'The Sing-Off' Finale: And the Winner Is ...
'The Sing-Off' Finale: And the Winner Is ...
Last week the judges sent four groups to the finale instead of three, making America's decision one group more difficult. I don't really know who will win tonight. I think it will be between Street Corner Symphony and Committed, probably Committed. That's my prediction. I really don't know what's going on with all the group fashion tonight; for whatever reason The Backbeats always get the most heinous outfits.

The group number featured the judges! Well, not really, but they each got a little shout-out. Everyone except Nick Lachey, who cried a silent tear in the wings. Each group gets icicle lights hanging over their little boxes tonight, and the eliminated groups are back to help cheer on the finalists. Tonight the groups will be performing with superstars. I hope I like it better than this episode last season.

Committed plus Boyz II Men plus "Motown Philly" = Merry Christmas to me. Shawn Stockman loves it but, and I hate to say this, Committed sounds better than the Men. I guess America has already made up its mind and this is just for our enjoyment, though. I'll put away my judgment cap. I think Shawn had the best time of all, "I've still got it," he though to himself.
The Whiffenpoofs took us to break with the song that sent them home. Hm. Not The Sing-Off's finest hour.

The Backbeats are performing with Sara Bareilles. But you know who doesn't have to wear hot pink or a heinous rhinestone jacket? Sara Bareilles. They're performing "King of Anything" and it sounds good enough. Does anyone else sense that this show is just sort of the sigh-of-relief where everyone phones it in a little bit? Maybe I just have a cold and that's why things are sounding a little looser. But at the end of the day, the more Kenton the better, and I love Sara Bareilles.

Ohhhh Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town are singing with Nicole Scherzinger. This was Jerry Lawson's reaction (which was probably cut off at the end): "Oh my god I can't believe it--" But what Nicole lacks in coherency she makes up for in singing talent, so their performance of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" should be fun. Check out Jerry Lawson's sweet Christmas getup, complete with a striped cane! Okay, Nicole's weirdness is seeping through. She looked a little dead in the eyes and she's decided to talk as much like Diana Ross as possible but it just comes off strange. She's enjoying this a lot more than Jerry Lawson, who is just doing her a favor. The arrangement felt a little bare to me, and it looks like I've accidentally put my judgment cap back on! At least they didn't have Talk of the Town covering a Pussycat Dolls song.

Ben Folds and Street Corner Symphony had better be good! I'm counting on them as one of my favorite groups and my favorite judge. Ben Folds put on his little paperboy hat to fit in better. It seems like they're vibing well together. I really liked their performance of "Gone," even without Ben at a piano. It was my favorite performance so far, but you can still tell that Ben Folds is the odd man out on the judging panel, in demeanor alone. It ended with Nick Lachey doing a terrible Ben Folds impression, complete with glasses. Not his finest moment.

Sheryl Crow is performing "Long Road Home" with The Backbeats and Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town. A mouthful for Nick Lachey. It was interesting how he said she combines acapella with acoustic guitar, is it still acapella then? Oh well, it's a big fancy results show, it doesn't matter. Sheryl Crow got into the spirit with a rhinestone jacket.

YES, we finally got to hear Nick Lachey sing a little! It was part of a pointless montage but we got what we came for.

Neil Diamond is singing "Ain't No Sunshine" with Committed and Street Corner Symphony. Okay. Am I allowed to find Neil Diamond a little hilarious?

Oh yes, Nick Lachey threatens that he "just might join in" on a song himself. But first another painful montage about Christmas. The highlight: Nicole saying, "Baby Jesus's birthday woohoo!" And THEN FINALLY Nick Lachey sings a Christmas song with all the groups and the night finally starts for me. Christmas songs! The Backbeats in much, much better outfits! Snow! Nick Lachey looking slightly unsure of himself! This is the first song from tonight that I want to download. Thank you, Sing-Off!

The Backbeats go to Hope Gardens to help out and sing. It was pretty darn touching. Then they sang "Firework" by Katy Perry and though I don't like that song, I liked their arrangement of it and the context. And of course I like that it featured Kenton. Kenton, last chance, can we be friends? Is anyone else seeing certain members of The Backbeats for the first time tonight? I feel like I've never seen some of those guys before. Then Nicole started talking about ice cream. Things are back to normal!

Committed is going back to school to visit the After School All-Stars. Their song of hope is "Hold My Hand" by Michael Jackson and Akon. Mmm. Mmhm. This is what they were working on this week, not the superstar performances. I could see them winning; they sounded SO good. It made Ben happy and made Nicole cry. Going, going, gone.

Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town visited Ability First and they're singing "Love Train." I love these guys but I don't think they'll win. They will be fine without this competition. While Jerry Lawson is on the Love Train, Nicole has already arrived at Paula Abdul Station. The judges tell JL&ToT that they are basically doing them a favor just by being there. Respect!

In the last song/clip package of hope, Street Corner Symphony brings guitars to the Little Kids Rock charity. That was pretty cool. Is it wrong that I think part of what makes SCS great is that they've been beaten down by life a little? They're singing "Fix You" for the win! Oh, it's clean! A little spare snow from Nick Lachey's number falls on the stage and it's great. Hey, what are members from the other groups doing there? So only SCS doesn't get their own full number? Oh well, I can live with it since it was totally beautiful.

Time for the first elimination! The first group out is Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town. But it's okay! Everyone's a winner tonight! They sang "Hit the Road, Jack" for their swan song and it was pretty cool. I think it's okay that they were eliminated because I didn't want to risk seeing Jerry Lawson physically fall apart on stage. He was just making me a little nervous. The second group eliminated is The Backbeats. Who will win? I think I want it to be Street Corner Symphony but I feel like it will be Committed. Kenton, I will miss you! The Backbeats sang "Goodbye To You" as their swan song.

After two clip packages featuring the final two groups, we will finally find out the winners! Well, first a commercial break, as On The Rocks sings us out with "The Final Countdown." Appropriate! Wouldn't it be cool if Nick Lachey declared himself the winner then escaped on a zip line? It's my Christmas wish.

And the winner is ... Committed!
I would have been happy either way, and I feel like Street Corner Symphony has a bright future ahead of them. Nick Lachey presents Committed witha  cheap trophy that they could care less about, and a recording contract that they definitely care about. Committed tells us that they plan on touring with some of the groups soon (YAY!).

Street Corner Symphony sings their swan song (a perfect-sounding "Drift Away") and I was secretly half-hoping Nick Lachey would try to sneak in and join them because he was dressed to match. Unfortunately, my recording cut off before I could hear Committed's "We Are the Champions," but I bet it was great. Congratulations to all the groups, this was a really great season!

(image courtesy of NBC)