. They don’t just sing. They add other elements. I like how the  a capella groups incorporate minimal movements such as tilting of the head, a little sway, a few steps, lifting of the hands. I also like how these movements do not appear choreographed on stage.  The Sing Off takes singing to a higher level.  On the event, it’s not just singing. It is a performance and an art. I have high hopes that the next batch of contestants are  as innovative, creative, and  fun as last season’s contenders.

Fusion of Singers

If you watch their opening numbers, you’ll want more.  You sometimes ask,  “Is it a live performance or is it recorded?” I’m in awe on how they fuse all these groups together with different singing style. The result of this fusion creates a powerful performance.

The Sing Off  Season 3 will be aired on September 19, Monday. The show starts from 8 to 10 pm in NBC channel, hosted byNick Lachey of 98 degrees. For more information, visit their website. Aside from a new set of singing groups to look forward, The Sing Off has a new judge. Sarah Bareilles, She is a three-time Grammy Award Nominee. Some of her popular songs, Love Song and King of Anything. When she was studying in UCLA, she joined an a capella group called Awaken.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jacklyn Belo
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 02:34:02

    the ‘birit’ or ‘almost shouting’ – that’s really the style of pop singers.. Sarah Brighteman? Lea Salonga? Sarah Barbara Streisand? you have good taste ha hehe 🙂

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    • Julisar Anino
      Sep 27, 2011 @ 08:56:18

      Hehehe… my parents really likes their songs and I got to like the music because it’s very beautiful;. If A Capella could have been “Thee Trend” of music in this country, then we could have quality. 😀

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  2. Jacklyn Belo
    Sep 22, 2011 @ 01:57:00

    I wonder why this show is not as popular as American Idol and I wonder why this is not popular in the country when there are many Glee fans in the Philippines. By the way, Holland was able to get a franchise. Wow, you’re brother is a musical arranger! Cool! I don’t know if our local TV networks will find this show interesting. I barely see a cappella groups or choral in Talent shows like Pinoy Got Talent, Talentadong Pinoy, Show Time. And if I see a group singing in these shows, they barely go to the next round of the competition. The are a lot of dancing groups compared with singing groups in talent shows. To come to think of it, most Filipinos are born singers 🙂

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    • Jokjok
      Sep 23, 2011 @ 05:10:27

      Definitely they can’t get to the following rounds. I mean, most of the people would prefer to listen to common “Singing Solo” type and what they call “BIRITAN”. I’m not being a bad critic, but that’s not music, that’s noise (No offense to those who likes to BIRIT). If you would ask me, singers like Sarah Geronimo, Rachelle Ann Go, Charice Pempengco and Angeline Quinto are nothing compared to the golden voice of Lea Salonga (well, she does Broadway), but the thing is, she doesn’t need to shout just to get a higher pitch or reach a certain octave, “Effortless”. And she’s one of the female singers that my brother idolize (the arranger), and the rest of the family as well, singers like; Sarah Brightman, Barbara Streisand, Enya and Violet (and from the fact that he likes Broadway). Well, dancing is not really a first choice, dancing can only be appreciated if there’s a background noise, I mean, music… and dancing as of today has no grace and poise, it’s all about pride and raw. We are born singers, it’s not just Bohol who takes the pride to have a very awesome Singing Choral, there are other great singers and potentials out there in the corners of this country.

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  3. Jokjok
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 02:52:52

    The Sing Off is not yet that popular in the Philippines (that’s where we’re at), thanks to the efforts of the people who sings in solo and the judges who thinks that, that is pure talent (Gish! You only sound good because of the accompaniment – no offense to those who prefer to go solo). But my brother and his classmates really wants to join that kind of competition. He’s the school’s musical arranger, and he wants to push himself to the limit, if by chances, one the TV Networks in this country, would get a franchise on a competition like The Sing Off (But please, not in ABS CBN – it’s not like I hate them, it’s just that, I don’t know if they know quality). A Capella is the Soul of Music, and yes, you can see Real emotion compared with the use of Instruments. I mean, what would I feel if I pluck my guitar or play a flute? I only feel the feeling that I want to feel with no meaning on it. I just wish that The Sing Off singing competition will also be here in the Philippines.

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