*NBC is preparing for the Sept. 19, 9 p.m. arrival of it’s a cappella showcase “The Sing-Off,” and returning judge Shawn Stockman of Boys II Men says nothing has changed as far as what he’s looking for in a winner.
“You can be technically sound with a cappella music, meaning that you can hit every note correctly, you can do all the chords and all of the major thirds, fifths and all that other stuff well, but with music, period, it has to have a soul. It has to have a certain type of heart and a certain type of feeling that goes with the actual sound,” he told TV critics last month in Beverly Hills.
“And the judges, we still have a spirit that has to be touched, as well, so we use that as well as our ears,” he added.
That soul connection, Stockman says, is how the gospel-rooted crooners Committed earned the crown last season.
“Committed, they’re connected, and you could tell,” said Stockman. “The reaction was not just something that we felt, but the audience felt. They just translated so well across the TV screen.”
“Although a lot of those acts, who were good in their own right, they sounded well, but it was all a matter of just how it felt as well,” he continued. “You know, the reaction that you get when you first hear a certain type of harmony structure come at your ears and you get those chill bumps. All those things still come into play as we sit there.”
In the audio bonus below, Stockman explains how he and the other members of Boys II Men “didn’t even like each other” when they began singing in Philly’s Broad Street subway station, but were so moved by the harmonies they created together that their differences didn’t matter.