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October 2, 2014

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Urban Method Inspires Ben Folds to Find His Inner Rapper on 'The Sing-Off' (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 18th 2011 2:00AM
'The Sing-Off' - 'Guilty Pleasures'It was Guilty Pleasures night on 'The Sing-Off' (Mon., 8PM ET on NBC) and Ben Folds certainly got into the spirit of the theme. While his professional work has never delved into hip-hop or rap, Urban Method's take on Bell Biv Devoe's 'Poison' inspired him to lay down some rhymes.

Maybe he was just excited that all ten remaining groups were finally together in the same week -- we know we were! Or it could be that Urban Method absolutely killed that performance, proving once again that a cappella can do anything, and sometimes the most unexpected directions bear the most exciting fruit.

One thing we did learn. While we applaud Folds for digging very deep and finding his inner MC, he should probably stick to singing. It seems to suit him better.

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Ben Folds Talks About 'The Sing-Off' and Harmonizes Hoda's Cue Card Notes (VIDEO)

by Alex Moaba, posted Sep 30th 2011 3:30PM
Ben Folds joined Hoda Kotb as the guest host on the fourth hour of 'Today' (9AM ET on NBC) where he talked about what sets 'The Sing-Off' apart from other reality music shows and demonstrated his harmonizing skills by singing an improvised jingle made up of the notes on Hoda's cue cards.

"I think this show is socially significant. Music education has been on the down, and filling the space has been kids singing at colleges. There are about 4-8 A capella groups at each university now," he said." As for the show's contestants, he explained, "they're not divas. This show isn't about egos, it's people working together."

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Nick Lachey Talks About the Inspirational Atmosphere of 'The Sing-Off' (VIDEO)

by Alex Moaba, posted Sep 19th 2011 4:20PM
NBC's A cappella talent competition 'The Sing-Off' returns for a new season tonight at 9PM ET. Host Nick Lachey made an appearance on 'Today' (9AM ET on NBC) to talk about the judging changes the show has made this season, and the inspiring musical atmosphere the show fosters. It's so contagious that Lachey has been working in the studio on a new project of his own.

'The Sing-Off' will have a new judges this year, as Sara Bareilles joins Ben Folds and rest of the crew. It will also have a longer season, as its moving to 16 episodes. Lachey said the new judges bring a wealth of energy, and experience, to a set that's already brimming with its own unique vibe. The show has struck such a nerve that not only is it creating A cappella groups as part of the competition, but singers are starting to form their own groups to compete for a spot in the competition.

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'Portlandia' Star Carrie Brownstein and Four Other Indie Rockers On TV

by Mike Moody, posted Jan 21st 2011 4:30PM
Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein, Fred ArmisenIt's hard not to envy Fred Armisen these days. He's one of the funniest people on 'Saturday Night Live,' he married Peggy from 'Mad Men' (for a while, anyway), and now he's writing and starring in one of the funniest new TV shows of the year, IFC's 'Portlandia.'

Here's another reason to be jealous of the guy: he shares the screen with the awesome Carrie Brownstein, guitarist for the influential Portland indie rock band Sleater-Kinney, in 'Portlandia,' a sketch show that targets organic food-obsessed couples and feminist bookstore owners in the "city where young people go to retire," premiering tonight on IFC.

Brownstein's casting got us thinking about the some of our favorite indie rockers* who have turned up on the tube in bit parts, cameos, reality show judge panels and, in one case, their own eponymously-named talk show. After the jump, watch a searing political rant, listen to some good tunes and to take a trip back to the '90s with our list of 5 Indie Rockers Who Made the Jump to TV.

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'The Sing-Off' Finale: And the Winner Is... (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 21st 2010 12:27AM
'The Sing-Off' Finale:  And the Winner Is...Well, it's that time already. It's the final countdown. After a mere two weeks, we've reached the finale of 'The Sing-Off' (Mon., 8PM ET on NBC). Heading into the finals, only four groups remained. All of them were battling it out for $100,000 and a recording contract. But who would make the cut?

First to be eliminated was Talk of the Town, led by 66-year-old Jerry Lawson, who has been singing a cappella for over forty years. The Backbeats -- the only group in the finals with any female singers -- were the next to go home.

This set up an all-male, all-Southern battle for grand prize. Two groups remained: Committed, from Huntsville, Alabama, and Street Corner Symphony, from Nashville, Tennessee.

And the winner of 'The Sing-Off' was ...

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'The Sing-Off': Heading Into the Finals, The Backbeats Win in a 'Landslide' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 16th 2010 6:05AM
'The Sing-Off': Heading Into the Finals, The Backbeats Win in a 'Landslide'Well, that was quick. Unlike so many other reality shows, 'The Sing-Off' (Wed., 8PM ET on NBC) doesn't drag things out. The series does its entire run -- from the premiere to the finale -- in a mere two weeks. But don't fret, it should be back next season; it's one of NBC's most popular shows in years.

Before we see if 'The Sing-Off' will return, we'll have to learn who the current finalists will be. Ten groups started the show; after tonight, three would be left. It's been an intense process ... but as they say, "Time makes you bolder" -- even a very short amount of time. And tonight, The Backbeats won in a 'Landslide,' while a fan favorite went home.

The Backbeats have the only female singers left in the contest, and vocalist Joanna Jones led them in an incredible version of Fleetwood Mac's 'Landslide.' The song won over the judges and the group finished at the top of the pack.

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'The Sing-Off': 'On the Rocks' Wants You to Pour Some Sugar on Them ... Yeah! (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 14th 2010 7:25AM
'The Sing-Off': 'On the Rocks' Wants You to Pour Some Sugar on Them ... Yeah!Step inside, let's walk this way. Hey, television lover! Baby, let's go all night. 'The Sing-Off' (Mon., 8PM ET on NBC) returned for its fourth episode, and the theme for the show's second round was this -- "Guilty Pleasures." Sweet.

The six remaining groups hit us with some very guilty pleasures indeed, including 'Love Shack' and -- yikes! -- 'I Want It That Way.' But cult favorites 'On the Rocks' continued with their winning ways, busting out an awe-inspiring version of Def Leppard's 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' -- complete with hilarious/"sexy" choreography.

And the best part? That wasn't even their "guilty pleasure" choice. It was their "hard rock" tune. Their actual guilty pleasure choice was ... a very bad 1980s song.

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'The Sing-Off': An Amazing Group Peformance of Kings of Leon's 'Use Somebody' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 9th 2010 4:18AM
'The Sing-Off':  An Amazing Group Peformance of Kings of Leon's 'Use Somebody'The fog machine! The slow fist-pumps in the air! The singers awkwardly resting their hands on each others' shoulders! All this could only mean one thing ... 'The Sing-Off' (Wed., 8PM ET on NBC) kicked off with a group performance tonight. All 71 singers took part in a choral rendition of 'Use Somebody' by Kings of Leon, singing these words: "You know that I could use somebody/ Someone like you."

It was an amazing opening performance. But despite the teamwork and camaraderie, it's still a contest. The stakes are high -- the groups are competing for $100,000 and a recording contract. By the end of the night, only 50 singers would be left, as two groups were sent home. Who would be cut?

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'The Sing-Off' Season Premiere: Viral Video Stars Do Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Dec 7th 2010 4:05AM
'The Sing-Off' Season Premiere: Viral Video Stars Do Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'The combination of amateur singers, famous songs and national TV could be a great concept. Or, it could be a terrible one. The premiere of 'The Sing-Off' (Mon., 8PM ET on NBC) left it up to the viewers to decide.

The reality show features ten amateur singing groups -- all competing for a recording contract and a $100,000 prize. Season Two started with a bang, of sorts. Viral video sensation 'On the Rocks' performed their rendition of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance.' If you're not familiar with this song, here are some of the lyrics:

Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-ah! Roma-roma-mamaa!
Ga-ga-ooh-la-la! Want your bad romance
.

Now, imagine those words filtered through the vocal stylings of a bunch of guys from the University of Oregon, and you should have a good idea of what 'The Sing-Off' is all about.

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'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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Even more Shatner: Bill to be in TV Land special

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 11th 2006 8:03PM
Willaim ShatnerJust came across this press release at The Futon Critic: William Shatner will be featured on another installment of Living In TV Land, a show that follows TV legends around as they conduct their life, with a lot of contrived dialogue and situations thrown in for good measure. We will see Bill as he puts on a concert with singer-songwriter Ben Folds -- the two collaborated on Shatner's last album Has Been -- and follow him to the Emmys, a Star Trek convention, and the set of Boston Legal. During the show, he'll "run into" friends like Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart and Kate Mulgrew (what, George Takei wasn't available?). The show will air on TV Land on March 22.

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