As Nick Lachey welcomed us back to The Sing-Off season two, I wondered if the admission that I love this TV show should be labeled as a guilty pleasure or just a pleasure. After all, they’ve got (the always hip, the always relevant) Ben Folds on board. I would go so far as to say I like this more than American Idol.

jerry lawson and talk of the town sing off

The opening number for all ten groups had them performing “I’ve Got the Music in Me.” This was a  nice big group moment where we could imagine all the groups were truly happy for each other and would not soon want to be putting Nair in each others shampoo bottles. (When will we ever have a reality TV show that’s not a competition?)

Eleventh Hour: They are still in high school, and the youngest group in The Sing Off. The intro video showed how it’s a group of kids who might never have talked to each other if not for their interest in acapella singing. The group has a jock, a homecoming queen, an honor role student… you get the picture. I’ll give them major points for relating themselves to The Breakfast Club rather than the more obvious reference of Glee. They performed “Baby” (Justin Bieber.)

Ben Folds said it sounded like there were more people on stage than their actually were. Nicole Scherzinger said, “So, we have the real life Glee here. That’s pretty cool.” Scherzinger spent most of her judging talking about how cool everything was, and only put some praise forth for the main girl. This isn’t to say she didn’t love it, as the judges never get a long time to talk. But I would rather have Nicole giving input than talking like she’s trying to defend the show already. Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) said they were wonderful to be so focused at such a young age. Has he never met ten-year-old pageant girls? I kid.

On the Rocks: They performed Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Their rendition had been uploaded to YouTube a while ago, so they’re kind of an Internet sensation already. I’m not entirely sure why, as they lacked the energy that would really get me interested.

Shawn said the guys made it “really interesting, and fun and fresh.” Ben said they were a little pitchy, but that their entertainment value saved them. For me though, it didn’t. I could hear they weren’t singing as well as the first group. And their hairography (yes, that’s a Glee reference, yes) doesn’t save their performance for me. Nicole gave a cheesy comment about having it on the rocks.

Groove for Thought: They have a distinct jazzy tone to their vocals. I’m on board for jazz, I just hope others are. They also have a Father and daughter in the group. They performed “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder.

Ben said it “grooved really nicely.” Nicole said they have their own swag, and that they have a warm, sweet sound. Shawn said it was a “solid” and “pleasurable” performance.

Nick Lachey gave a little blahblah about “I hope the judges make your wish come true.” Oh, Nick Lachey. You aren’t a funny dude. Just stand there and do what you do best…uh. Yea. So whatever that is, do it.

Pitch Slapped: They’re from Berklee and a little pretentious. However, they’re also very, very good. They performed Cobra Starship’ “Good Girls Gone Bad.” So far, this seems like the group to beat. (Edit: I was wrong.)

Nicole said there, “are some hot girls in this group.” Then she referenced The Pussycat Dolls. (Does she have an agenda for every time she speaks? You guys owe me ten bucks if she’s holding a bottle of acne cream next time.) Shawn and Ben said they didn’t have enough going on in the middle. They were tough on these guys.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town: They may be old dudes, but I l like them. They performed The Drifter’s “Save the Last Dance.”

Shawn said Jerry was an inspiration to everyone in the room, and he’s a living testimony that second chances to exist. I dunno guys, suddenly I wonder what it meant when Jerry said he “fell on hard times.” I Googled (like the cynic I am) to see if there was a scandal here, but there isn’t. Ben said he got chills, and that they have an unfair advantage because they own their genre.  He also put it out there that they should embrace a newer tune during the competition (presumably for variety, and to gain more appreciation from tweens.) Nicole said, “you just can’t buy class like that.”

I paid attention to Twitter at this point. There were people in the camp that said that they were sad Jerry Lawson even had to do this show. Other people said it was unfair because Lawson has already been famous and “is already somebody.” (You’re nobody until you’re famous, daaahlings!) My verdict? It might be a little unfair, but so is the group who is a hit on Youtube. In this case, it’s not just Lawson up for a win – but a new group. Also, yea, it is a little sad that the Godfather of acapella has to compete.

Jerry Lawson and The Talk of the Town and The Eleventh Hour were saved first.  Pitch Slapped was eliminated. Too bad! I wouldn’t have eliminated them. Their swan song was “Na na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

The Whiffenpoofs: Pretentious? Yes. “We (Yale) invented (acapella).” They performed Mika’s “Grace Kelly.” I got chills, but didn’t find them all that likable. Of course, this isn’t a personality competition.

Ben said it was a sassy performance, and that the ensemble was refreshing. Nicole called them Whiffenpoof (she said Whiffenpuff I think) penguins. But she said, “I thought it was brilliant.” Shawn took a dig at how they said they had invented acapella. Hell yea. “That was like a movie condensed in like two minutes,” he added, clearly a fan of the sound.

Men of Note: They go to malls and sing for them. Yea, that’s not skeezy at all. They actually follow girls around the mall doing this.
Again, how is that not creepy? However, they don’t seem creepy when they talk to the camera. They performed Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time.” This is a crowd pleaser, but undeniably an overdone song.

Nicole said there could have been a richer, warmer sound. Shawn said the performance felt stiff at first. Rounding out the judges opinions, Ben said the song was a bit rushed, and they just need to let it breathe.

Street Corner Symphony: They performed “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. They are so likable and fun.I loved them and I did not wake up today thinking I was going to fall in love with an acapella group tonight.

Ben was really impressed, saying he could just relax and listen. Shawn called them “Southern cats.” Nicole said she couldn’t believe there were only 6 people, and she praised the lead singer.

The Backbeats: Their group has two people from rival groups who were both on The Sing-Off season 1.  Whaaat, is that legal? Like the cast of Road Rules, the group went down to the beach in a van to bond. They Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy.”

Nicole said, “this is really a competition now. I think ya’ll just set the bar.” Ben said it was moving, and liked the song choice. Shawn had a lot of praise for the girl who took the lead here.

Committed: They’re religious and that’s their whole vibe. But is it wrong that I think it’d be funny if they performed in straight jackets? Instead, they wore red cardigans and sang Maroon 5’s “This Love.” Their vocals were smooth and upbeat at the same time.

Shawn had an extreme reaction, loving the “pure, raw, unadulterated talent.” He said to Terry, “Your voice is so butter! It’s so aw- man!” Nicole said Shawn was having a musical orgasm, and she said she loved the name of their group and what it stands for. Ben said, “This is what I’ve been waiting for on the show.”

For the next elimination, we said goodbye to Men of Note. Their swan song was Rhianna’s “Take a Bow.”

Ten groups are now eight. Next time the groups will tackle current big hits. I’m excited to watch more of The Sing Off, so come back in 2 days and compare notes with me as we go on this awesome journey of singing (while Nicole Scherzinger alludes to “musical orgasms” and “musical climaxes” the whole way through.)

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