Good news for fans of Ben Folds, cheesy choreography, strong vocals and weepy backstories: The Sing-Off, the sweet little a cappella show that could, will be launched into a full-fledged weekly reality competition, NBC announced at its upfront presentation on Monday. The network also confirmed that new hit The Voice will return for a second season in January, expressing confidence in its plan for a year-round schedule of music competition shows, rounded out by America's Got Talent, which premieres in June.
If you haven't watched already, set your DVRs for Monday nights this fall. The Sing-Off is a completely guilt-free pleasure for those who love interesting musical arrangements and good performances (O.K. fine, music nerds). But can it hold its own against the Simon Cowell-led X Factor machine? Hosted by former 98 Degrees star Nick Lachey, who could benefit from the Mark McGrath School of T.V. Hosting, The Sing-Off explores the lesser known world of a cappella, with groups of all ages—from college co-eds to veteran barbershop quartets—competing for a recording contract. The groups range in size and gender, and mix Top 40 hits with both classics and guilty pleasures. Of course, right now NBC will be looking to fill the empty seat at its judges table (oh no, not that again!) now that Nicole Scherzinger has been swept up by Cowell to host X Factor, also premiering this fall. It's not a huge loss for either party—instead of struggling to spew faux criticisms, Nicole can let her girlish squeals and flirtatious looks run rampant—but who will fill the seat in between Ben Folds and Boyz II Men's Shawn Stockman? Both men have seriously impressed viewers with their helpful critiques and detailed knowledge of a cappella. With that in mind, should the Peacock look to pick up one of Cowell's high-profile X Factor contenders?—Taylor Momsen's schedule is pretty open—or, judging again by the success of The Voice, go with one of their own ideas? And if NBC is really feeling confident, why stop there? Go for the top... Lady Gaga it is! That shouldn't be too difficult.
Here's a look at The Sing-Off's 2010 winners, Committed: