SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen last night’s episode of The Sing-Off, do not click here! After the jump, an interview with the winners of the a cappella reality series.
Last night, Alabama gospel group Committed won the second season of NBC’s reality competition The Sing-Off, and life has already changed for them. (Sleep? Who needs it?) After a hotel wrap party following the finale last night, the boys have been doing press all day long, and they’re pretty much on-the-go for the next few weeks. Despite all the chaos, though, their spirits remain high. After all, they just won $100,000, a Sony recording contract, and a Sing-Off trophy. This afternoon, the members of Committed – Maurice Staple, Alain “Tommy” Gervais, Theron “Therry” Thomas, Robert “Robbie” Pressly, Dennis “DJ” Baptiste, and Geston Pierre – called us up to chat about their time on the popular reality competition. The humble gents opened up about representing the Christian community, the murky song selection process, and which group they thought was going to be their biggest competition on the show. Keep in mind that these guys are very close, and they love to finish each other’s sentences, so sometimes it was hard to tell who was speaking. Names, however, are used whenever the speaker introduced himself.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on winning! Were you able to get any sleep last night?
COMMITTED: No, not really. We’re so tired!
How are you feeling now that it’s been couple hours, and things have been able to sink in?
It hasn’t sunk in yet.
Not at all?
Not at all. The experience has pretty much been a dream come true. We never thought in a million years that we’d ever be on television in front of millions and millions of people weekly, and for the support, and from where we come from – from singing in church to the stuff we did on the show. It was not expected at all.
Now, the finale was live last night, but the rest of the season was actually shot a few months ago, right? When did that occur?
August, beginning of September.
What was it like waiting for the show to debut? Were you wondering how audiences would respond?
ROBBIE PRESSLY: I know for me, I was extremely anxious. I just couldn’t wait for it to come out and for people to see our hard work and see what we’d been up to.
Did you all have to move from Huntsville, Ala., to L.A. for that period of time?
Yes. We were in a hotel.
Is that where all the contestants were staying?
That had to be a fun experience.
It was, because everyone was so fun to be around, and everyone was so musically inclined and talented and we had a lot of fun – we had jam sessions sometimes where we all got together and just sung, and everyone did the little beatbox. It was a lot of fun to be around people, and it made the experience a lot easier. It was like summer camp.
That’s one of the things that I love about the show – it captured the camaraderie that exists in the a cappella world. Speaking of which, what group would you all say you learned the most from?
DJ BAPTISTE: I think we took little things from each group. Some groups were really, really clean, and their vocals were perfect. Other groups had a great combination of being clean and really entertaining, not just standing there and singing like we kind of used to do at church – just snapping our fingers and stuff. So, I think we tried to take the best from each group and tried to use it.
What do you think was the toughest part of the competition for you all?
GESTON PIERRE: Well, we are Seventh-day Adventists, and we don’t do any work from Friday night sundown until Saturday night. That was a challenge for us because we had to take Sabbaths off, and as a result, we ended up behind, so we would have to catch up, basically. We’d spend countless hours – sometimes up until 4 a.m. Sunday and then we’d roll up for 8 a.m. rehearsal [the same] Sunday morning, so it was a lot of hard work, but we stood up for our beliefs, and we actually benefited from that day of rest. It was a privilege to have some time off because the realities of reality television are rigorous and scheduled, so it was nice to have our Sabbaths off.
Your faith was something I think a lot of people admired about you all, and the producers weren’t shy about labeling you as the “church boys” or the guys making “heavenly harmonies” every week. What did you all think of having that label so prominently attached to your group?
THERRY THOMAS: I really didn’t mind it. I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’m a Christian or anything, so it was actually an honor that they put us in that category.
Was there ever any tension about what songs you would sing, or what songs you might not want to represent because of your faith?
THERRY THOMAS: Well, for us, the most compromising one was the Usher medley. We took a risk and we did it. We don’t want to put any bad light on Christians. Probably if we went back and tried to do it again, we probably would have chosen something else. We’re not perfect. We mess up sometimes, but we just keep striving, just keep pushing forward, and can’t really look back. We don’t have any regrets, but if we could change anything, we would.
There’s been some debate in the EW comment sections about how songs are chosen and arranged. Can you enlighten us a little bit about how process works? Do you choose the songs or arrange them?
[Lots of mumbling]
So… what I’m gathering is that the producers would choose the songs and then Tommy would arrange them?
Interesting. Did you all get to put your own style into it?
So, if you all had to choose a favorite performance of yours from the whole show, what would it be?
It would probably be “Hold My Hand.” It’s the most positive and uplifting song that we’ve done. It was our last performance, and it just meant a lot to us.
What about a favorite from the other groups?
“Down on the Corner” by Street Corner [and] “Landslide” by Backbeats.
Let’s talk about dancing for a moment. A few times this season, I grilled you all for your lack of dancing. I’m sure it’s tough to live up to the choreography standard of a group like On The Rocks, but do you consider yourselves dancers at all?
As a group, no. I don’t think we think of ourselves as dancers. We still wanted to engage our audience by making some type of movement and with staging and what not. Tommy is the dancer of the group. What we did is we had a little rock to the left and right two-step, here and there, and some fingers. We wanted to stay in our zone and definitely make sure we didn’t compromise our vocals by moving a whole bunch. When you dance a lot, the chords won’t lock, so we stayed true to the one-two step. There was some choreo in the Backstreet Boys song, though!
In all the excitement last night, you mentioned that you would hope to tour with some of the other groups on the show. Is that something that is in the works?
Not really, but one can hope!
Let’s talk about your future album with Sony Music. In an ideal world, what kind of stuff do you want to showcase on there?
We definitely want to keep it inspirational. We don’t want to be stuck in a box per se – we want everyone to enjoy our music. We want to sing about life and everything that goes with life. We will have uptempo music. I don’t want people to think it will just be choral stuff. We will have some inspirational music, but we will have some uptempo music.
Since we’re talking about your sound, who are some of the groups you have listened to over the years?
GP: I personally am a big, big fan of Boyz II Men, Take Six, and, surprisingly, Groove For Thought. I’ve actually been a fan of Groove for Thought for about three years now. When I found out that we’d be competing against them, I was sad. I thought, “Man, we’re going to lose.” When they got eliminated, they only caught one of our guys, Maurice, crying on TV, but we all were crying. They were just super talented, and we definitely want to do something with them in the future.
Alright, instead of looking into the distant future, let’s looks at the immediate future. Right now, what comes next?
Well, we’re in the studio today –
You’re in the studio today?
Yes. We’re going to record “Hold My Hand,” the last one that we did.
So you are still on the clock for a while, I guess.
Yes, then on Thursday we’re headed to the Today Show in New York.
Well, you’ve clearly got a lot to do – you should get some sleep! Thanks for the chat.
Thank you, sir. It was an honor! Forgive us for it.