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LAST year, in the debut season of “The Sing-Off” on NBC, Ben Folds proved himself to be one of the better reality-competition judges television has seen: knowledgeable, engaging, constructive rather than cruel. But as the show, which features a cappella groups competing for a top prize that includes a recording contract, prepares for its second season, there is one part of the judicial experience that Mr. Folds is not looking forward to reliving: those early elimination rounds, when groups get the boot after having had only a brief moment of national-TV exposure.

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“I hate watching them walk off,” he said glumly. “I didn’t know about that part.”

Yet Mr. Folds, best known for his work in the alternative-rock group Ben Folds Five, will be back making those unkind cuts when Season 2 of “The Sing-Off” begins on Monday, as will the two other judges from Season 1, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls. Their work may be that much harder this time around: an NBC spokeswoman said the open auditions that produced this year’s 10 finalists drew about 400 groups, twice as many as last year. Though the finalists last year weren’t exactly shabby, a bigger initial field could mean an even higher quality of competitors.

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