Shawn Stockman’s ‘Sing-Off’ Blog: A Day In The Life Of A Reality TV Judge
First Published: September 27, 2011 1:20 PM EDT Credit: NBC
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Wassup gang,
Here we are at Week Two. If you enjoyed the premiere, I KNOW you enjoyed this one.
Eight more groups took this stage this week and they set it on FIRE! It truly is mind blowing when I see how far a cappella has come and how there are so many groups that are taking the art form to levels I never imagined it could go!
This says a lot about the groups and their rigorous, tireless dedication to what they do. We live in a dissident, cynical world! It’s hard to impress a society that has seen and heard just about everything!
On the day of taping for the show, the judges and I get to the studio every morning around 9 AM. My wife Sharhonda, who styles my clothes, makes sure everything is packed and ready in my travel bag for wardrobe to prepare it for later that night.
Sara (Bareilles) and myself immediately assemble in Ben (Folds’) trailer along with Joanna the producer to go over the acts’ performances for the night. We then go over their video packages that play before each group’s performance to pick out certain points that may help with our critiques. Although we know what songs they’re singing, we never watch any pre-performances. So every reaction and everything we say after each performance is genuine, and makes for more sincere comments.
We then go to the set for camera blocking and rehearsing who goes first, second, or third in each performance critique. Although it is business, it’s also very loose and a lot of fun! I get front row entertainment from Ben as he goes through his simulated judge moments with his humor. Ben is extremely funny, and Sara is as well. As sweet as she is, she definitely can hang with the boys with her humor as well and her “doodling” on the judges’ sheets. A really nice keep sake for a “Sing-Off” fan to see how imaginative and creative her drawings can be, and I’ll just leave it at that, lol!
We all then go back to my trailer and go over some more crucial points for the show. After that, we break for lunch. Sometimes Ben, Nick (Lachey) and myself will take a walk on Culver Blvd. and grab a bite. I’ve known Nick for years, back when Nick was in the group 98 Degrees and we were both signed to Motown records. We all have a laugh or two about our adventures in the music biz over some sandwiches and beer! The rewarding thing about this experience for me is making new friends. I didn’t know Ben before the “Sing-Off,” but since the show’s creation he has become one of my good homies!
After the goofing off, we get a chance to rest up for the night’s taping. After hair and makeup, I get on the wardrobe. This week, I’m wearing a Hugo Boss sweater with a Robert Graham shirt and David Donahue tie, the Levis are always just a comfortable choice and this week I substitute the Jordans with some Adidas “Superstars” or what we call them back in Philly, “shell toes.”
The unique thing about our show is the community type feeling that’s translated onscreen by the characters. Everybody, like you and me, doesn’t necessarily have a tragic story to tell or some profound personal struggle, though as compelling as those stories may be for television, it isn’t a required component!
Most of the people you see on the show are the same ones you see in your own neighborhoods! All of the groups for the last three years we’ve been on the air have a familiarity that we’re all comfortable with watching! Matter of fact, the really cool thing is that everyone roots for one another! You actually forget it’s a competition until it’s time to actually eliminate someone, and all of the groups that survived are genuinely sad for the others to go!
The story of the show unfolds literally when the show starts. When each group starts up, you can see the amazing vocal skill resonate in your home! And, when done right, like when Jordan would handle his biz on the court, they make it look so effortless, when we all know in the back of our minds how hard it really is! Add that with having to learning choreography as well! And they have NOTHING to fall back on but themselves!
The story you see every single week is about dedication, passion and harmony, in more ways than one.
Next week, I’ll fill you guys in on how much these acts actually go through to prepare each week for the absolutely incredible performances you see on TV each week.
I’m glad so many of you are interested in hanging with me on the season finale. I’ll be sure to take you around the entire set and you introduce you to the acts my fellow judges and of course our heartthrob host (sorry Nick, but you know the ladies agree, lol).
Be safe guys, and I’ll holler next week!
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