I get a lot. I’m not gonna sit here and lie and tell you that I don’t learn something from these groups, from these artists. I learn so much musically, I learn how far you can take music; the ideas, and the possibilities just by listening to them. It’s inspirational in the sense that I’m taking mental notes watching them and listening to them. Being still an active musician, I can’t help but to be inspired by sounds and I get to hear that for hours at this show. That’s just a treat for me, if anything I should be paying NBC, but I don’t want to give them any ideas (laughs). I enjoy all aspects, I love the fact that again I get to sit down with two other co-judges who I truly and utterly respect and listen to not only good music but their take on it. It’s all a learning experience, and at my age that’s what it’s about. It’s about learning and understanding and just getting more information to become a little bit smarter than you were before.
Which artist has surprised you with the most with how they’ve grown throughout the competition?
To be honest, the Dartmouth Aires, the college guys. They’ve surprised me because I honestly didn’t think that they would have as much diversity as they have had. After awhile I thought that I was going to get tired of them doing all the jumping around and things of that nature. They’ve shown that they are so much more than that. They’ve shown that they can be serious artists and that they can really change it up. They’re probably one of the most diverse groups in the whole competition and I think they are going to go really far.
The Sing-Off deals in religion more than most reality shows, why is that?
Reality. You know, people believe, people have beliefs, and people have philosophies and things that they follow. That’s just as real as anything else on television. You know a lot of people tend to shy away from that for some reason, but to be honest that’s real life. That’s what goes on, people go to church, and people worship, and people pray, and people do all of those things, that’s okay. It’s a normal occurrence. It happens all the time.
Can you talk about having the boys from BYU singing hip-hop?
You know those boys actually surprised me. That’s another group of guys who thoroughly surprised me, because you think BYU and you only think one thing. Maybe two things, you think Mormon and you think Donnie and Marie, that’s pretty much as far as it goes. You know, those guys actually show true diversity as well. They flip it and they know how to flip it, they have their niche and they know how to bring a song to life. They really get into it and they understand what a capella music is all about. That’s what makes them fun to watch as well. They’re good clean, good-looking kids who can sing their behinds off and that’s the cool thing about them. I love those guys from BYU, Vocal Point is off the hook.
Click here to check out an interview with Season 2 winners Committed!
Were they what you expected coming from BYU?
Honestly, outside of what I knew of them, I didn’t expect much of anything. These past few seasons of the show have shown me to expect the unexpected. What you think might happen may not happen at all, and you’ll definitely see that this season. We’re midway in but you’re gonna see a lot of things that a lot of people might not have thought would happen as far as who goes home and who stays. Like, you just don’t know, and that’s what makes this show fun and so interesting. A lot of times after all the performers are done and we’ve gotta decide who stays and who goes, sometimes it’s a freakin’ headache because everybody is so good. You have to judge things on a different perspective, not necessarily the obvious thing, because it’s not so obvious who’s bad and who isn’t because everybody is good. We have to figure it out in some sort of way and it’s tough sometimes.
What are the hurdles of doing hip hop with a capella?
This whole competition now, as it gets deeper into it, obviously we’re narrowing it down to the best of the best and this is one of the moments where they have to really show their diversity. This is all about the Sony contract and scoring the record deal, so in order to get it they have to show that they can be diverse enough as an a capella group to do different styles of music. It’s already a hard enough job that they are doing an intricate form of music, in order to appeal to the masses they have to be able to do certain things that the masses enjoy. This is why we do the hip hop thing, to see if they can handle the pressure.
Is there anything that they will have to work on especially with their voices?
Well you know hip hop is drum and bass, they can’t be thin at all, they can’t sound like the Carpenters (laughs). No disrespect to the Carpenters, I love the Carpenters, but in this case they have to bring some attitude, just the feel or the flavor of hip hop.