MU singing group to audition for NBC's 'Sing-off'

Sunday, September 13, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:44 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 16, 2009

COLUMBIA — An MU vocal group that performs everything from "Hips Don't Lie" to a medley from "The Lion King" has a chance for breakout stardom on national TV.

NBC producer James Ehlers contacted Add9, the a cappella group, in August and asked them to audition for the upcoming show “The Sing-Off,” set to air Dec. 14.

The show gives eight a cappella groups a chance to compete and ultimately win a Sony recording contract. If Add9 makes the cut, they will travel to Los Angeles in November to record the show.

Ehlers discovered the group on YouTube and was struck by their unusual vocals.

“All the different styles they perform kept my attention and made me want to listen to more,” he said.

Whether performing classical hits, Disney medleys, Montel Jordan’s “This is How We Do It,” or Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” the group presents a wide variety of musical covers in their concerts.

“I saw them perform the Disney medley and it’s hysterical," Ehlers said. "They stood out to me because not only are their vocals great, but they have fun and are entertaining to watch.”

Most of the members were trained classically but say they participate in Add9 because of the flexibility and independence an a cappella group offers.

“It’s really fun. Add9 is a musical outlet that is not so structured, and we have the opportunity to branch out and choose other types of music,” said Drake Douglas, an MU junior. “We really pride ourselves in the different styles of music we perform.”

Eight of the current 13 members are traveling to Chicago on Monday for a priority 10:45 a.m. audition at Superior Street rehearsal facility. Members include Douglas, sophomore Ryan Cooper, junior Tyler Filmore, senior Cedric Cunigan, junior Brandon Mills, sophomore Cole Mather, junior Andrew Lang and senior Jazz Rucker.

For the audition, Add9 will perform "Starlight" by Muse and a Disney medley arranged by Jordan Black. The group has been rehearsing  for two weeks preparing the two songs for the audition. They have no more than three minutes for each song to effectively convey their talent.

Auditions have been held in New York and will be held in Atlanta and Los Angeles after the stop in Chicago.

Douglas and the group members see the show as an opportunity that will only be beneficial, even if they are not selected to compete.

“The worst that can happen from the experience is that we will become a much better and more professional group,” Douglas said.

Add9 will be notified the second week of October if they are selected for the show.

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