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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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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sing A Song! They Did It!

THEY WON! What A Wonderful World! Sing A Song! Thanks to the killer 'Bee!

Just two weeks ago tonight, I heard the choir sing "Bumblebee" and several other songs rehearsing at Xavier University. I thought then the 'Bee would be killer... and it was. These people make such beautiful music together. And Nick Lachey has proven to be a nice, down to earth guy. At his hour (midight), he's taken the choir and their families on a two-hour boat cruise around Manhattan, paid for out of his own pocket. Class act.

And I must say it again: Steve Zegree, the Western Michigan Univ. jazz professor, deserves a lot of credit. He did the arrangements, and led the 40 hours of rehearsal. He really molded this group into one, and gave it personality and precision. If there is a Cincinnati concert -- and I believe there will be one -- Zegree should be there and honored too.

It was a great night.... And a fun ride this week.... I'm not surprised Cincinnati won, given our appetite for watching local people on reality TV shows. And this was a won-der-ful showcase for Cincinnati!


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

glad to see that old bag LaBelle lost!

at 12/20/2007 10:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is there any way to see the final again? My Time Warner DVR did not record the last hour. The guide only had the show listed for 1 hour. I am very disappointed!

at 12/20/2007 10:48 PM Blogger robin said...

I am so THRILLED for the talented choir members, our wonderful "Cincinnati ambassador", Nick Lachey, and the city! Their rendition of "What a Wonderful World" was a wonderful way top off their amazing week. I am a loyal Cincinnati sports fan, but it has been years since I have been so enthusiastic over any win by any local team! Way to go, Team Cincinnati!! You hit a homerun, made the needed "3-pointer" and scored the winning touchdown!

I hope Channel 5 and/or other companies organize a local concert so that Cincinnati can say "congrats" and "thank you" in person! I would love to support the project.

Robin Plate

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

Way to go Team Lachey!! You were a choir throughout this whole process, not just backup singers.
You took risks(bumblebee and Garth)
and reaped the reward! Nick looked like a confident and proud choir director, always smiling. Patty LaBelle was good at first, but I was ready to kick my shoes off and throw them at her by the end of the show!!!

at 12/20/2007 10:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They did a great job--as did all of us who called in to get the big donation for Children's Hospital.

Frankly, I went in thinking that they had no chance. Cincinnati is the second smallest of the 5 markets represented, and there was every reason to believe it was structured as a popularity contest. (According to, Philadelphia is #4, Houston #10, Hartford/New Haven #29, Cincinnati #33, and Oklahoma City #45.)

But if anyone wasn't wowed by Flight of the Bumblebee, he/she wasn't paying attention. All the choirs did a good job for a makeshift amateur choir singing standard songs; but Team Lachey's a cappella presentation was of a quality most professional choirs could not top.

Well done!

at 12/20/2007 11:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember watching Nick and Co. perform "bumblebee" when he was a member of Meridian 8 at SCPA. I sure got a kick out of seeing that performed again some 15 years later.

at 12/21/2007 12:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an absolutely wonderful way for the conclusion of the show for Team Cincinnati. What A Wonderful World was done so beautifully, it brought tears to my eyes. All the choirs were great and I enjoyed this show so much more than I ever thought imaginable. Not that I am old enough to remember the show, but for a small amount of time, it was like we transformed to a different era of television to performances like you would see on Lawrence Welk. Standard type songs being performed by a choir type group. It was great! But even greater for the NICU unit at Childrens Hospital.

at 12/21/2007 1:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this site It's the personal blog of Chuck Merk who was the Lakota math teacher in the choir. It gives you a very interesting look "behind the scenes". You can also see the "BUMBLEBEE" here. Way to go guys!!

at 12/21/2007 7:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Team Lachey!!

Wonderfully done! It makes me proud to say I am from Cincinnati, to have seen such a diverse group of people come together and Sing like that !! The Bee Song was

at 12/21/2007 7:32 AM Anonymous Michael said...

Just glad to see america picked the right choir to win. By far the most musical talent and they even danced good with their last preformence. I cannot wait to joke with Will, he is a joker so this perfect to get him on. Atleast GE gave some money to the other teams.

Oh i heard Nick wants them to be on his next album.

at 12/21/2007 7:34 AM Blogger Laura said...

A big congratulations and thank you for making my hometown proud. Your hard work and dedication along with amazing talent has paid off. I will travel back home to see you in concert with bells on. It was wonderful!!!

at 12/21/2007 8:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Observations from the "peanut gallery".

I don't know what, if any, rules the teams had to abide by in their musical selections, but Nick's team won by showcasing its wide talents and versatility. From "Low Places" to "Bumblebee" to "What a Wonderful World" they blended into a diverse, well-polished, cohesive unit. It seems like Lachey went after this challenge like a high school project.

Patti Labelle, on the other hand, came at us with a barrage of screaming southern gospel-style arrangements that wore out their welcome after the first night.

The other three just couldn't match with what Cincy was putting on.

The host was horrible. She had nothing to say and stumbled and bubbled all the way. I watched last night's show from the DVR and I swear it sounds like Tracey Morgan announced that "Team Dayton" had won.

Now, for Channel 5. You blew it. Why wasn't there a local reporter in New York to send back stories about the group. Wouldn't a piece from Lachey's after-show celebration cruise be nice. Plus, some backstage reaction and clips from exciting trip to Manhatten. Instead, all we got were network video shots and live stand ups from Children's Hospital parking lot.

Someone at 5 needs to answer why they didn't accompany the choir. It was their network showcase and one of the few chances they get for attracting new audience. I'm guessing the management under-estimated the interest level. They won't get a 2nd chance. Next time, 5 other cities will be chosen, and local interest here will not be as big.

With a little tweeking and a new host this show could make on the reality show merry-go-round.

Is it too late for the Bengals to bring the choir in Sunday to sing the national anthem? How about Opening Day too?

at 12/21/2007 8:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I was one who was very skeptical at first as I am very tired of the American Idol and Idol wannabe format, so unfortunately I missed the first show. But after hearing you on Burbank and reading your blogs, as well as hearing folks at work buzzing about it, I gave it a try. I am really glad I did. What a fun show. I like how it was over and done fast, not dragged on and on a la Idol. Nick came across as a really nice guy who really got to know his choir as people. I think they got an experience of a lifetime. And I also came away greatly impressed with our own SCPA, as you could see him utilizing lessons he learned from his time there. I hope your idea of a benefit concert takes hold, it would be neat to see that. Really, I could see them taking all the choirs on a mini-tour to each of their hometowns and doing the same thing at each. That would more than fill the evening!

at 12/21/2007 8:43 AM Blogger Toddy-O said...

toddyoThis week's worth of programming was awesome. Team Lachey was the best sounding, best GROUP, even choreography to boot! A very entertaining program.

It would have been great if, during the Christmas medley, they had pulled out "Have a merry, merry Christmas" from the Ruth Lyons book but their sound was so far superior to the others.

As for WLWT-you blew it bigtime. Where is your promotions department? And you only ran the same 10 second promo for the news during? Where is the creativity?

Back to the program and the choir, a well-done job. You promoted, not Cincinnati, but the entire Tri-State community. And congrats to Children's Hospital for the award!

at 12/21/2007 9:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Flight of the Bumblebee" was a stroke of sheer Nick Lachey genius. Thankfully, the precision and finesse required for this number was not lost on the American commercial-television viewing public. It alone, proves that TEAM LACHEY deserved the win!!!

Congratulations to Children's Hospital and the city, too. It's about time we got some favorable national publicity!

at 12/21/2007 9:34 AM Blogger Tom said...

What a great show! I'm sure your coverage in the Enquirer helped build awareness (and votes) here in Cincinnati. Thanks John! This town has hundreds of great church choirs, and I'll bet most of them were watching, rooting for and VOTING FOR Team Lachey. As for the choir @ First Unitarian Church, we couldn't be more proud of Kenny Smith! Woo-Hoo!
-Tom Sandman

at 12/21/2007 9:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing week of choir music. All I can say is bring on the Clash of the Choirs CD. Go Team Cincinnati!

at 12/21/2007 9:49 AM Anonymous Jon Meyer said...


Thanks for the great articles on this competition. As a local musician, I was torn as to whether or not I should try with Nick Lachey. Well, the family won but now I wish that I would have tried.

From a musical perspective, they truly were the best ensemble on that stage. Their timing and intonation was great.

If they put on a concert here in town, you can bet that I will be there.

My DVR cut it off, too. Luckily, I was home watching it.

at 12/21/2007 9:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud of Nick Lachey and Team Cincinnati for winning a much deserved choir competition!!! They were absolutely fabulous and should be so proud of their accomplishment! Way to go Nick for giving Cincinnati something to "sing" about!!! We are so proud to call you our own!!!

at 12/21/2007 10:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So disappointed to see that Patti Labelle is such a poor sport. The look on her face when she lost showed that she thought she had it in the bag, and then to march off stage the way she did was ridiculous! Shame on you Patti, you don't deserve anyone's respect no matter how great you once were!!!

at 12/21/2007 10:18 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am proud of Nick and choir. They represented Cincinnati very well.

at 12/21/2007 10:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Can we please stop talking about this show now?

at 12/21/2007 10:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick used some of that SCPA-Jack Louiso training to get his team to perform. They showed great versatility in their song selection. I was particulalry proud of Carrie and Kenny, who are old head SCPA grads like me. They got to sing on the national stage, and Carrie actually got to sing a mini-solo.


at 12/21/2007 10:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night's show was great...and what made it the best was seeing Team Lachey win!! The team made Cincinnati look real good, which is something we have lacked in the past.

Shame on News many creative things could have been done with this. I wonder if they will try to back track now since they have won?

Did anyone catch LaBelle last night after Team Lachey was announced the winners? If you notice the camera pans out and you can see LaBelle stomping off the stage going backstage...I take it she wasn't pleased at all. How about that time when she didn't know she was on camera and she was asking someone to get her "tea"? What a diva!!

Congrats again to Team Lachey!!

at 12/21/2007 10:48 AM Blogger cjbcincy said...

We were never more proud to be Cincinnatians as when we watched Clash of the Choirs and Nick Lachey. These young people really set a good example for our town. Thank you, Nick, and the choir. God Bless You all,

Carl and Joyce Beckstedt

at 12/21/2007 11:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, thank you for all of your positive comments about Dr. Stephen Zegree and his contributions to Team Lachey's spectacular success. I thought Ms. Patti showed great class when she named and thanked her musical director on-air. It's too bad that Nick could not do the same. My friend Steve and I started working at Western Michigan University the same year, and I am somewhat amazed to acknowledge that his internationally-renowned Gold Company will present it's 30th Anniversary Show on February 9. He is an amazingly-talented guy.

at 12/21/2007 11:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Team Lachey and Cincinnati Children's NICU! I have for a while thought that Nick was a good hometown boy, but he was adorable and humble and I'm so proud that he's from Cincinnati.

at 12/21/2007 11:18 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tracey Morgan either was trying to be comedic or just acted as a very poor representative of NBC and GE. I am almost positive he said that the winner was...Um this team right here...because he could not pronounce Nick's last name with confidence. He took a crack at it a little later and said...Team Lay-Chey...Similar to a Chinese pronunciation instead of La-Shay.

at 12/21/2007 11:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have DirectTV, they updated their on-screen programming lineup that allowed me to DVR both hours.

I just went back to watch LaBelle storm off the stage. What a low-class loser. Put your shoes back on an go home.

at 12/21/2007 12:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes what a great win for the cincinnati kids.
That host was brutal and so was tracy morgan trying to be funny. Now we know why nbc is the number 4 network.

anyways, kiese what were the numbers for the finals here. Did it translate into more people watching news 5 at 11.

at 12/21/2007 12:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Team Lachey was the best, no doubt. But, Tri-staters deserve pat on the back for their support of the locals.

Call it small-town pride, or hokie, or whatever, but this blog has been filled with nothing but positive comments about the efforts of this group all week.

I just went surfing to see what kind of comments were coming out of Philly, and couldn't find a word, or a link...nothing on the newspapers sites or the local nbc affiliate.

at 12/21/2007 12:30 PM Anonymous Former Cincy Guy said...

Congrats Cincy! As a former resident who still loves your city I was rooting all the way for this choir. They rocked. The Flight of the Bumblebee just was amazing... the only true choral piece in the compettion. Good job Nick

at 12/21/2007 12:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Team Cincinnati!! I truly thought going into the week that Nick Lachey and Co. did not have a chance against Patti LaBelle and Co. However, after watching the "Bumblebee" performance, I began to feel real hope. Then after watching what I thought was a TERRIBLE performance of "Over the Rainbow" (by a screeching LaBelle who looked like she was in very severe pain - what was she doing with her face and lips?!), I was a lot more confident about Team Lachey's chances. I am not a music expert by any means, but I thought Team Shelton and Team Lachey did more things that choirs are known for (many different soloists, complex harmonies, accappella, etc.) Team LaBelle was nothing more than a group of individuals who were trying to imitate an over the hill diva. There was more focus on her than on the group and if her group would have won, it would have been on her past performances and her name, (and I would have known that the competition had been rigged). Team Cincinnati was the BEST and they showed the nation that we are a close knit community in spite of our much publicized problems. I think the Reds and the Bengals could learn a few lessons about fun, teamwork, commitment and winning from this awesome GROUP! I am a proud Cincinnatian, a proud Cincinnati Children's employee and a proud friend of one of the members of Team Lachey. You guys rocked!! Congratulations!!!

at 12/21/2007 12:45 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

Note from Kiese:
Someone just sent me this email:
"Any idea where "Clash of the Choirs" Team Cincinnati T-shirts can be purchased??? It would be a great holiday gift. Several people are looking for them."

I'm up to my eyeballs trying to write stories and keep up with the blog. Here's what I know, in case anyone pursues info and can report in:
"Team Cincinnati" shirts were made by Dennis Wall, father of singer Nick Wall from Dent (soloist on "Friends in Low Places"). Dennis Wall part owner of KS Designs/Embroidery in Westwood.

at 12/21/2007 12:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out from the Philly paper. LaBelle might be 63, but she acts like she is 2.

at 12/21/2007 12:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Right...Tracey Morgan displayed he was not into the show and had no clue who Nick was...Nice choice GE for an NBC Celebrity HOST...LOL...He was probably shocked that Cincinnati WON...See decision time again at this web sight link...

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

Just saw videos on UTUBE...Who is the well endowed Jessica Simpson look alike? Did you see her work it during that Garth Brooks number? Did not know such good looking women lived among us...I would pay money to see her sing. Who is she?

at 12/21/2007 1:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

K/S Designs, Inc. is located at 3044 Harrison Ave. The phone number is 513-241-5953. Dennis Wall is not in town at the moment (he was with the group in New York). Dennis did great work on my son's Student Council tee shirts and will be doing my daughter's softball team's uniforms. I recommend him and his company. From the sounds of things, I hope he has some Team Lachey shirts in stock and ready to go. Good luck, Dennis!!

at 12/21/2007 1:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three cheers for team Lachey and Nick! And a big old lump of coal to Patti LaBelle(But not her team, who showed true sportsmanship in saluting the winners).The Cincinnati team really beat the odds, but the true winners who will continue to do so are the tiniest babies who will, by the grace of GOD, survive now because of the wonderful gift from Team Lachey and Cincinnati. Bravo bravo bravissimo and God bless you all.
from the neighborhood

at 12/21/2007 1:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take it easy on the host. Isn't she Nick's sweetie? Live TV for 2 hours isn't easy. I thought she did a fine job. Even when she had an oops, she was great.

at 12/21/2007 2:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

no nicks sweety is vanessa milino.

at 12/21/2007 2:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patti labelle is a pure diva. I loved it when we won and showed her who the real champions were.

Michael bolton was brutal as a judge, he cant speak in complete sentences.

at 12/21/2007 2:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just read the Philly Inquirer story.


Labelle wants a rematch? Typical loser reaction. Go Home.

BTW, Reds and Bengals, the Philly Choir has already been booked to sing at games there.

at 12/21/2007 2:55 PM Anonymous SouthernGospelSinger said...

Someone said: "Nick wants (his choir) to be on his next album."

If Nick is lucky, the Choir will give him a guest spot on their albums. Go Cincy!

at 12/21/2007 3:00 PM Anonymous SwankMan said...

re: "Tracey Morgan either was trying to be comedic or just acted as a very poor representative of NBC and GE. "

Tracey Morgan is probably the biggest idiot in the business. Very few wheels turning around in that skull of his, and he proves this on appearance after appearance. "Uh... winners are these guys over here!" indeed. Why NBC is repeatedly tying their horse to him I cannot imagine.

at 12/21/2007 3:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame for the Philly choir to be represented and led by a poor loser. They were also very talented, but the variety of music performed by Cincinnati led to a wider appeal. And to say that it was because of his pop-singer looks, please. After the first two shows, I thought I could like Patti LaBelle, after the last two shows, I wouldn't listen to anything she performed if it was the last piece of music on Earth. I would listen to her choir sing again though!

And yes Bengals, get the choir to perform the National Anthem this week in the battle of Ohio. Anything less would be yet another embarrasment by the river.

at 12/21/2007 4:40 PM Anonymous nky_jenn said...

When Clash of the Choirs first started, I thought it was a great concept and was very interested in the show. Knowing that the money would go to Children's Hospital was even better. I'm 28 now and between the ages of 5 and 18, I spent a lot of time there. It is the best hospital with the most caring doctors, nurses, and other workers. Plus, now my best friend also works there.

When the competition first started, I thought Philly would win because I figured the voting would be like American Idol and be based on popularity and not the best choir. I disagree with Ms. LaBelle, it was the best choir, not a popularity contest. Team Lachey showed so many different styles and showcased many individulas in solos. Not just the same handful of soloists. Also, Nick did say the choir would be on his next album. I would love to hear an album from the Cincy team. Since almost half of the choir are SCPA grads, how about a cd and concert where half of the money would go to SCPA's new school and half to Ruth Lyons.

I'm proud to say that I'm from the Cincinnati area. The version of What a Wonderful World made me cry. One day, I want to dance to that song at my wedding with my dad.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Jenn from NKY

at 12/21/2007 7:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tuned in on Monday wondering what the contest would be like and assuming, like so many others, that Philly and Patti LaBelle would have a real advantage. I figured if the Cincy team wasn't too awful I would watch the whole show. They weren't and I did. Tuesday I figured if they weren't eliminated, I would at least watch them perform. They weren't and I did. Wednesday they did Flight of the Bumblebee and I really began to think they might win.

They did!! Congratulations. So much talent, so much work, so much dedication and such fine performances.

We are all proud of you

at 12/21/2007 10:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Way to go Team Lachey! I wondered in the beginning but you kept getting better and better. Pulled off Bumblebee (a risky piece) with true finesse! Nick, you surprised me with your down to earth approach and care for your team and the real goal, helping Children's Hospital. (I was shocked at Patti LaBelle's last performance and her character, not very mature)Her choir members did better than she did.
Hope to see more of this amazing choir and the other choirs. This was quite a ride for four nights and for great causes! Kudos to Kelly, Michael and Blake. And Nick! Had me transported to another world for a few nights...thank you!!! God Bless.

at 12/21/2007 11:21 PM Anonymous Stephanie said...

I'm from Canada and I wish to extend my congratulations to Team Lachey for winning the competition, not only did they make Cincinnati proud, their extraordinary performances blew me away - especially "Flight of the Bumblebee". My mom rooted for Nick's team the entire week, they proved that a choir is not just about having big voices.

Way to go, Team Lachey!

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