Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Post Script: 'The Sing-Off'

Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen the finale of The Sing-Off (and don't want to know which group won) stop reading here. Otherwise, continue.

So, The Sing-Off concluded its four-episode run last night. And while my heart goes out to the Bubs—whom I got to know during a year reporting Pitch Perfect, out on the road with them in Los Angeles, in the studio with them in New Hampshire, and on campus with them at Tufts—I wasn't surprised that NOTA took the top prize. And I'm guessing the executives at Sony (who award the winner a record deal) are relieved at the outcome. Because sending six grown men out on the road to tour is easier than shipping out 12 undergraduate students (with pesky midterms and papers to write).

The series was well produced, and a thrill for a cappella fans. But I have to say: There was a funny misstep in last night's finale. Just before the winner was announced, the two remaining groups—the Bubs and NOTA—joined judge Ben Folds in a rendition of "Why Can't We Be Friends?" The problem: Folds accompanied them on the piano. And whenever you introduce an actual instrument into an a cappella show, there is the unfortunate consequence of reminding listeners of what they've been missing. In short: The piano upstaged eighteen singers just at the moment NBC had convinced viewers that pop music was better without instruments.

Oh well. It's a small quibble. Here's the Folds-NOTA-Bubs performance to judge for yourself.