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'The Sing-Off' has a cappella groups squaring off

Noteworthy appears on NBC's

Noteworthy appears on NBC's "The Sing-off." Photo Credit: NBC

THE SHOW "The Sing-Off"

WHEN | WHERE Monday, Tuesday night, Wednesday and next Monday, at 8 on NBC/4

THE DEAL Nick Lachey hosts the two-hour shows featuring the eight best a cappella groups NBC found from more than 1,000 submissions, according to executive producer Joel Gallen. Judges, including Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, Ben Folds and Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls, will advise the groups.

On the first night, the judges will eliminate one group, and on the second and third nights, they'll reject two each. Once the competition is down to three groups, viewers have the chance to vote, and the winning group receives an Epic Records / Sony Music recording contract and $100,000.

"None of them do this as a full-time gig," Gallen says. "All have jobs. They are going into the competition with this as more than a hobby but not a profession."

HOW IT WORKS The genres for the groups of four to 12 adults will vary. Opening songs will be whatever they like best, but then each episode will have a challenge. Some a cappella groups, say barbershop quartets, often skew toward older tunes, but one of the challenges will have them singing hits from the last couple of years, Gallen says.

"We'll also give them a guilty pleasure," he says. The groups could do a song from their iPods, and Gallen says that could include anything. There also will be a superstar medley.

AS FOR THE FUTURE Gallen hopes this four-night special will grow into a series. A producer for MTV's "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew," Gallen says that show "is very much an inspiration for this show. They are a group of dancers who have to move as a unit and move our audience to inspire them and make them want to come back for more. It's an entertainment show unlike any other show they have seen. The world of singing has been dominated by one show ("American Idol"). I am not saying we will make a dent in that show. We are only doing four episodes. If we do well, then eight."

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