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The Sing Off Season 5

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Wow--if they are doing auditions through early October, that means they'll be filming in November, unless they do a fully live show, or maybe film a week in advance. I'm concerned about the timing for the school groups.

Edited by Sharpie66

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In the website, they say singers can have backing track or musical instruments... does this mean the new Sing Off won't be strictly come a cappella?

I read through the comments on Deke's FB post and someone asked him this same question. His reply: "We'll see -- the key is great harmony, and until casting is done it's not clear what else that might include".

 

I would hope that it is a cappella for aired episodes and that instruments/backing tracks are used just for auditions and weeding groups out. Of course, there was some controversy, in S3 I think, regarding Sonos (renamed to ARORA) and their use of looping and octave pedals.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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I was just thinking about these auditions while driving home (listening to PTX Vol 2), and a few things occurred to me. First, the timing on the auditions is such that, if they start filming a seven-episode season to be broadcast in mid to late December a month after auditions, they could be wrapping up filming a week before the last eps are broadcast, thus allowing for a live finale, complete with audience voting on the winner. Which, a big Yay!! if true!

Second, if they are keeping TSO as a capella only (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease), maybe they're letting groups use backing vocals and instruments so they can use these auditions for groups who might want to go to The Voice if they don't make The Sing-Off? It is the same production group, and it would an efficient way of hearing some new talent for that other show as well.

Edited by Sharpie66
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I read through the comments on Deke's FB post and someone asked him this same question. His reply: "We'll see -- the key is great harmony, and until casting is done it's not clear what else that might include".

 

I would hope that it is a cappella for aired episodes and that instruments/backing tracks are used just for auditions and weeding groups out. Of course, there was some controversy, in S3 I think, regarding Sonos (renamed to ARORA) and their use of looping and octave pedals.

I think they've made themselves clear though with this statement on the casting page:

 

All new and seeking musical groups of all styles,

To me that's a pretty straight-line statement that this isn't an acapella comp anymore, simply a "singing group" competition.

 

I think they got it back based on the premise that there's a market gap.  The Voice allows duos, but not groups. Idol and the other shows only soloists.  They see a market gap, but don't want to limit it anymore to acapella, because aside from PTX they aren't seeing the results they want mediawise.  They want this to be the group version of The Voice, basically.

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Acatribe.com has a Sept. 21 posting about The Sing-Off and the use of (non-human voice) instruments here.

 

In the Acatribe post, there is a link to the CASA Facebook group page. Scroll down to the Sept. 9 post from Darren Chic (i.e., Deke Sharon) and expand the comments left on it to peruse them. There are more questions and replies/answers regarding this Sing-Off iteration.

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More S5 clarity (disappointment?) from Deke Sharon being interviewed by Evan Feist.

 

In my 9/25 post above, one of the Sept. 9 Sing-Off comments on the CASA FB group page was from someone trying to put together an all-beatboxing (but still good singers) group to audition. Will Sony Music allow a 100% a cappella group to advance to "compete" on TV, let alone to win?

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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So they're basically saying either that they don't think they can find another 100% a cappella group as good as Pentatonix or that they think there's a lot of talent out there that isn't accommodated by other competitions and they want to pull them in, possibly enhancing ratings in the process.

 

Or both.

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About a half-hour ago US ET, Ben Folds posted on his FB page (and tweeted) that due to scheduling conflicts he won't be part of S5.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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Oh, no! That's so sad. I'm worried about what it will do to the show, because he was such a big part of it.

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Something makes me feel that Ben might object to the changes in the show, but doesn't want to overtly say it.  This may be a parting of the ways that was likely necessary from both ends and the "scheduling conflicts" is just an excuse/cover.

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Something makes me feel that Ben might object to the changes in the show, but doesn't want to overtly say it.  This may be a parting of the ways that was likely necessary from both ends and the "scheduling conflicts" is just an excuse/cover.

 

Right. Because I would think that the show would be a priority for him.

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Right. Because I would think that the show would be a priority for him.

Enough so that he's made time for it 4 times before.  But likely whatever other "thing" is supposedly in the way may not even exist (or could have been scheduled after the fact to cover).

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Taping begins Monday, Nov. 24.

Do we think they get PTX to come back as guest performers again (the timing is great, because they just released two EPs and also aren't on tour), or does the change in direction of the show, as well as another winner sandwiched between them and the current season, make us think no?

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Do we think they get PTX to come back as guest performers again (the timing is great, because they just released two EPs and also aren't on tour), or does the change in direction of the show, as well as another winner sandwiched between them and the current season, make us think no?

I could swear I read somewhere that S5 would just be a 2-hour special...but it was probably a rumor. If this season will have multiple episodes maybe they could have PTX back on (as well as Home Free). But if they're going to do that, might it also be worthwhile to have guest performances from Nota and Committed, too? And if not individual performances from each one, maybe a big group sing of a Christmas song?

 

On a different note, care to speculate as to how many 100% a cappella groups will be on? I'm thinking a minimum of two groups make it past auditions, as having just one group "competing" may smack of tokenism. I've read a few blog pieces and FB posts/comments over the last few months where certain a cappella cognoscenti are hopeful that the show retains some ties to its beginnings.

 

I'm also curious about the number of groups competing--8, 10?

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I really hope that at least a few a capella groups end up on the show. The timing is such that, if they do have 10 groups competing with one eliminated every episode, then they can have a live finale during Christmas week, which would at least bring back the possibilty of having the audience voting who actually wins this year. That was something I really missed last year, although, TBH, I would have voted for Home Free.

 

If they do end up only have one or maybe two token a capella groups, I doubt very much that they'll bring back any of the former champs. I remember one article (maybe in Entertainment Weekly?) from last season that thought that Pentatonix might have been slumming a bit when they came back on the show, since they really don't need the exposure at this point. But, if they do come back, it would be nice to see all four former champs doing some Christmas music. IIRC, I think that Home Free is also releasing a Christmas album, so it would be a good promotional appearance for both their and PTX's holiday albums.

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Acatribe.com has a Sept. 21 posting about The Sing-Off and the use of (non-human voice) instruments here.

 

In the Acatribe post, there is a link to the CASA Facebook group page. Scroll down to the Sept. 9 post from Darren Chic (i.e., Deke Sharon) and expand the comments left on it to peruse them. There are more questions and replies/answers regarding this Sing-Off iteration.

This post by Dave Bernstein has some comments/feedback that I found interesting...because it parallels my own thoughts/preferences with what I consider "a cappella". Here's a better (i.e., less scrolling) link to the post and its comments than the one I originally provided.

 

I have no issue with a singer using a microphone or sound system/speaker & amp set-up. I have no issue with someone manning a sound board and adding effects like reverb or echo or boosting the volume on a bass part for emphasis. This is because the sound production is initiated by a real human. For S5 (and maybe beyond), I'm fine with groups that use simple instrumental accompaniment (say, one piano or one guitar). But however many groups "compete", I'd prefer if at least half of them can be considered 100% a cappella acts--according to my personal definition--but I won't complain to anyone but myself if this doesn't happen.

 

What will most likely irritate me is if the show never again has a winning group that is 100% a cappella--assuming it continues to air. If Sony Music (or whoever ponies up the prize money and recording contract) lets a cappella groups advance far but then decides they just aren't good enough to "win", season after season...grrr.

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Well, then...

 

'The Sing-Off' Return Will be a One-Night Special

 

Highlights/Lowlights:

  • A 2-hour special airing on Dec. 17
  • 6 groups "competing" for a $50,000 first-place prize
  • Nick Lachey to again host
  • "Judges" Shawn Stockman and Jewel will be joined by Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy)

 

Perhaps only Pulse-^v- (consisting of 5 beatboxers who can also all sing) will be the only a cappella group to be seen on the night. I had previously read somewhere (a tweet?) that the Vanderbilt Melodores were auditioning, too.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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Hee..."sucks" and "blows". Yes, I'm 12.

 

How do you think it will play out? Will the competition performances occur between special holiday performances? Or will both hours be devoted to competition, judge's commentary, and final decision (America votes or not--I'm thinking not)? Individual groups performing once and then heading into an Ultimate Sing-Off round? At best, not a whole lot of singing going on--what with commercials, chatty judges, Nick's pregnant pauses, and arrangements not lasting more than 2 minutes each.

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I think this explains why Ben Folds came up with that weak explanation for why he's not participating this year. If it's not a real competition, he may as well stay home and wash his hair, as they say.

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Per Deke Sharon...

 

Nov. 24 is the actual taping (and, apparently, only) day--which is being broken up into early and late sessions. The Dec. 17 two-hour special airs at 9:00PM US EST.

 

<small voice> When I initially clicked the link from his FB post, I thought it meant that there would not only be a 12/17 episode--but also one on 12/24. Then, my eyes and brain focused and I realized the date actually said 11/24.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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Do we think they get PTX to come back as guest performers again (the timing is great, because they just released two EPs and also aren't on tour), or does the change in direction of the show, as well as another winner sandwiched between them and the current season, make us think no?

I'm not able to verify it but, according to this tweet, PTX will be on the Dec. 17 special.

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I remember one article (maybe in Entertainment Weekly?) from last season that thought that Pentatonix might have been slumming a bit when they came back on the show, since they really don't need the exposure at this point.

Wow, I find that assumption all kinds of terrible. That's like judging Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood for doing an appearance on American Idol or Cristina Perri for returning to So You Think You Can Dance (which she did over the summer). Some people know how to be gracious and show appreciation for the competition show that brought them mainstream exposure and success. That doesn't mean they are slumming it!

Super bummed about most of the S5 news. No Ben, a move away from a cappella, only two nights on tv. I guess I should just be glad that the show is coming back in any form but it's still a bitter pill to swallow.

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The pill is even more bitter than you thought...S5 is only one 2-hr episode/special. The Sing-Off FB page has a banner picture that says "DEC 17 WEDNESDAY 9/8c NBC".

No Ben, a move away from a cappella, only two nights on tv.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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According to their FB page, the Vanderbilt Melodores will be seen and heard on S5. Here's a link to their YT channel. With only six competitors, perhaps they will be the only scholastic group involved.

 

ETA: Since it's the day before Thanksgiving, I have nothing to do except lurk on FB and YT. The Melodores FB page has a banner pic of what looks like all 6 S5 competitors. I think the quintet on the far left is The Exchange. I believe most if not all Exchange members have ties to past Sing-Off seasons--either in front of the camera or behind it. Outside of the Melodores and the Exchange, I don't recognize anyone else but there does look to be two all-female groups.

Edited by SrPab-PTV
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"From Los Angeles, several members of The Exchange battled against each other on different teams in season three but have now combined forces to bring their united voices to a new musical level."

 

Oooh, I wonder who is in this group from S3? Keeping my fingers crossed for a re-appearance by Michael O, since he moved to LA after graduating from Dartmouth.

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The Exchange's current line-up includes: Alfredo Austin, Christopher Diaz, Jamal Moore, Aaron Sperber, and Richard Steighner. In S3, Aaron and Jamal were on the Yellowjackets. Richard was part of Urban Method. Christopher produced, arranged, and coached. Alfredo recorded studio tracks for the theme music.

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Christopher Diaz was one of the hosts of the Mouth Off podcast! He's is really entertaining to listen to talk about a capella. Very cool that I will be able to listen to him sing, finally.

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I know so very little about the groups, except for The Exchange and the Melodores...

 

S5 Handicap SWAGs:

  • Timothy's Gift -> 6-1 [Looks like an all-female sextet. Someone always has to be eliminated first; cannon fodder?]
  • San Fran 6 -> 6-1 [Mixed/co-ed sextet. Very recently formed, so perhaps will have group blend issues; cannon fodder?]
  • Vanderbilt Melodores -> 3-1 [All-male group of 12. Going with the old saw that no scholastic group will be allowed to win; "It's an honor just to be nominated."]
  • Traces -> 3-1 [All-female quintet. Does Sony want an all-female group to win?]
  • a.squared -> 2-1
  • The Exchange -> 2-1 [All-male quintet; not 100% a cappella. Experienced pro/semi-pro group who should have a clue how The Sing-Off actually works.]
Edited by SrPab-PTV
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Looks like the competitors got smart--except for the Vanderbilt group, everyone has either 5 or 6 members, just like every previous winning group.

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When Nick Lachey was introducing Pentatonix for the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, he said that they are definitely all a capella this year, with nary an instrument to be found. So my fears, at least, have been proven to be unfounded that they would just drop the entire a capella thing in favor of adding elements.

 

I still think, sadly, that this is the final year for The Sing-Off, though. NBC has done a great job of killing it off slowly, inch by inch.

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I'm (pessimistic is the word I want to say but won't) doubtful that all the performances by the competing groups will be strictly a cappella--save for microphones, speakers, and a sound board--you know what I mean. I say this because it seems unlikely that a group such as a.squared will perform without using a drum pad or effects pedal. Not that the guys of a.squared can't unleash a 100% a cappella performance--I just don't think they will.

 

I don't know...if every group gets to perform twice, perhaps one will be all a cappella and the other may have simple accompaniment?

 

On another note, I want to be optimistic that Sony and NBC have good awareness of Pentatonix's efforts/achievements and, of course, Pitch Perfect 2 hopefully doing really well commercially. I'd also hope that they don't think PTX is a flash-in-the-pan and will disappear next year (unless they break up...crosses fingers, toes and eyes to avoid a jinx). I don't know all the subtleties and nuances about it, but contemporary a cappella in the U.S., at the college and high school levels, seems to be moving forward and making nice strides. Having a show like The Sing-Off is a good thing. But I also understand that middling ratings/less ad $$ and, from their POV, no other supergroup to hype is not what they want.

Edited by SrPab-PTV

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I still think, sadly, that this is the final year for The Sing-Off, though. NBC has done a great job of killing it off slowly, inch by inch.

I wouldn't assume that.  The network need Holiday programming.  Sure it's not getting great ratings, but very little the networks would put in that spot would.

 

I imagine the prize is getting scaled down.  I bet it's not a recording contract this time around--it's probably just a lump sum of cash.

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  • Timothy's Gift - "Ghost" [perhaps they're not cannon fodder after all]

 

I liked it up until around the last 30 seconds, where I think it fell apart.  It seems more of an arrangement problem than a vocal one though, since they're just awkwardly all singing over each other rather than blending (the one big vocal mistake being the one who does that horribly shrill "hey-yay" note at 1:12 that starts that last sequence off).

Edited by Kromm

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I bet Sonos--sorry, ARORA--is pissed off, because it sounds like a.squared is being allowed to use all the electronic stuff that they couldn't back in Season 3.

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Hee...I lurk on CASA's FB group page and I've come across half-snippy/half-joking comments regarding live looping/Ableton, effects pedals, etc--and commenters wondering aloud why ARORA couldn't "audition" again (especially since their name change).

 

I can just imagine certain social media sites (like TSO's FB page) blowing up with drive-by postings from some people who are adamant that what a.squared does is not a cappella. I don't have strong feelings about it one way or the other--if for no other reason than the sound production was initiated by a real human in real time.

Edited by SrPab-PTV
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I was just reading through one of the FB posts re: PTX and a capella marketing overall that SrPab-PTV posted in the Small Talk thread (thanks for that--realllly fascinating stuff that I am still wading through!! Great to see all the names participating in the discussion--Bill Hare, Deke Sharon, and at least one of the guys from Home Free giving lots of insight into the process of becoming a successful, or not, a capella band), and Deke Sharon verified that there is not going to be any record deal offered to the winners of this season.

Edited by Sharpie66

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Christopher Steven = Chris Rupp and Timothy Regan = Tim Foust...both of Home Free.

 

Yeah, one big eye-opener for me was the revelation that Epic Records (one of Sony's three flagship labels) didn't want to have anything to do with any Sing-Off winner. I get the sense that they left Nota and Committed to wither on the vine. They did the same to PTX but PTX and their management didn't let that stop them. That's not to say that neither Nota nor Committed weren't willing to put in the work without label support--PTX had a bigger wave to surf on.

 

Also, I got the sense that Columbia (Home Free's label--unless something's changed recently) may not be paying much attention to them--what with their dozens of "blue-chip" artists and/or still thinking a cappella is gimmicky and not real music.

 

Could what a.squared does be considered "radio-friendly"? The Exchange kinda-sorta has a similar sound/vibe to PTX. Would Sony deem that an advantage and, uh, hope for them to win--or not?

Edited by SrPab-PTV
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From what Chris Rupp said, it definitely sounds like Home Free is staking their path along the same one as PTX did and just hope to get a taste of their success.

 

it would be nice if some record exec was watching TSO on 12/17 and gives a group or two a call the next day to sign them up, but I'm guessing that ain't gonna happen. On the FB posts, someone pointed out that record execs are still locked into traditional ideas of marketing and getting the music out, and they can't pinpoint a capella into a specific format (adult contemporary, rock, R&B, country, jazz, etc.). It'll be interesting if one of the six groups blocks themselves out a specific sound, but it would be really hard for them to do so with the probably 2-3 songs that they'll be performing in that two-hour timespan.

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...On the FB posts, someone pointed out that record execs are still locked into traditional ideas of marketing and getting the music out, and they can't pinpoint a capella into a specific format (adult contemporary, rock, R&B, country, jazz, etc.).

I miss the days when radio wasn't so niche orientated, and you never knew what style of song would be played next. The music industry is smothering/dismissing many talented people because they don't fit the industry's stupid programming formats. Whatever happened to eclectic programming? People need to be exposed to diversity and talent. I wish pure talent, like these acapella groups have, would get more respect and breaks.

Edited by Casual Viewing

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I enjoyed the show tonight, although I was a bit surprised about the winner. Very much enjoyed the other two finalists. Aw heck, who am I kidding! I loved the show! I wish we got more than two hours...

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