BYU Noteworthy made a cappella history for Brigham Young University when they were asked to compete in NBC’s televised a cappella challenge, <I>The Sing Off</I>.BYU Noteworthy made a cappella history for Brigham Young University when they were asked to compete in NBC’s televised a cappella challenge, The Sing Off. Noteworthy, a group of nine talented women enrolled at BYU, were excited about the opportunity, although the taping of the show was scheduled right before BYU’s finals week.
Laina Walker, a Noteworthy member from Sandy, UT, said before the show, “Flying back and forth for finals, with rehearsals for the show, it’s going to be hard, but at the same time, it will make it that much more rewarding.”
The Sing Off was a four-part program, which aired December 14, 15, and 16 with the live finale on December 21, with Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees as the host, and judges Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman, of Boyz II Men, and Nicole Scherzinger, of the Pussycat Dolls. NBC chose eight of the nation’s top a cappella groups to participate out of thousands who auditioned. Other competitors included the all-male group Nota from Puerto Rico, who won the competition on Monday's finale, the Beelzebubs from Tufts University, and Maxx Factor, a women’s barbershop quartet from Baltimore.
Groups competed for the chance to win $100,000 and an Epic Records/Song Music contract.
Noteworthy began at Brigham Young University in January 2004, and have since become immensely successful. They perform often on their own campus and at other venues, and their debut album, On the Horizon, was released in 2006 and was nominated for a Contemporary A cappella Recording Award. In 2007 they were named champions at the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella.
While introducing their group on the show, Noteworthy didn’t have any qualms about telling the audience about their faith, but they made a point they didn’t want to exclude people from their music because of religion. Instead, they want everyone to enjoy their music, no matter what their background.
“When people come to see Noteworthy, our goal is not to force people to believe in something, but just to give them hope,” said Amy Whitcomb, a member from Longwood, FL. “What we sing defines us. We want as much variety as possible, but if there is swearing, or any type of innuendo, we just don’t do it.”
Even by limiting their music selection to wholesome music, the girls manage to have a lot of fun. Their performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” on the show premiere was wildly popular.
“We just thought [participating in The Sing Off] would be a great opportunity to show the world what Noteworthy can do; we’re just so proud of where we are now, compared to where we were five years ago [when Noteworthy got started],” said Kelsey Raps, from Wrightwood, CA.
One of the three judges, American singer-songwriter Ben Folds, complimented their talents after their first Sign Off performance: “You’ve got so much of the top dynamic, and that’s a gift.” Of course, he jokingly added in a little tease about their prominent LDS faith: “Maybe a little more cussing would have been good.”
BYU Noteworthy made it to the top six competitors and was then removed from the competition after the “Guilty Pleasures” song round, where they sang Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.” They left the stage while singing their swan song, “Happy Ending” by Mika.
However, Noteworthy holds no grudges. On their website, the group writes, “We had so much fun on the show and we have no regrets in the way everything turned out. It was an absolutely life changing experience for each of the girls and we couldn’t be happier.”
To hear their music and learn more about their group, visit their website at noteworthyladies.com.