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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An A+ For The Bee From Me

"Flight of the Bumblebee." A cappella I loved it. I've been dying to tell people about it since I heard Nick Lachey's Cincinnati choir rehearse it two weeks ago at Xavier University. I thought it was fantastic.

But is it enough to win "Clash of the Choirs?" I don't know.

Patti LaBelle's choir certainly is powerful. But her "Over the Rainbow" was basically her solo, and not much of a choir number. And Blake Shelton's Oklahoma City choir was very good. (Could the real winner be Shelton, who's humorous comments throughout the week could make him a big TV star, not just a country singer?)

I'll argue that Cincinnati's choir has been the most versatile -- more soloists, better choreography, a wider variety of songs, and the incredible "Bumblebee." And like Lachey, Cincinnati has a secret weapon: Cincinnati's huge reality TV audience. Cincinnati's Channel 5 has drawn bigger ratings for NBC's reality singing competion -- "American Idol" for show choirs -- than Philadelphia, Houston, New Haven or Oklahoma City. That might translate into a lotta votes.

If Cincinnati wins -- we'll find out tonight (Don't forget NBC has expanded the results show to two hours, 8-10 p.m.) -- I sure hope Steve Zegree, the Western Michigan University jazz professor (and Miami grad) who trained the choir and wrote the arrangement gets some recognition. The "Bumblebee" was his execution.

And even if the Cincinnati choir doesn't win, somebody should organize a local concert for the choir. Wouldn't that be terrific? It could be the hottest ticket in town. And I'm sure the choir would love to sing once here for us. (Even if Lachey can't make it, would Zegree come in and lead the choir?) It's a perfect project for Channel 5 -- the show was on Channel 5, it promoted Children's Hospital -- so why not do the concert as a fund-raiser for the Ruth Lyons' Children's Fund, which pays for games, toys and entertainment for Children's Hospital patients?

Maybe an arts organization or school would donate a theater for the show? Yeah, I know, the choir only know 7 songs.... but you could fill the evening with an audience Q&A where the singers could talk about their New York/TV experience, what they've learned, how this changed their lives, and Carrie Scott-Taylor could talk about how Children's Hospital has helped her daughter. And after the concert, the 20 singers could mingle with the audience and soak up well deserved adulation? Let us treat them like stars?

And then we'd get to hear "Bumblee" again!

What do you think? Will Team Lachey go all the way?


at 12/19/2007 11:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a viewer from Canada with no real attachment to any of these cities - but now I'm sold on Team Lachey and have really enjoyed all the behind-the-scenes coverage from your blog. Flight of the Bumblebee was a treat!

I'd buy a CD if these choirs put one out. It'd be a shame if they all disband on Friday.

at 12/20/2007 12:17 AM Anonymous clashfan said...

I think it would be a great idea to have a COTC benefit concert to raise funds for the Ruth Lyons Childrens Christmas Fund. Since the choir members are all talented vocalists who can read music and learn quickly, they might also add some Cincinnati Christmas songs to their list....some actually written by Ruth Lyons like "Let's Light the Christmas Tree". Add a James Brown Christmas song, a Rosemary Clooney tune or two (like White Christmas) and Cincinnati will have a box office smash and another touching tri-state tradition.

at 12/20/2007 1:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As talented as Patti LaBelle's team is, I think they are a one trick poney. Gospel and singing background for soloists seems to be the only thing that they do - albeit very powerfully. I truly believe that Lachey's team is a "show choir" and deserves the title. I voted as many times as I could. Hopefully everyone else did as well. It would be nice to see Cincinnati win something - just once!!

at 12/20/2007 4:12 AM Blogger JerBear said...

The Bumblebee song was pretty cool.

I've really enjoyed this show. I am somewhat of a music nerd, but I think this is a show that could at least survive every year during the holidays.

Sadly, this is the most positive publicity for Cincinnati in a long time, but hey Cincinnati needs it anyway they can get it!

at 12/20/2007 7:16 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If creativity and versatilty mean anything in this competition, then Cincy should win, hands down.

The "Flight" came off great, showing these kids are very talented.

John is right about LaBelle's "Rainbow" being all her, and very little choir. And, she didn't do a very good job, screaching her way thru the number. I'd rather hear Willie Nelson sing "Over the Rainbow".

Speaking of competition, why isn't anyone leaving? The choirs being "voted off" are still around
to sing. All five are likely to still be on stage tonight.

The "softball" comments from the team celebrities after each performance leads me to think there will be one more suprise tonight. They all somehow split up the prize money between them.

at 12/20/2007 7:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bumble Bee song really showed he musical talent and preparation of Nick's choir. Choir music is not all about screaming and trilling notes at the top of your lungs. The precision and coordination of their voices was exceptional and showed an entertaining side of vocal music that I believe most viewers will appreciate. A standing ovation was had by all at our house!

Yes, let's create a homecoming for these Cincinnati superstars!

at 12/20/2007 7:51 AM Anonymous Michael said...

The cincinnati choirs was the most consistant of the choirs on the show. The Patti Labelle team seemed to more on solos and back up singers which that is not what a choir is. And i hate Patti's take on somewhere over the rainbow, i only like the how Judy Garland (original artist), ray charles, and frank sinatra did it.Second i dont remember her ever doing it before this(maybe she did but i dont remember her doing it).Everyone on the show had some sort of sob story for the charities so that should not be a factor.

And yes it would be cool if they did set up a concert for the choir in cincinnati to help the childrens hospital, i am sure people would go.

at 12/20/2007 8:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

.....flight of the bumblebee was stupendous - a colossal show of amazingingly talented people!! way to go guys!! Patty Labelle did exactly what I thought she would - showcase herself, her choir being a mere afterthought. Good but definitely not nearly as creative as Team Lachey. Go Cincinnati!!

at 12/20/2007 8:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there's an ounce of creative thought at Channel 5, they would take this ball and run with it.

Schedule some sort of event or concert and do it NOW, while fans are watching.

Unfortunately, planning such an event would take meetings, money, a venue, more meetings, approval from corporate headquarters, more money and someone at Channel 5 will veto it as a bad idea.

If this was Fox19 (American Idol) you'd see a packaged story in every newscast about one of the choir members, and they'd likely have a reporter live in New York for backstage stories and features about what the choir is doing in their free time.

Ch 5 should have had Sheri in NYC every night this week, for the lead story at 11, instead of chasing down wrecks and fires and passing it off as "breaking news".

I think the show's popularity and ratings caught the WLWT brass off guard. Next time will be too late because NBC will chose 5 other cities and local interest will be marginal.

Anyway...Team Lachey looks like a winner.

at 12/20/2007 8:44 AM Anonymous Bonnie Lou said...

I listened for tone and harmony in the choral productions. By far, Lachey and the Bumblebee proved that Cincinnati deserves to win.

Yes, Cincinnati Leaders, plan A Ruth Lyons Christmas Fund Concert at Music Hall. I'll be there with my mothers original song sheets of The Birthday Song. Will anyone sing with me?

Bonnie Lou (the real one; not Mary Jo)

at 12/20/2007 8:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They all somehow split up the prize money between them."

I suspect it's more that everyone goes home with money, rather than splitting the top prize.

LaBelle's "Rainbow" was a stumble in my book. Lachey's stuff was all good.

at 12/20/2007 8:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the choir is amazing, but the great thing is where the money would go if Cincy's choir won. Children's does not only help people here in Cincinnati but all over the world. All of the other charities are great but Children's helps people from everywhere not just the city or state they are in and I think that is important to realize also.

Great job Nick and the Cincy choir, you are amazing!!

at 12/20/2007 9:10 AM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Yep, I agree. Patti LaBelle's song was all about her... while Nick's song was re-arranged to showcase the choir, instead of relegating them to backup singers. Guess we'll see how the nation voted about 9:45 p.m. tonight...

at 12/20/2007 9:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too thought the Bumble Bee was really well done. As someone who knows the Underwoods personally, I am just really happy they can have this experience. My husband has been voting wildly everynight as well. We have enjoyed watching!! Go Team Cincinnati!!!

at 12/20/2007 9:24 AM Blogger Daniel said...

I am super-excited about Clash of the Choirs. Will and Ariel go to our church. We've been very blessed when Will has used his talent not only in choir performances at church, but also in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat the church did some years ago.

All the causes the choirs are supporting are very good. I would love to see some money go to everyone. I have been voting several times each night for Team Cincinnati, but I have also given a single vote for the other teams.

I do want Cincinnati to win it, and I would love to see this springboard into more publicity, etc. for the choir and its members. I might even watch channel 5 more often.

at 12/20/2007 9:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Team Lachey - they are amazing and by far the best choir. I have been proud all week that they are representing our great city.

at 12/20/2007 9:59 AM Blogger ella said...

You have a wonderful idea and I hope somebody takes it and runs with it. Go Team Lachey!

at 12/20/2007 10:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the choir could record the Ruth Lyons 50-50 Club album with proceeds going to the Christmas Fund?

at 12/20/2007 10:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is how I saw the performances

Round 1
Lachey and Labelle equally as good but Nick gets the nod as it was more geared to the choir as a whole, Shelton

Round 2
Shelton, Lachey, Labelle (all were kinda weak)

Round 3
Shelton, Lachey, Labelle (Shelton integrated the choir the best)

at 12/20/2007 10:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great for the city and would be great for Channel 5. Do a charity concert for the Ruth Lyons Children's Christmas Fund and with his musical backround, have Pete Scalia host it.

at 12/20/2007 11:01 AM Anonymous Florida Cousin said...

I am a viewer from St. Petersburg, Florida, and proud to say that I am both the cousin of one of the Team Lachey choir members as well as being from Cincinnati. I think the Team Lachey Choir is fantastic and truly enjoyed last night's performance! GO TEAM LACHEY!

at 12/20/2007 11:07 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 5 is salivating at the amount of people watching, but they will mess it up somehow. Just like they put on a typical poor news performance Saturday night right after the Bengals game that they carried from the NFL network.

at 12/20/2007 4:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week I suggested to NBC that they use 900 numbers and charge a small amount for each vote. Even if they charged as little as 10 cents per vote it would cost a dollar to vote 10 times. They should have then donated all that money to each of the choirs charities and every choir would have been a winner even if they didn't come in first. My email was deleted before it was read. I guess channel 5 learns how to miss an opportunity from the network they carry. The Cincinnati choir is the best one hands down.

at 12/20/2007 4:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My how the mighty have fallen! This would not have happened on Walter Bartlett's clock!

It's time for a change at 5.

at 12/20/2007 6:09 PM Anonymous SouthernGospelSinger said...

Go Cincy! I'm from Houston (stunned that the excellent Rowland choir was voted off first), but have been giving your group my votes every night.

All 5 choirs are excellent. The difference is in the selection of music and in pulling the team talents together.

I am no fan of Lachey music, but you (and he) have the best choir -- the best team, so you should win!

Good luck from Houston!

at 12/20/2007 7:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete Scalia would be a GREAT host! I saw him interviewing people that were trying out before the show started. He'd sure be better than that brain-dead host of the show!!! Where did they find her?

at 12/20/2007 9:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the show is ok at best. It's no American Idol. I have become bored at the daily live shots from Ch.5 on this show. Obviously no one knew it would be a hit, but watching Courtis live every day at Childrens Hospital is a bit much. Obviously if they win it will benefit Childrens, but while some of you say they haven't capitalized on it, they are driving me nuts with all of the behind the scenes stuff. If Cincinnati finishes first, then blow it out, otherwise, let it play out.

at 12/20/2007 9:56 PM Blogger markjx said...

I just want to throw my hat into the ring to support a concert to support Ruth Lyons Children's Christmas Fund. I'm a season ticket holder for the Cincinnati Pops and would like to see some collaboration between Team Cincinnati and Pops, but I know that's a long shot. Either way, let's get a concert together at the Taft (what do they use that for now, anyway?), Music Hall, or XU or UC!

Back to watch the end!


at 12/20/2007 9:57 PM Anonymous scpa83grad said...

"What a Wonderful World" was so beautiful. Team Lachey is what a choir is SUPPOSED to be. They blend together perfectly, and you can see the love and joy for the music they are singing.

GO SCPA ALUMNI!!!! Kenny Smith, class of '83 is truly one of the most gifted musicians around. He was a Corbett Winner at SCPA, and still makes me proud!

On the other hand, Maria Menounos is HORRIBLE. I mute my TV every time she opens her mouth. What a twit!

Go Cincinnati!!!

at 12/20/2007 10:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS Cincinnati Choir -- excellent job and well-deserved win.

at 12/20/2007 10:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese what a great win for all of us cincinnatians. Did you think we would win.

at 12/20/2007 10:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so excited that Team Lachey won. Nick always represents Cincy in such a positive light and this week was no exception. He showed that he is not all talk and he truely LOVES his hometown. To the choir, you are amazing, I looked forward to watching you all perform every night this week. I wish you all success and Nick thanks for making Cincinnati look as wonderful as it is!! I am proud to be a lifelong CINCINNATIAN!!

at 12/20/2007 10:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

We did it, I am so excited seeing Cincinnati being recognized for something, the choir did good, even though I did not see the entire Flight of the bumblee, the part I did catch was good. I have to admit, I thought that Patti's team was going to win.

at 12/20/2007 10:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was great! Great job Nick and the whole choir.

Seriously I haven't been this pumped up in a long time! It was better than a sports victory!

And what a great cause! Childrens Hospital.

A great night for Cincinnati.

at 12/20/2007 10:10 PM Anonymous hawk said...

WE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

at 12/20/2007 10:30 PM Blogger robin said...

I am so THRILLED for these talented Cincinnatians, Nick Lachey and the city!!! I LOVE our sports teams through good times and lean years, but I can honestly say that this win trumps any win I've watched in years!! I am a high school teacher who is always trying to convince my teen students how important it is for them to use their voice and vote in elections--they are often discouraged because of how we elect the President--and this event is a beautiful example of that a VOTE truly DOES COUNT!!

I, too, VOTE for a local concert to showcase these talented people! I would love to support them and hope Channel 5 and/or other companies can "step up" and make it a reality.

Way to go, Cincinnati!!

Robin Plate

at 12/20/2007 10:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Team Lachey! This was all about hometown pride...Cincinnati Children's Hospital definitely deserves the boost...they have been close to our family's heart, so I voted several times last night. Their staff definitely deserves this donation, they are amazing, not to mention the songs were performed with great pride and talent.

at 12/20/2007 10:51 PM Anonymous Former resident said...

I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati, but haven't lived there for many years. I am so thrilled Cincinnati has been nationally recognized for it's great musical talent! The choir was great...Bumblebee was so classy. Congrats!

at 12/20/2007 11:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another great idea. Have Nick & the choir sing the national anthem on opening day. The choir deserves a huge celebration that this city has been needing for a while.

at 12/21/2007 12:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea....singing the National Anthem on Opening Day! These kinds of events will help keep the choir and its cause in our hearts and minds.

at 12/21/2007 12:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the REAL Bonnie Lou offered up original song sheets for some of her Christmas songs sund on the 50-50 Club? If some producer does not take advantage of that opportunity for a great charity concert at Music Hall, we must be crazy! Wouldn't I love to see Bonnie Lou again with the fabulous champion Cincinnati Team Lachey!

at 12/21/2007 12:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bonnie Lou....we will all sing with you!

at 12/21/2007 5:26 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To talk about Zegree, I know Gold Company, the group he directs at Western Michigan, to be astounding. Team Lachey was extremely lucky to have him on their side. Congrats!

at 12/22/2007 6:09 AM Anonymous john said...

I knew you could do it Nick! You and your fantastic choir. I'm so proud of you. This choir should definitely stay together and sing on Fountain Square, Reds games, ect. We will come! The neat thing is that you guys did this for absolutely no material gain. You just love to sing! Our hospital benefitted, it made our city look great..and this was just so positive all around! Happy Holidays to you all. Thank you!

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