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September 2, 2014

Ben Folds Five

'The Sing-Off''s Ben Folds: TV's Best New Judge

by Ryan McKee, posted Dec 15th 2009 12:00PM
A primetime NBC show about a cappella, a form of music usually reserved for street corners and Ivy League schools, seems as unlikely to succeed as Homer's barbershop quartet.

Nevertheless, if the only thing that comes from 'The Sing-Off' is America's increased familiarity with judge Ben Folds, then the show will still be an important cultural building block. Based solely on Monday night's premiere episode, the 43-year-old singer-songwriter is TV's best new celebrity judge. Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger do their best impressions of Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, but Folds is Cowell's polar opposite. His criticism is insightful, not harsh, and delivered with wit and Southern charm.

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Ben Folds' indie cred disappears on The Sing-Off

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 15th 2009 11:26AM
Ben Folds judges NBC's The Sing-OffIt's always disheartening when you see musical heroes of your teens and twenties face the reality of the current state of the music biz, because the results are never pretty. Sting songs become credit card commercials. Prince goes on American Idol. Billy Corgan dates Jessica Simpson. Before you know it, you find yourself rocking out to "No New Tale to Tell" by Love and Rockets as it plays in the produce section of the ShopRite, wondering what happened to your youth.

This is how I felt when I saw Ben Folds at the judges' table in NBC's The Sing-Off last night. Ben Folds Five's first two albums were among my favorites of the mid-'90s; they combined piano power pop with a snarky edge to make very funny, singable music. I played those CDs over and over again. So what was he doing judging these a cappella show choirs, looking like a shorter version of Rainn Wilson?

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