The schedule and lineup of judges has been announced for the fourth season of NBC Television’s hit a cappella competition show The Sing-Off.
Ben Folds joins returning judge Shawn Stockman and new judge Jewel, who replaces Sara Bareilles. Nick Lachey continues as host.
The show will air as a holiday strip, similar to the first two seasons when it appeared over multiple nights for a short run in December. The third season was a weekly serial running across the first half of the season. Contestant auditions were held in four cities in April of this year.
The Grammy-nominated Jewel just finished starring as June Carter Cash in Lifetime Television’s biography Ring of Fire. She’s also released a greatest-hits album this year.
After initially not renewing the popular a cappella competition show, NBC Television has announced it has ordered a fourth season of The Sing-Off to run during the 2013 holiday season.
The show has announced casting calls this month and next in various places around the country.
Everybody’s curious, of course, as to who the judges will be, and naturally Ben Folds’ name comes up in that discussion. Ben says he hasn’t started negotiating with the show’s producers yet, but he expects that his people will be talking to their people in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
The five-song EP Once Upon Another Time from singer-songwriter and The Sing-Off judge Sara Bareilles hits stores, both physical and virtual, today. The project was produced by Ben Folds, whom Sara has known for a few years since she guested with Ben at a couple of his shows, but this is the first collaboration of the two. Rolling Stone has a preview along with a free download of the title song.
The fall season upfronts (the TV networks’ announcements to affiliates of their fall schedules) are complete, and notably missing is the breakout a cappella show The Sing-Off, which of course starred Ben Folds as one of the celebrity judges. NBC-TV has confirmed that The Sing-Off won’t be on the schedule, though it has renewed the vocal competition series The Voice to run in the fall on Mondays and Tuesdays, where it will benefit from promotion during the NFL season and avoid competition with Fox’s similar X Factor.
The cancellation has drawn out fans of the show who are trying to get a reconsideration of the decision, mainly through a Twitter account, @SavetheSingoff, and a #SavetheSingOff hashtag campaign. (Update: There is a website as well.) Ben hasn’t said much other than to acknowledge the Twitter effort and encourage fans to make their feelings known. At least one TV writer, Phil Gallo of Billboard Magazine, speculates that NBC could return The Sing-Off to its former post-Thanksgiving run, but no such announcement has been made.
The a cappella craze, inspired in large part by Ben’s embracing of the multitude of college a cappella groups covering his music, flourished a couple years ago, leading NBC-TV to schedule The Sing-Off as a pre-Christmas mini-series in the fall of 2009. Renewed in 2010 in the same format, it expanded in fall of 2011 into a half-year series. While the concept worked well over the short term, the half-season format didn’t attract the same viewership. Too much of a good thing, perhaps.
We’ve written about The Sing-Off throughout its run; check our archive for past articles.
The current a cappella craze has its roots in college groups and glee clubs, and The Sing-Off’s first season runner-up started it all, says Ben Folds.
Folds, one of the three judges on NBC’s vocal music competition show, credits the Tufts Beelzebubs, the devilish sixteen-man a cappella group from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., with starting the migration of vocal groups to the forefront of public consciousness.
A story in Boston’s BostInno quotes Folds, who gave the group high praises for their having brought the long-brewing vocal music genre to the people. The ‘Bubs have been in existence since the 1960s with a constantly changing cast as students enter and graduate the university. They’ve released several albums of their tight harmonies and crisp vocal percussion, and provided the voices of one of the fictional glee clubs on the television series Glee.