December 14, 2010 - 10:06 PM
With all the hype about Ducks football and the BCS National Championship game, Oregon is receiving a lot of national attention these days. College football and Heisman races aside, however, another group of Ducks has been in the limelight.
For the past few weeks "On the Rocks," UO's male a cappella group, has been a contestant on Season 2 of NBC's A Cappella group signing competition The Sign Off. The top ten a cappella groups from around the nation have competed in a battle royale of unaccompanied musical talent. The judges have already had to give the boot to some incredible groups - two high school choirs from New Jersey and Ohio, college groups from New Haven and Boston, and a jazz ensemble from Seattle.
Sadly OTR became the latest contestants voted of the show earlier tonight, and as disappointed as I was to see them go, I can't say that I was surprised. For one this competition is geared towards smaller groups that can show off their harmonic talent, which isn't quite what On The Rocks specializes in.
Don't get me wrong. They some incredible singers. Without Jonah and Nick the group's rendition of Bad Romance wouldn't have become the Internet sensation that attracted over 6.5 million viewers. Peter's lead vocals in Kyrie were unbelievable on last Monday's show. And let's not forget Alex on vocal percussion. I won't even lie about it; whenever I make it to see OTR perform in the EMU Amphitheater I'm usually paying attention to Alex. He's way too good.
But OTR's forte isn't their singing as much as their goofy antics, lovable personality and hilariously choreographed dance moves. It's difficult to show of your voices with fifteen guys all on stage at the same time. They're made to entertain...and they're really, really good at it.
The other reason I'm not surprised they only made the top five is because I've seen their competition. Committed, an Alabama gospel choir group. Street Corner Symphony, a southern soul group from Nashville. The Backbeats, an all-star a cappella group from USC and UCLA. And, oh yeah, Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town, a newly formed group from Oakland whose lead singer is making a come back after nearly forty years of professional a cappella.
A little fun fact I found while researching Jerry Lawson. He debuted in 1969 as the lead singer of The Persuasions, a legendary a cappella group from Brooklyn. In 1971 the group came out with their third and most popular album that ranked #16 on Billboards R&B chart. Guess what the title was...Street Corner Symphony. Any relation to the other Sing Off finalists? Not sure, but I guess what I'm trying to say is...how do you compete with that!?!?!
OTR had a good run. That's for sure. Earlier tonight they sang their swan song, which fittingly was The Final Countdown" by Europe. We can take solace in the fact that beat out a group of stuck up Ivy Leaguers from Yale and another from Berklee College of Music, who you would imagine would be talented singers considering they...uh...go to a music school.
The remaining groups showed their love by flashing the Oregon "O" as On the Rocks exited the theater for the final time. I think they were just as sad as we were to say farewell to a class act. Now it's out of the judges' hands. The winner of the competition will be decided next Monday by the American viewing audience. These other groups better be happy that OTR is out of the competition because you know that Duck Nation would have pulled together to make sure our guys won it all.
I've posted OTR's hit single Bad Romance by Lady Gaga as a tribute to their excellence.
Times like these make me proud to be a Duck.