Tag Archives: The Sing-Off

New ‘Sing-Off’ Judge Sara Bareilles Admits to TV Nerves

Nick Lachey, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds

Pop songstress Sara Bareilles, who makes her debut as a judge on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” tonight (9/19), admits she felt a little scared about joining the show’s panel in place of Nicole Scherzinger. 

“I was nervous about going into unfamiliar territory.  I wasn’t really nervous about my contribution, in the sense that I’m such a fan of this genre,” explains the beauty who has sold more than a million records worldwide, including her bouncy No. 1 hit “Love Song.”  “I love shows like this.  I loved it the last two seasons.  But TV was very nerve-wracking to me.  It’s a different beast for me.  It’s been kind of trial by fire in that regard, but it’s been really great so far.  Now I’m at this point I’m like, ‘Well, I hope they like me’ — because I have no idea.” 

Bareilles has been having an extraordinary summer, flying back and forth between “Sing-Off” duty and concert dates on her own headling tour as well as touring with Sugarland.  (She had just completed her set when the tragic stage collapse that killed six at the Indiana State Fair occurred.) 

“This was the year I knew was going to be a workhorse year,” she says.  “My biggest struggle is no sleep right now.  But I’m really lucky in that sense — my voice will hang on.  Funny, it usually hangs on just until that last show of the tour, and then I’l get sick.  My body is like my good little team mate.  It hangs on until all the obligations are finished, most of the time.”

When she does get a break, Bareilles says, she’s not going anywhere.  “Honestly, we travel so much touring that when I get time off, I don’t want to leave my house.  I just want to sleep in and make coffee and watch ‘Golden Girls.'”

 MEANWHILE:  Tonight (9/19), NBC’s “Sing-Off” goes head-to-head against ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” — the Chaz Bono edition — and CBS comedies including the Ashton Kutcher version of “Two and a Half Men.”  (Not to mention the Giants Vs. Rams on ESPN.)  And if that isn’t challenging enough, next Monday night (9/26), they’ll be joined by Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur-infused “Terra Nova” time-travel action drama on Fox, plus the new season’s “Gossip Girl” on CW. 

Can “the little engine that could,” as “Sing-Off” host Nick Lachey calls it, hold its own among its mountainous rivals?  “Obviously, it’s a big night on television, and obviously we’re honored to be to be in the mix,” says Lachey.  “We feel great about the show we’re making.  And I’ve learned a long time ago to let the network people worry about all that other stuff.   I think all we can do as a crew, so to speak, is to make the best show we can, and then what comes, comes you know?”

 Judge Ben Folds notes that this season’s “Sing-Off” contestants are especially strong.  “I think with this season’s groups, what they have in common is they seem to have watched the show and decided that they could find an angle that would be unique for the show and unique for a cappella.  So what you’re seeing is a lot of people putting their minds to doing things that are off the beaten path — a lot of innovation.”

AND:  With Folds’ alt rock background and history of controversies involving free speech and explicit lyrics, a network television competition show isn’t where anyone would have expected to find him.  “It’s not something I ever saw myself doing,” Folds concedes.  “But one of the things I’ve found myself doing is a lot of master classes over the past five years.  I’ve always played a lot of the universities.  I’ve put a lot of time and effort into music education and music education charities — and this is sort of something I can leverage towards all those things.  Because, you know, you can’t shake your a– up on stage — not that that’s what I do — but, as a rock musician, you don’t want to think you’re going to be 70 years old and trying to act like you’re 25.”   

Folds, who has a quarter century to go before that could happen, has become “The Sing-Off’s” unofficial music professor, adding interesting bits and pieces of information to his critiques along the way.  “I think this show is very dignified for me in that I can take what I’ve learned and help out.  But I’m still in the middle of my other stuff,” he’s quick to add.  Folds, who has a string of concert dates ahead, including symphony orchestra gigs, has announced a reunion of his Ben Folds Five to record a new album in December.

Nick Lachey Revved Up for ‘Sing-Off,’ New Record…and Possible Reunion

Nick Lachey NBC photo

Nick Lachey was back in the recording studio for the first time in a long time last week, cutting the first song on what could be his first album in more than five years.  And that’s not even his primary gig. 

“I got back from my honeymoon and went right into production on ‘The Sing-Off,'” reports the affable singer-reality TV personality-host, who wed Vanessa Minnillo in July.

He notes, “We’re in the process of getting the new record going.  It’s certainly been a long time coming — too long.  It’ll be good to be back in the saddle as they say.” “The Sing-Off” is at the forefront of his mind, however.  Shooting of the season that launches Sept. 19 “is flying by.  It’s going great.  I think when you expand from five episodes to, all of a sudden, 11 episodes, you have the opportunity to try new things and introduce some new concepts into the show, which we’ve done.  We’re able to do more themed episodes, which people have always responded to.  We have a guilty pleasure episode — which is kind of like the songs everyone’s embarrassed to admit they really know and love. This year we brought a hip-hop episode in to the mix, and a country episode.  It’s fun to go into other genres of music and give some exposure there as well.  I think it’s been a great opportunity to sort of push the edge of the envelope for a cappella music.”

Also, he adds, “Doing 11 episodes will give people the chance to really get to know the groups better.  This season, with 16, it’s really the more the merrier.”

His new bride, he says, “pops in” to watch the tapings here and there.

MEANWHILE:  Considering the popularity of the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys joint reunion tour, how about a reunion of Lachey’s  former boy band, 98 Degrees?

 “We’ve talked about it,” he reveals.  “We’ve talked about possibly getting back together and doing that reunion thing, but I think it just has to be the right timing for everybody.   Everyone’s schedules are all in different places.  Everyone’s got families now.  It’s just such a different landscape than it used to be, so it’s not like the four of us can pile on a bus and roll across the country come what may.  But, that being said,” he adds, “I think we’d all welcome the chance to get back together and do it again sometime.”

Shawn Stockman Makes China Gig Between “The Sing-Off” Tapings in L.A.

Shawn Stockman NBC photo

All the “The Sing-Off” judges may all be coping with the demands of touring and other extracurricular activities, but Shawn Stockman certainly can claim the Traveled the Longest Distance title.

“After the last taping, I drove straight to the airport and flew to China,” reports the singer best known as a member of Boyz II Men.  The gig was “for a multi-cultural, multi-national environmental festival where people came in and talked about healthier living,” he says. 

It’s not the first time he’s peformed in that land.  “It’s interesting,” he says with a slight laugh.  “China is still a different lifestyle and culture from everyone else, pretty much, so when you’re there, you really get a taste of the type of people they are.  They respondided well, for Chinese.  You know, they’re groomed not to get overly-excited.  I was happy and honored they let us be a part of it for a couple of hours.”   

Stockman says he feels honored to be part of “The Sing-Off” as well. 

“The genre of a cappella music is long overdue for its credit as an art form — one of the only pure art forms left, because you can’t fake it.  You have nothing else to back yo.  When it’s done right, there’s nothing that sounds better.” 

If the show had been around when he was beginning his career, he would “absolutely” have tried out.  “I’d have auditioned in a heartbeat, me and my guys.  I would have loved to have been a part of something like this.”