It was pretty surreal taking the stage for the first time at The Sing-Off. I came into this position as a big fan of the show, but really had no way of knowing what it would feel like to sit behind the judges' desk and actually take it all in. As the show started, my stomach was in knots, and I was really nervous about when it would be my turn to talk. Sounds silly, but it's true. What if I use the work "like" too many times? What if there's spinach in my teeth? What if I say something stupid? What if I swear? (Turns out that last one's not really a problem. Thanks NBC!) And then eight of our 16 groups took the stage and did the opening number - Pink's "F-in Perfect."
And my jaw hit the floor.
I got to see very quickly how amazing this season was going to be.
From a talent standpoint alone, this is an incredibly diverse and compelling community of singers, as well as some standout superstars from moment one. I knew we were going to have a blast.
Now, I don't want to give too much away on this blog because I really want you to make your own assessments and judgments on the groups, but I thought I'd give a quick intro to each of them... just to give you my perspective. I will tell you in all honesty that this season is packed full of incredible performances and really lovable participants. That is one thing we are most definitely NOT short of on The Sing-Off. These kids can SANG.
So here is a taste of my first impressions of the groups as I remember meeting them:
YellowJackets: This group is all heart. A lovable bunch of boys from back East who adore each other and have a higher purpose in mind when they sing. They had us all "Wavin' [the] Flag" with them in this performance. What's not to love?
Fannin Family: This is such a sweet group that reminds us that innocence is alive and well, and apparently paying rent at the Fannin's home. :) There is something really special about seeing siblings sing together, and you can hear a blend between their voices that is so natural and honest. They gave such an earnest performance of Selena Gomez's song "Who Says" - delivered by the youngest member of the family - and the entire season!
Afro-Blue: Immediately, I was taken by their confidence and musical chops. This is a group of kids from Howard University that all study jazz together. And they brought the jazz with them. It's smart, complex, musical and incredibly good.
Delilah: An all-female group with some serious powerhouse lead vocals. They are an all-star group of some ladies from seasons past, and they came back with a vengeance.
Urban Method: This is the first ever "rapappella" group. They hail from Denver and have a cool mix of singers, an incredible rhythm section and one superstar emcee. I remember tons of energy from this performance and seeing an intensity in Myke that felt like he'd been doing this for years.
The Cat's Pajamas: Talk about smooth. This is a group that clearly knows what they're doing and has already made a very successful career out of being an a cappella group. They are beyond polished and totally professional.
Kinfolk 9: This is a fantastic group of lead singers who came together for this particular competition. They are new to singing a cappella but are no strangers to being in the business. They are a savvy collection of really wonderful, unique voices and a great story to boot.
Vocal Point: A bunch of boys from BYU got together and formed Vocal Point. They came out of the gate with loads of energy and an obvious brotherhood that you can feel when you watch them sing. Oh, and they sing their asses off. They blew the roof off the place with the Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Jump, Jive an' Wail."
All in all, it was an incredible show and just a taste of what was to come.
I'm so lucky to be a part of this show, and I'll see you Monday nights at 8:00 p.m., on NBC!
I'll be the one in the sparkles. ;)