sing off judges 'The Sing Off' judges talk ratings, 'The X Factor' and choosing a winner

Frontrunners Pentatonix rightfully ended up taking the title in “The Sing-Off’s” third season finale Monday night (Nov. 28), but judges Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and Shawn Stockman all agreed after the show that they were relieved the final decision wasn’t up to them. 
“I’m really happy we didn’t have to choose,” Bareilles tells Zap2it. “To be honest, this would’ve been really, really hard for us.”
Folds admits that at a certain point, the judging could’ve gone any way.

“Honestly, I was tired of walking out of here choosing these groups. Sick of it,” he says. “I think they’re all great. Really, after the first or second week, I threw my hands up. We just picked someone who made me feel good at that moment that I felt we could put out there. Then we look back and see two weeks ago and go ‘Oh man, I forgot about that group.’

He continued: “Vocal Point, tonight, when they sang out of their box, I was joking to Shawn — I leaned over and went ‘Oops.’ I mean, they’re so good. How do you choose?”

Folds’ biggest issue with choosing a winner is deciding exactly what criteria on which to judge the groups. “If it’s about just purest harmonies, purity of arrangement? Afro Blue wins,” he says. “If it’s on commercial, driving a song home, being able to navigate loads of circumstances, to sell records and touch people? Pentatonix. Awesome.”

Stockman is ultimately happy with America’s decision, though.

“Seeing all the performances from episode one, they were the most innovative, they were the most risky,” he tells Zap2it. “They took a a song and they went for it. They didn’t have any reservations about it, they did whatever they needed to do to impress the people. That’s what I liked about them. Not to mention they can sing! They can sing their asses off. That always helps. [Laughs.]”

This season of “The Sing-Off” was much longer than past years, showcasing 16 groups over the fall TV season instead of eight or 10 during a December run. Although the show’s ratings weren’t too stellar, Stockman is happy that people had more time to get involved and choose their favorite groups.

“We never went into this expecting to get ‘Dancing With the Stars’ numbers or ‘Two and a Half Men’ numbers. These are phenomenons,” he explains. “These are huge, huge shows. We’re still up-and-comers. So for us to extend the season, if anything I thought it was genius because it gave people the opportunity to see this on a regular basis.”

Critically, the judges on “The Sing-Off” seem more well-versed in music than judges on other TV singing competitions, but Folds, who hasn’t really seen shows like “The X Factor,” argues that it’s just the nature of the a cappella medium.

“If you put the judges on the other shows in our position, it would make them better judges because people like LA Reid know music,” said Folds. “Simon Cowell knows music. I know Nicole Scherzinger well, she knows music. These people would have to come up with more constructive things to say because musical circumstances would enforce that.”

Posted by:Jean Bentley