On the Rocks to compete in NBC's 'The Sing-Off'
Unless you’re new to campus or have been living under a rock for the past six months, you’ve probably heard about On the Rocks’ version of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which went viral in April and now has more than seven million views on YouTube.
And just like any other Friday afternoon, more than 200 people crowded into the EMU Amphitheater last week to watch the University’s men’s a cappella choir perform. But this time, baritone Alex Horwitch had a special announcement.
This December, the members of last year’s On the Rocks will be on the NBC reality show “The Sing-Off,” competing against nine other a cappella groups from across the country for a prize of $100,000 and a recording contract from Sony Music.
After so many fans sent the “Bad Romance” video to NBC, the network contacted On the Rocks and asked the group to audition in Los Angeles on June 7.
“They told us to prepare three minutes of music, so we prepared one minute of three different songs,” senior Neil Ghosh said. “We tried to make it as high energy as possible, and after the audition they actually asked us to sing a little extra.”
The secret to their high appeal is to make sure the audience is involved with each show.
“The audience loves getting involved,” Horwitch, a junior, said. “We have inside jokes; we dance; we have great chemistry. Jason (Remschel) and I may have an inside joke; we want the audience to feel involved too,” he explained. “We’re a really tight group of friends.”
Nearly half of last year’s group graduated in June, but On the Rocks has since found four new members to replace them.
“We picked up a lot of talented new guys,” Ghosh said. “Even though we lost a lot of members, it’s been a really seamless transition this year.”
“The new members are really focused and learning the music quickly,” Horwitch said.
Will Cuddy, a freshman tenor, said On the Rocks is completely different than what he expected, in a good way.
“I just feel like I’m part of something that’s a lot bigger than I expected it to be,” Cuddy said. “Something on a global scale. That’s exciting.”
Cuddy became interested in On the Rocks when he saw the group perform at the Oregon Thespians State Conference at South Eugene High School in April.
“The auditions for On the Rocks were in May, which didn’t work out because I live in Portland,” Cuddy said.
His luck changed during his first week at the University when he saw a flier saying auditions were at noon Oct. 2 — which was that day.
“I checked the time and it was 11:52 a.m. and decided to go for it, and made it,” Cuddy said.
Up next for On the Rocks is the annual Civil War Showcase against Oregon State University’s men’s a cappella choir in Corvallis. On Nov. 6, the group travels to Berkeley, Calif., as the only Oregon school group to compete in the West Coast A Cappella Showcase. The repertoire for the showcase will include the group’s newest song, “Senorita” by Justin Timberlake, “Bad Romance” and an original song, “Afloat.”
“The Sing-Off” airs Dec. 6, 8, 13 and 15 from 8-10 p.m. on NBC, with a live finale Dec. 20.
“It’s huge exposure,” Horwitch said. “No matter what the outcome, it’s great for us and it’s great for U of O.”
Janet Avila-Medina contributed to this report.