Tuned In

Sing-Off Watch: Nota Bene

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Still on vacation, but since I’ve committed an inordinate amount of blogging to it already, a couple last thoughts on The Sing-Off coming up after the jump:

I’m happy and not a little surprised that Nota, the doo-wop-meets-hip-hop group from Puerto Rico, walked off with the $100,000 first prize in The Sing-Off. I hadn’t thought they would actually beat the crowd-pleasing Beelzebubs in a popular vote, but maybe the strength of their singing beat out the Bubs’ showmanship. In any case, while I wouldn’t have begrudged the Bubs a win, it’s a little easier to imagine Nota making a competitive album with that recording deal. (One problem with the show, frankly, is that even though the groups are all a cappella, they’re so varied—small group vs. large group, barbershop, etc.—that any comparison is a bit apples-and-oranges.)

The real highlight of the show for me, however, was getting the chance to see Ben Folds rock the suburbs. Now, on the one hand, simply his getting a chance to play was enough for me: I mean, if you had asked me at the beginning o the decade what the odds were that I would see Ben Folds climb on a piano and sing on broadcast network TV, I would have put it at less than 10 percent. It was too bad, though, that his star wattage is evidently not great enough for him to be given more than a couple lines—much less to perform his own songs. (Although the arrangement did end up making War’s Why Can’t We Be Friends sound a lot like a Ben Folds song.)

But if my desire to see an a cappella rendition of Steven’s Last Night in Town was frustrated, thanks to the magic of YouTube we can all enjoy one: