Reality television is an abomination. Seriously. It has single-handedly lowered the standard of watchable TV and dumbed-downed the masses in our society like nothing before it. Needless to say, I watch none of it. I am strongly opposed to ALL reality television shows SAVE ONE: is the one and only piece of reality TV worth a damn.
For those of you in the dark, The Sing-Off is a singing competition in which various groups perform a cappella for 3 judges – Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Sara Bareilles – and a live audience. One group is nicked from the competition each week until one final winner remains. The winner gets some abundant sum of cash and a record deal. Unlike American Idol, the judges decide who leaves each week, making this a real competition and not merely a popularity contest. I stopped watching AI years ago because it became little more than a contest ruled by the whims of America’s 11 year-olds, as opposed to the contestants’ actual talent. The Sing-Off involves more than just singing. Each week, each group chooses the song they’ll sing, the arrangement of said song, their choreography and, true to a cappella, not a single instrument is used during any performance. Their voices are their only instruments, effectively keeping this show a competition in which genuine talent reigns.
Making it even better, the judges usually have valuable things to say. I have yet to hear a Sara Bareilles song that I like, but after watching her as a judge this season, I really do like her. She’s charming and funny and seems truly smart, a refreshing change from the abstract meanderings of Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger (I haven’t watched American Idol in years, so I can say nothing of Ellen or J. Lo.). Ben Folds is genius (and adorable) and, being the long-time Boyz II Men fan that I have been since I was 11 or so, Shawn Stockman is near and dear to my heart.
The real reason to watch, however, is the music. A cappella is an art within an art and these insanely talented groups bring the house down week after week. All the groups are good. Really good. Most are great. Nearly all have a mediocre performance here or there and nearly all give an exceptionally outstanding performance here and there. What makes the winner is consistency. Which group consistently nails their performances, one after another.
This season, my prediction (and sincere hope) is that Pentatonix, who blows my mind every fucking week, will win it all. Here’s why.
Go ahead. Tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.