The little engine that could known as The Sing-Off is back for a fourth season, and after revealing the 10 new groups competing on the show’s official Twitter, my a cappella senses are tingling!
The Sing-Off was never officially canceled, but it was a pleasant surprise when NBC picked it up for a fourth season in March, after going off the air in November 2011. After the huge success of a-cappella-pixie-dream-film Pitch Perfect (for which The Sing-Off producer Deke Sharon arranged the music), and an estimated 40 bajillion YouTube views for season 3 winner Penatonix, bringing back this cult favorite was a no-brainer.
With Mark Burnett Productions now in the driver’s seat, NBC seems to be upping the production value but scaling back from a 16-team season 3 to only 10 teams for season 4, which premieres December 9th. And from the looks of the new teams, the smaller size indicates a focus on quality over quantity. I like the sounds of that! Take a look at the information we were able to gather on the newest teams vying for the The Sing-Off title:
Self-described: “Justin Timberlake meets Kentucky Fried Chicken”
First Glance: Well, this University of Kentucky all-male-undergrad crew knows how to market themselves, I’ll give them that much. And then I’ll give them a lot more because I’m a total sucker for the fratty university groups. If you loved the Beelzebubs and are still pining for The Darmouth Aires’ Michael Odokara-Okigbo, then you’ll probably be tossing your vote to AcoUstiKats too (alright, the name could use some work).
Let the music speak: They’re a little lacking in their online presence, but this cover of Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” has me quite excited. So many button-ups and harmonies!
Self-described: “It’s a ONE STOP SHOP TO THE FIESTA!!”
First Glance: Their use of caps-lock seems well suited to the a cappella world. The recently formed group looks to be made up of four female vocalists and two male percussionists, all hailing from Puerto Rico. Smaller groups’ sound can sometimes sound weaker next to huge harmonies, but it’s all the more impressive when they’re great.
Let the music speak: This Facebook video of Calle Sol singing “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake proves they’ll be ready for the themed outfits The Sing-Off is so fond of. And the word on the street is: They dance!
Self-described: “Singing our way around NYC. We also love brunch.” Ha!
First Glance: Oh, these 10 ladies have head shots and an IMDb page, you just know it. Not that that’s a bad thing. Like Delilah before them, they’re professionals with a sisterly bond and an eye for sparkly fashion.
Let the music speak: No videos to speak of, so I guess they’re keeping the mystery alive. I choose to base all of my assumptions on this picture.
Self-described: “All Filipino. All acapella.”
First Glance: Great name. These six Filipino guys seem very promising on the vocal front. Will they have enough bass and percussion for a big sound? I sure hope so because they’ve got a fun vibe, like they’re buddies who have been together a long time.
Let the music speak: The 20/20 experience is really making it’s way around the a cappella world. Check out a preview of JT’s “Pusher Love Girl”
Self-described: “Fresh all-male a cappella since 1959.”
First Glance: They’ve got this history and the education, but those Ivy League boys tend to be always the bridesmaid, never the bride on The Sing-Off. The bios on their website suggest they might have the personalities to take it all the way. Highlight: “Casey hopes to one day strike a deal with the devil for a life supply of churros.”
Let the music speak: Consider me charmed by this Footnotes original written in 1962, “All I Ask for Is You.”
Self-described: “The world’s first country vocal band.”
First Glance: I think they might be using that tagline a little loosely, like how Chick-fil-A “invented” the chicken sandwich. But the fact that they were so prominently featured in The Sing-Off promo is likely indicative of big talent. Plus, country fans know how to pick up the phone and vote.
Let the music speak: Oh, so this is what it looks like to be a traveling a cappella group.
Street Corner Renaissance
Self-described: “Looking forward to the past” (Their Facebook “about” is quite lengthy, but I’m impressed with this more mature crew’s online presence – almost 300,000 YouTube views!)
First Glance: Not to be confused with season 2 runner-up Street Corner Symphony, EW got an EXCLUSIVE tip on what to look forward to from SCR: Their performance of One Direction’s “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” so overwhelms one judge with emotion that he rushes the stage for hugs. There’s a clear “Boyz II Men”/boys-to-men joke here that I don’t know how to make.
Let the music speak: Stone cold professionals.
Self-described: “TEN – Innovative in inception, Organic in creation, Masterful in delivery!”
First Glance: Ah, yes, the quintessential group of professional singers, together for one purpose: to compete in The Sing-Off. They’re like one of those groups that Simon Cowell puts together on The X Factor; I’m hoping they’re more One Direction/Fifth Harmony than, say, inTENsity (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, well…that’s what I’m talking about).
Let the music speak: No music to speak of, but you can at least see TEN in the image up top.
Self-described: “Renowned a cappella group from Oakland School for the Arts.”
First Glance: My mind is in a FameGleeFameGleeFameGlee frenzy right now. The Sing-Off will always try to cast some young group as “the real-life Glee,” but oh man, these art school kids might just have it. And they’ve got an award-winning female vocal percussionist!
Let the music speak: I watched all 12 minutes.
Self-described: “Original. Imaginative. Ridiculous. Origimagidiculous.”
First Glance: These guys knew a good thing when they saw it: The five already-slick and well-balanced guys of Voice Play realized they needed a stellar female voice and added Honey LaRochelle (which is a human, not, like, a fancy lotion).
Let the music speak: The only video of the newly updated group dynamic shows major potential on “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk.
The Sing-Off premieres December 9th at 9 p.m. ET. I know who I think could take it all the way – do you?