For the past three years, NBC’s hit show The Sing-Off has consistently pulled in millions of viewers, both in the a cappella community and well beyond. Its domestic success inspired international incarnations to be born throughout Europe and Asia. Its winners – Nota, Committed and Pentatonix – have each enjoyed incredible success through large, passionate fanbases, online acclaim (on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), album sales, tours, and headline appearances at some of the community’s most revered festivals.
However, earlier this month, the network announced that it does not plan to renew the show for a fourth season.
The news was initially met with an expected amount of disappointment – fans, ambassadors of the community and past cast members from all three seasons took to social media, blogs and a cappella websites to express their frustration.
“The fact that a cappella music stands lose [around] 4.5 million viewers per week is an awful thought,” Rob Dietz wrote in a great post on the website for the Contemporary A cappella Society of America. “The fact that talent the likes of Pentatonix, Committed, and Nota will no longer have a national stage makes my stomach turn. The fact that people’s access to vocal harmony will be in any way diminished pisses me off.”
Many agreed with what Dietz had to say. But through this shared ire, something positive and, frankly, great was born – a campaign, a movement, to save The Sing-Off and bring it back for another season.
The show’s biggest names – its three celebrity judges, Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, Sara Bareilles, as well as its host, Nick Lachey – caught on to the overwhelming national desire for a fourth season, and subsequently used the #SaveTheSingOff hashtag on their respective Twitter accounts to add visibility to the campaign. Yahoo! News even picked up the story.
In the past, efforts such as this have been successful. Fans of shows such as “Arrested Development” and “Jericho” used their strength in numbers to bring back their beloved programs for at least one more year.
But the question still remains – will fans of The Sing-Off get to see a fourth season?
Only time will tell, but for now, we will say this – the show has done wonders for a cappella as an art form. Once misunderstood and often ridiculed, The Sing-Off has given “a cappella” names and faces and memorable performances for a populace to embrace as a true representation of who we are and what it is that we do – and most important, why we love it so.
We sincerely hope The Sing-Off hasn’t taken its final bow. But if NBC turns a deaf ear to fans, we can at least collectively take solace in the knowledge that the show has forever changed the perception a cappella “outsiders” had of the community as a whole. We are not just “Glee,” or glee clubs. We are not just show choirs or chamber singers. We are not a punchline. We are none of those things, and all of those things – we are our own genre, with too many phenomenally talented groups and individuals, too many great ideas and stellar institutions, to be so easily defined. We are incredible, and no matter what happens, we will thrive, and we will be seen.
The Sing-Off has demonstrated all of that to both the nation and the world. Even if it does not continue on, no one can take away what it has already done to irrevocably push a cappella into mainstream society.
But for many, the curtain has not yet fallen on The Sing-Off, not until every effort is made to save it. So to its fans, we say keep fighting.