HomeBlogsMister Tim's blogThe Biggest Mistakes of Season 2 of The Sing-Off

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Mistake 1:

Sending Pitch Slapped home first.  They were one of the most dynamic groups on the show, and had better voice talent singer-for-singer than any other group on the show. 

Mistake 2:

Putting all singers on the same mic capsules.  You’re using all Shure mics (sponsorship?), you can’t throw in a beta58 for the vp? 

Mistake 3:

Still forcing groups to do cornball show choir choreography.  For the big multi-group numbers I’m not sure I mind it, it was kind of fun… but they weren’t really singing live during those, were they? 

For some groups, big choreography is part of their identity: On the Rocks, BackBeats.  I’m fine with that.  Other groups (the high school groups especially) it’s not really part of who they are, and the over-the-top choreography compromised their sound, and they weren’t good enough at the choreography for it to compensate for the loss of sound quality.

Of the four finalists, three did not do ICCA-worthy cheeseography.  Coincidence?

Besides, the camera movement rarely let us see the choreography, anyway.  It might have been nice live, but the home audience can’t see all the fancy moves, so what’s the point?

Mistake 4:

Casting high school groups (I’m including Men of Note as a HS group).  Not that they were bad: both were excellent for hs groups, and Eleventh Hour in particular is mind-blowing for a high school ensemble.  But judging from their early exits, it seems I’m not the only one to think that they were simply out-classed.  With the level of talent available, there is no reason to include Jr.-level groups on the show.

I do believe the audience likes seeing kids compete on these kinds of shows.  Instead of folding them in with the big boys (n girls), why not a whole show of high school a cappella groups and show choirs?  You telling me that wouldn’t sell?  REAL LIFE GLEE that’s your pitch.  NBC call me we will make a moneys.

Best performance of the competition:

Backbeats – Landslide

Only legit musical performance of the season.  Beautiful.

Biggest disappointment of the show overall:

We still have not seen a legit beatboxer on the show (either season).  Jon McClemore is the closest: loved his beats; Courtney Jensen is good, but not amazing yet.  That one guy from On the Rocks had a sicknasty snare sound, but beyond that was a typical college drummer.

Realities that no one is talking about:

Committed was consistently the weakest group, vocally, other than Men of Note.  Soloists were average, and their blend, tuning, and rhythmic accuracy were sketchy.  They had a decent stage package, like NOTA last year, but they don't have star-quality vocal talent.

Comments

Committed

We must've been listening on very different sound systems or something.  Committed's blend and tuning were shockingly good-- particuarly in the second episode, with that stunning turnaround in the second verse of "Apologize"-- to the point where my wife and I suspected Auto-Tuning.

Such negativity

Just wondering Mr. Tim - was there any part of The Sing Off that earned your esteemed approval.  You seem to have dissed pretty much all of it.  Some of your points are valid, but mostly it appears you just like to complain. Mistake 1 - Disagree.  Not sure how you can make this point based on their one performance.  They are all extremely talented, but that first song sure didn't prove it.  More screechy than harmonic IMHO.  Mistake 2 - wah.  all the poor little VP's were so neglected.  Mistake 3 - On this point we agree.  Mistake 4 - Agree and disagree.  You're right that Eleventh Hour is mind-blowing.  Their "early exit" only proved that the other groups were better, not that they shouldn't have been there.  Besides, they outlasted Pitch Slapped because they gave a better performance on the first show.  But we already know how you feel about that.  Best Performance - disagree.  I can think of quite a few that I think were better; but you're entitled to your opinion.  Biggest disappointment - maybe if they used a looping pedal and lots of effects like you do, you might have liked them better.  I think you left the best VP on the show out of your comments anyway.   That kid from Eleventh Hour was amazing. Realities - disagree.  I think Warren's reply before mine is an adequate response.

Maybe if you get some help with your anger issues, you'll like next year's show better.

Hi, acapellafeller!  I'm glad

Hi, acapellafeller!  I'm glad that you registered here at CASA so you could join this discussion.

You seem a little upset: I'm not sure why you've reacted so strongly to my blog.  These are of course my opinions, and I'm not demanding that you agree with me.  I quite enjoyed the show, but didn't think it was perfect, and as there has already been copious amounts of coverage of the positive aspects of the show, I thought I would not waste my (or your) time by rehashing.  Thought I'd bring some other thoughts into the discussion.

I think you have over-reacted to what I wrote.  I'm not angry with anyone.  If there are, in fact, anger issues, maybe you have misjudged where they are coming from? 

Making the case for winning group:COMMITTED

Hmmmm....It's always interesting to read the comments of those who purport themselves to be "experts" in the field. Recognizing that we all have bias',I'm sometimes amused at those who protest the loudest.

Let's REASONABLY assess WHY COMMITTED won. It WASN'T because of "weak vocals" or some of the other things those who didn't like COMMITTED accused them of having or NOT having....They won because they did the hard work and 3 seperate entities who judged them agreed.....Let's face it.....it was a combination of several things that got the the votes: Superior arranging,flawless execution of a convergence of elements.....Complex Chords,mixed with tight harmonies and a crowd pleasing stage presence that effectively used the likeability factor.

When I listen to Acappella music,I listen for the DIFFERENCE....NOT the SAMENESS in the music. Most of the other groups (with the notable exception of GROOVE FOR THOUGHT) suffered from the SAMENESS SYNDROME,by that I mean there was considerable LACK of imagination in the arranging and by extention the performance and excecution of the material. Hi Energy & choreography are NOT the hallmarks of GOOD Acappella Music. Uniqueness and putting your own "Signature" on a piece of music ARE ! Any group can use a slight variation on 4 part harmony and pass it off as Acappella music.....It (in MY opinion) is only when an arranger RE imagines a song and chooses a DIFFERENT pathway to give it FLAVOR & TASTE that Acappella music TRULY rises to the Ultimate artform it is meant to be.

I'll try NOT to hold this AGAINST you,but judging from your picture.....You are YOUNG yet.....when you've "matured" and been around the genre as long as I have.....and you "grow" in musical sophistication....You'll have an " Ahah,I GET IT" moment,THEN you'll begin to appreciate groups like COMMITTED....who came out of the tradition of groups like "The Singers Unlimited" etc.etc.

By the way,perhaps COMMITTED had a bit of an 'unfair' advantage.....afterall,they came out of the same 'laboratory' (Oakwood University)that gave us  TAKE 6, who are generally considered THE GOLD STANDARD in Acappella circles,and have won more GRAMMYS than any other group (10) in history ! Obviously.....TAKE 6 SET the Template......COMMITTED followed it,and hence.....they WON.....You don't have to LIKE it,or even agree with it......but those ARE the FACTS!!!!  

No anger issues here

No, not upset - just mildly annoyed.  Neither am I opposed to constructive criticism; but a balanced critique requires a little - well... balance.  Agree that there has been much positive coverage about The Sing Off.  Your post did not include any indication that you shared any of those sentiments.  Nor did you make suggestions on how the show could be made better.  You characterized your observations as the show's "Mistakes."  Yes, they were just your opinions; but some of your opinions (in my opinion) pretty much trashed the hard work of a lot of people - especially the competing groups.  Case in point - "Only legit musical performance of the season..."  A little harsh, don't you think?

As for anger issues - if you wish to change that perception, it might help to put up a new picture.  You don't look like a happy guy.

Our own harshest critic

I'll preface my comment with the statement that I very much enjoyed The Sing Off this year.  I watched it with my aca-obsessed friends and was very proud of the friends I know who worked very hard to make the show a huge success.

But, I also agree with Mister Tim on most points he made.  There are always things to improve and mistakes to learn from.  And if we want this show to have a 3rd, 4th and 5th season (I do), then the show has to be ready to up its game every year...or it will become just as tired as all of the other reality shows.

Anyone out there performing a cappella has a lot to gain from the popularity of this show.  I didn't show up for a single gig in December where someone in the audience didn't mention the show.  So keep the suggestions and comments and constructive criticism coming....it will only strengthen something that is introducing millions of new fans to our beloved art form.

Our comments are pointless

Hi Amanda,

I would like to think that you're right about our comments and criticisms helping to improve this show.  However, the reality is the show's producers don't really care what you or I think.  They don't care about the state of a cappella music or whether they introduce millions of people to our art form.  Since all but a few of those new millions know nothing about a cappella, they don't care about the finer points of a cappella either.  They only care about ratings and making money.  And since they're Hollywood producers, and we are not, they're probably better at figuring out how to do that than we are.  99% of the people watching don't know anything about blend, timing, dynamics, or any of those things that are important to us.  But they like the pretty people, the colorful costumes and the cute dance steps. That's what sells commercial time.  So, they could do it our way and a cappella could remain an obscure genre that appeals mainly to a limited number of choir geeks; or we can let them do it their way and get 10 million people to watch.  I think it's fine that we entertain ourselves by critiqueing the show, but we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking it makes a damn bit of difference.  Go to any youtube video or blog about the first season and read the comments.  If you think the comments by we a cappella afficianados mattered, do you think Nicole S. or Nick L. would have been back for a second season? 

Some are listening

Our comments do matter and they are listening.  Check out the Forum topic on this same conversation.

Yes, NBC is looking to please the millions, so it is always going to have the TV element and will not be geared solely at pleasing our small community.  Christopher Diaz (on Mouth Off) hit the 2011 prediction square on the head when he said that we are going to need to learn to share our art with normal people this year.  But sharing doesn't mean what we stop pushing ourselves to make a cappella better and criticism is part of that.

Sony did a lot of things right in hiring several a cappella professionals to produce the show.  CASA's very own founder is one of the producers.  2 of the most lauded  engineers in the CARAs are working on the sound.  One of the arrangers came straight out of the SoCal VoCals.  The Director of Varsity Vocals sat in on my group's audition in Nashville. These people might not get all the say, but they are working hard to make sure this show maintains as much element of the true style of a cappella as possible.  They are here reading and participating everyday and finding that perfect balance that will make this show better than all of the other singing competitions out there.  Sony/NBC didn't create that sense of joy and community all on their own.  That sense of pure love of the art form and friendly competition that people enjoyed watching was directly inspired by Deke Sharon.  I guarantee it.

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