After a two-year absence, NBC’s a cappella competition series The Sing-Off returns at 9/8PM CT tonight. No doubt the success of the movie Pitch Perfect helped in getting this show to return to a fourth season, and that’s fine by me. My weakness for a cappella is strong, and any show that features Ben Folds as a judge wins my loyalty. Plus, host Shawn Stockman usually brings around his Boyz II Men buds at some point, and I’m glad to see new host Jewel getting some attention. And it is always nice to give Nick Lachey some work in time for the holidays.
NBC using Pitch Perfect tie-ins in its promotions actually isn’t far off considering university a cappella groups often compete in the series. (Only two university groups are competing this year — The Princeton Footnotes and the University of Kentucky’s acoUstiKats.) My favorite group from season one, The Beelzebubs, hail from Tufts University, and they performed Flo-Rida’s “Right Round” years before Perfect’s Treblemakers.
The competing groups’ members are styled to all get-out, usually everyone has to perform in large group numbers, and often cheesy interview segments are interspersed throughout the show. But those are concessions worth making. The talent among the groups is undeniable, and most everything about The Sing-Off is simply fun. It is the opposite of The Sound of Music Live! — an enjoyable experience you won’t want to bleach from your brain. It is the perfect show for this time of year when everyone is ready for some lightheartedness.
New to The Sing-Off? Here’s a sampling of past performances, starting off with season three’s winners, Pentatonix:
And here are previews of this season. The all-female group Element is on the roster, but videos released by NBC are only for the male or mixed groups.
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.