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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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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Will The Cincinnati Choir Advance To Finals?

Cincinnati went country in New York on NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" Tuesday, and it worked for me. I hadn't heard Nick Lachey's vocalists sing Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places" in rehearsals at Xavier University, but I very impressed with the group's versatility, harmony and presentation. I think Nick Wall of Dent, the Bridgetown Road Skyline Chili server, out-countried Blake Shelton.

Lachey had told me in an interview he wanted his choir to be known for its versatility, and he's proving the point. As Michael Bolton said: "The diversity, the wit, and depth of all the voices, and fun -- pure fun." (Does this guy ever speak in complete sentences?)

Kelly Rowland, whose Houston choir was eliminated Tuesday, said: "You guys sound great. I'm speechless. You guys did a great job."

I didn't like NBC withholding the elimination until 8:45. I'd hate to have to sing after waiting 45 minutes on live TV to find out if my group made the cut. But NBC did a great job again of mixing in feel-good stories, like Wall losing 30 pounds to sing on national TV. I still don't like the title.... This format basically is "American Idol for Show Choirs."

Too bad the mastermind behind the choir hasn't received any credit. Steve Zegree, the Western Michigan University Bobby McFerrin professor of jazz, did all the Team Lachey arrangements, and presided over all the rehearals. He's a 1975 Miami University grad, by the way. (I saw just a glimpse of him on Tuesday's show, a short thin man with a dark beard, behind Lachey in one of the rehearsal shots.)

The competition:
--Again, I thought Patti LaBelle's Philly choir was very good (Duh!), singing "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders.

--Blake Shelton's Oklahoma City choir's "Taking It To The Streets" by the Doobie Brothers sounded good -- the solos were good, not great -- but I didn't like the choreography.... people just sitting on the steps rocking back and forth.

--Michael Bolton's New Haven choirs "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was pretty good. He went with two soloists instead of one tonight. Frankly I think the Cincinnati choir shows more depth of talent.

I'm guessing that Shelton or Bolton won't make the finals.

I think Cincinnati proved it deserves to make the finals... and if Cincinnati leads the TV ratings again for the show tonight, that should translate into enough voters to advance. And if the Cincy singers perform Wednesday, they've got some great songs that will blow the roof off the studio.

Who did you think was the best? Which one will be voted out?


at 12/19/2007 7:40 AM Anonymous Michael said...

Last night compaired to the other night the bolton group got better and Patti LaBelle's group was not as good as the other preformence they did. i still think it will come down to the lachey and labelle team should be in the final together,but i think people will not get over the first preformence from the labelle team. american does not always vote right on vote shows(dancing with the stars shows that , last season and the master p season).

at 12/19/2007 7:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would this show be better with some "real" judges ?

Natually, the other celebrities aren't going to "dis" the other choirs.

They all are doing well and apparently working very hard with only 24 hours to prepare. Cincy had a great reaction from the studio audience.

I wonder how the ratings are in cities that are not represented with choirs.

Team Bolton was good last night, but does New Haven have enough viewers to out vote Oklahoma City and the U.S. Army. Probably not.

Worst performance last night was the host. She needs to prepare her cue cards better, or be voted out.

at 12/19/2007 9:11 AM Anonymous MasonBob said...

Are people actually watching this type of show? I'd look for an upswing in book publishing if this keeps up. What a wonderful side benefit that would be.

at 12/19/2007 10:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple of thoughts... Did anyone think the audio was "muddy" not crisp? I know they are doing this live and with just the hand-helds and the mics on the stands, but come on. Also, why no HD? It's in NYC, you know NBC does the evening news and Today in HD, what gives? Yes I realize the location material would be SD, but IMHO, HD would make it seem "bigger." Glad to see a fellow redskin is facilitating the Cincy choir.

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

The judges' comments are getting silly- how many ways can you say "you were great"? I think having Kelly's team off was planned so everyone will vote more to get Michael's team off. Cincinnati's choir (though my favorite) sounded pre-recorded last night AND, can ANYONE pick better songs? I know they want to appeal to a large audience, but COME ON! Old Bon Jovi? Old Garth Brooks? Please- there are so many great, uplifting and inspirational songs that don't have to be churchy but can be well sung by a choir!

at 12/19/2007 10:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese im shocked the enquirer didn't send you to nyc to cover this.

at 12/19/2007 10:22 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 has been counting there blessings. Next week on 5 sandra and sheree will interview all the singers.

at 12/19/2007 10:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Team Lachey's going to have to dial it up if they want to win this. I wasn't any more impressed Tuesday than I was Monday. Bolton will go next, I think

at 12/19/2007 10:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick's team took a great, rebellious country song and turned it into an Up With People number. It was mind numbingly awful. Totally missed the spirit of the song.

at 12/19/2007 12:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first night they absolutely SUCKED. No harmony, just everyone singing the same dumb song, and not very well. They should have gone home last night because of it. Seriously disappointed.

That being said, they were better last night.

at 12/19/2007 1:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the first night was good for Team Lachey, but last night wasn't their finest moment. I think Nick picked the wrong number to do (Low Places) and the choir didn't sound as comfortable with the material. C'mon in Bootsy and fire up that Cincinnati funk machine!!!

at 12/19/2007 3:19 PM Anonymous Janet said...

I think Cincinnati is doing great. Nick makes sure he uses everyone in the Choir, not like the other choirs, they are featuring one person, and the other people in the choirs are the back ground noise. Nick is making sure that his whole choir is singing. And they are all very well diversed. People should look at the over all picture and not that Patty Labelle has a big name. Nick has a big group also. And I really like our Cincinnati group. People in Cincinnati should be supporting the Choir not putting it down. It looks like we have good supporters there in New York. And I am all the way for Cincinnati. We live here and should be very proud of each and everyone that is there in the choior representing Cincinnati. And one other thing, the very first night, there was a retired Colonel from the military there that came in and handed the one Ok. choir a check for a quarter of a million dollars, that came from GE, well GE is a Cincinnati Base company, why did they support them, or why has not a another Cincinnati Base company like Protor and Gamble step up to the plate and show their support for our Cincinnati Group, I know that GE was giving that because of the military men, but I am a veteran, and I have a son in the Navy, but I think that another company here in Cincinnati could show their support by stepping up and supporting our Cincinnati Choir, they all deserve it. Go Cincinnati! you are the Best! Don't let them tell you anything else.

at 12/19/2007 7:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

GE is the parent company of NBC, so their support had nothing to do with where they are based or have operations from. It's because they own NBC.

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