‘The Sing Off’ is an a cappella frenzy

| TV Editor

“The Sing Off”—“Live Finale” Episode 104—Pictured: Beelzebubs, Winners NotaTrae Patton | NBC

“The Sing Off”—“Live Finale” Episode 104—Pictured: Beelzebubs, Winners Nota

Last year, the world (or at least a few million viewers) watched as a group of Puerto Rican men beat out college boys for an amazing prize: first place in NBC’s a cappella competition, “The Sing Off.” Now, we get to watch it happen all again in season two.

“The Sing Off” is what happens when you throw together one ex-boy-band member, three knowledgeable judges from the music industry and a whole host of a cappella groups together in an epic sing-off. The result is really quite delightful. The season premiered Monday at 7 p.m. and will air Mondays and Wednesdays until the finale on Dec. 20. The groups range from high school pals to college students to a member of the Persuasions, and they all have one thing in common: amazing talent. Even the groups that departed last Monday (Men of Note and Pitchslapped) wowed the crowd.

In each episode, every group performs one or two songs. The show is similar to “American Idol.” Even the judges fit the old Randy-Paula-Simon model. Sean Stockman (Boyz II Men), Nicole Scherzinger (the Pussycat Dolls) and Ben Folds genuinely care about the performers, and they guide the groups to perform to the best of their abilities.

“The Sing Off” is not like other musical shows in a major way: All songs are performed without accompaniments, and the groups are responsible for their own arrangements. It is a test of musicality rather than just vocal ability, and that is what makes it great.

This season promises to be different from last season. Last season featured a few all-female groups, but they all made early exits. Of this year’s six remaining groups, four are all male and two are coed. Though no one can tell who this year’s contenders will be, tune in next Monday to find out.