Our jaws dropped. Shock turned to disbelief, which turned to rage at the injustice. How could Face have been booted in the first round from nationally televised a cappela competition, ‘The Sing-Off?’ Kathryn Bernheimer reacts.

Face Offed in Face Off

Our jaws dropped. Shock turned to disbelief, which turned to rage at the injustice. How could Face have been booted in the first round from nationally televised a cappela competition, ‘The Sing-Off?’

We are admittedly die-hard Face fans and have been following this Boulder musical phenomenon from their beginnings as an all vocal rock band that defy the conventions and expectations of the a cappella music genre. But seriously, how could anyone, let alone “professional” judges, fail to recognize their talent, originality and infectious appeal?

Yet they inexplicably lost to a screechy group of Mormons, a vapid Christian group and a talented group of Puerto Ricans who kicked off with a very laid-back song? Could it have been the costumes or choreography that were foisted upon them by the producers? Certainly it was not the musicianship of their rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.” In fact, based on both the judges’ comments and the reaction of the crowd, Face was not low man on the musical totem pole.

Apparently it was not only Face’s large local fan base that was shocked by this upset defeat. The NBC website overflows with comments from viewers across the country baffled by the judges’ decision. Even the New York Times’s article about the ambitious NBC series took umbrage at Face’s early dismissal.

But once you get past the outrage and before you pity this deserving sextet, whose chance at a $100,000 and a Sony record deal was so cruelly dashed, consider the good news. Face was deemed one of the top eight acapella groups in the nation and made it on the show, seen by seven million viewers. Who knows who might have been watching with enough smarts to recognize their talent even if they only got to sing one song? A career boost is still very possible. Their website has recorded an exponential increase in hits. Locally, their star has soared, with shows selling out in record time.

So while I am still stunned and angered that Face did not get the chance to show their versatility and musical power with subsequent contest performances, I take heart that Face stood up and faced the music like the pros they are. I know good things lie ahead for these great guys, just as surely as I know they will ditch the green flannel shirts.

Oh yes, on Monday night the final three will perform, having already been voted on by the public. Unbelievable, Voices of Lee (I thought it was Voices of Glee until I saw it in print) is still in the running. My vote will go to Nota, a solid and musically interesting group, even though I love the showmanship of the Beelzebubs, Tufts’ energetic boy band.

Will I watch? Yes, for one simple reason. When all is said and done, “The Sing-Off” could be very good for a cappella, and that too stands to benefit Face.

Click here to view the Face performance. Click here to learn more about Face.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time." kathryn.bernheimer@gmail.com

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  1. I haven't heard Face, but I have seen a live performance by another 6 man a-capella group called "Take Six", that sing their own jazz arrangements of Gospel songs. When they were done, I thought about converting– that is how good they are.

  2. I couldn't believe the "face-off" either. Based on their perfomance vis-a-vis the other 3 in their group they should have gone on. To me, they were clearly better than the Morman group (especially) and somewhat better than than Lee–who has gotten better in future performances. In my opinion the judges were putting more of a premium on the visual aspect of the routines than I would have. Although that wouldn't explain how Maxx Factor got through. That being said, there is no way, in the long run, they would have beaten NOTA on pure vocal perfomance or Beezlebub's combination of showmanship and ability.

    If FACE wasn't on I wouldn't have watched the show. But I got hooked on acapella after watching all these talented groups. I think NOTA clips Beezlebub in a close vote.