Rockville Centre native Craig Cacciola will be a contestant tonight in NBC’s a cappella music competition, “The Sing-Off,” which returns after a one-year hiatus.
Cacciola, 34, appeared on Season 3 of the show, performing with Nota, the San Juan-based singing group that won the first season. This time around, he’ll actually be competing.
“I got treated like a winner even though I didn’t win,” said Cacciola, of his 2011 appearance on the show.
The 1997 graduate of Lawrence Woodmere Academy in Woodmere will be singing with another group from Puerto Rico, where he’s been living the past two years, called Calle Sol.
During the two-hour premiere, he’ll be beatboxing as the group covers Rihanna’s “Pon de Replay,” while competing against nine other groups before judges Jewel, Ben Folds, and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. At stake is $100,000 and a recording contract.
Cacciola said meeting Stockman is a dream come true.
“He couldn’t have been more popular when I was attending school at Lawrence Woodmere Academy,” he said. “We were always singing Boyz II Men songs.”
Cacciola credits LWA, particularly his music teacher Alex Altieri, with helping him discover his passion for music. While there, he was very involved in sports, but also performed in band, jazz band, choir and the musical productions.
He said he realized he wanted to pursue a music career while watching Altieri perform “Pure Imagination” at a school assembly, and attended Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. on a vocal scholarship.
Although Calle Sol, which was formed earlier this year, had a few rehearsals, Cacciola said its first actual performance will be Monday night.
“It’s exciting, but I’m more anxious than anything,” he said. “I can’t believe the day has finally come.”