In addition to releasing a new promo, NBC has announced the competing groups for the upcoming fourth season of The Sing-Off. I admitted recently that I’ve begun to get more than a bit tired of singing competitions, but I make an exception for The Sing-Off, which is a much shorter format, airs during the holiday season and stands out from the rest not so much in the structure of its competition, but in its focus on a cappella music. As host Nick Lachey will remind viewers repeatedly, that means the only instruments these competitors are allowed to use are their voices. And if past seasons are any indication, there are a lot of talented vocalists out there. Brought together in the right way and an overplayed pop song can sound brand new again.
The Sing-Off’s grand prize for the winning group is $100,000 and a Sony Music recording contract.This is the fourth season of the singing competition. Nick Lachey will return to host, while Jewel joins the judges table, along with returners Ben Folds (of Ben Folds Five) and Shawn Stockman (of Boyz II Men). This season’s competition will start out with ten a cappella singing groups (see gallery below for photos). They are as follows:
ACOUSTIKATS (Lexington, KY): This collegiate group has been serenading sorority girls all over the University of Kentucky campus, but now it’s their time to make it on the big stage. With their southern charm they hope to win over America’s hearts.
CALLE SOL (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico): From the island of Puerto Rico, this group of six professional musicians has only been together for a few short months. Their Latin style is sure to bring a flare to the competition.
ELEMENT (New York City): This all-female group brings a New York attitude to the stage. They all work day jobs and pursue their showbiz dreams in the concrete jungle during their time off. These powerful female voices hope to bring a buzz to the a cappella world.
THE FILHARMONIC (Los Angeles): This locally based group is made up of male Filipino singers. Their knack for ’90s R&B, mixed with their Filipino culture, is sure to bring a new twist to the music of the past.
HOME FREE (Minneapolis): This all-male group has already been on the road touring the country and the transcontinental journeys have made them all very close. Their years of performance experience add to their refreshing country sound.
THE PRINCETON FOOTNOTES (Princeton, N.J.): A 50-year-old tradition is holding strong with this Ivy League group — classically trained, perfectly polished and technically great. Although they stick to tradition, they also like to mix a modern flair.
STREET CORNER RENAISSANCE (Los Angeles): This soulful group put aside their dreams of becoming musicians to raise their families. Now it’s time to shine. Their roots are in doo-wop and they strive to pay homage to this classic sound.
TEN (Dallas): Many of these eclectic artists have experienced traveling with professionals in well-known bands. Their group leader brought them together. The gospel influence and impressive backgrounds produce a perfected sound.
VOCAL RUSH (Oakland, CA): The youngest group in the competition is a force to be reckoned with. They have won the high school a cappella groups’ international championship two years in a row. Their pop and R&B influence are sure to put a spin on modern chart-topping hits.
VOICEPLAY (Orlando, FL): These three best friends have been together since high school and expanded their group to six, added the influence of a female voice. They toured the U.S. and ended up back in Orlando performing before auditioning for “The Sing-Off.” This pop-inspired group blends the male and female voices perfectly.
NBC says the songs featured in Season 4 of The Sing-Off will be made available on iTunes the day after each telecast. Season 4 of The Sing-Off debuts Monday, December 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET on NBC.