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'The Sing-Off' preview: One night only

For those of you who have been waiting for The Sing-Off to premiere, it’s finally here. For those of you who don’t find the same kind of magic in a capella singing competitions, don’t worry—the finale is here, too.

That’s right—The Sing-Off is back for its fifth season, but this season is for one night only. The holiday special will feature six a capella groups crooning their way down to one victor in the same amount of time it would take you to rewatch Pitch Perfect for the 200th time.

The NBC holiday staple has become the Community of reality television shows, shifting schedules and season length since it launched in 2009. To freshen it up, the season has been squeezed into two spectacular hours of melodies and harmonies and that one guy who can make bass noises with his mouth. On the judging panel, NBC has added Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy to join last season’s judges, Jewel and Shawn Stockman. (I’ll remember you fondly, Ben Folds, like the final note of a haunting power ballad.) And of course, the whole evening is hosted by everyone’s favorite 98 Degrees boy-bander/ex-husband of Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey.

The final group standing will get an Epic Records/Sony Music recording contract and $50,000. With the shorter format, a ca-thusiasts can assume that the theme weeks are all but eliminated. But in exchange, will viewers be treated to performances from past-season favorites Pentatonix and Home Free? Anything’s possible. Die-hard fans know that winning The Sing-Off is no joke. Pentatonix, aka the royal family of a capella, released a Christmas album this year that shot to No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

But this season is about the new crop of vocal hopefuls, and leading the pack is Timothy’s Gift, which despite the name, is an all-girl group led by none other than acclaimed Christian artist Melissa Green. They’re featured on NBC’s site singing a cover of Elle Henderson’s “Ghost.” Also featured on the site is the fabulously sparkly Traces doing a rendition of “River Deep, Mountain High” that almost makes you forget that the Glee version ever happened.

On a less traditional note, a.squared is apparently an electronic vocal group. Yep. You read that correctly—it’s still a capella, but it’s electronic. I don’t understand it, but after watching each group’s interview, it’s clear that they possess the best beard in the competition, so that has to mean something, right? The Exchange claims to be your “everything” group, which can be the kiss of death in the a capella circuit. The Exchange’s leader talks about the diversity, both musically and culturally, within the group, which could be dangerous. Also, their members have previously competed on The Sing-Off—in different groups, which goes to show that networking in the a capella community can really pay off.

In a complete turn of events, the group San Fran6 is from, wait for it, San Francisco. They had only been together for about a month or so before the competition, so this is definitely your dark horse. While they admit that they’re still trying to find their sound, they’re feeling confident about their upcoming performance. Additionally, this could be the group that gives us a little jazz, so that could be fun. Last but not least are the Melodores from Nashville. It’s a college group, which always ends up being a fan favorite. A lot of matching ties and blazers. A lot of conservative haircuts. This is the group that gives us the greatest chance of seeing a large group of men covering a popularized song by a female pop singer. Also, some of them will be in Pitch Perfect 2. These guys clearly could be front-runners if they play their cards right.

But if we don’t get a playful bro version of “Shake It Off,” then does it really even matter if they’re there?

Find interviews with each group on The Sing-Off‘s official site, and tune in to NBC on Dec. 17 at 9/8C to see all the performances play out for yourself. If you don’t do it then, you might just have to wait another whole year.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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