BY JOHN KIESEWETTER
Nick Lachey knows his hometown loves reality TV, so he's counting on huge viewer voting to propel his Cincinnati ensemble into NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" finals this week.
"Call! Call! Call!" urges Lachey, 34, the celebrity leader of the local 20-voice choir in NBC's four-day holiday TV competition.
The Cincinnati singers will compete on live TV from New York with choirs and stars from Philadelphia (R&B star Patti LaBelle); New Haven, Conn. (pop singer Michael Bolton); Houston (Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child); and Oklahoma City (country musician Blake Shelton).
Only viewers' votes by phone and www.nbc.com will determine which four choirs advance Tuesday; which three perform in the Wednesday finals; and which one wins the contest Thursday.
Lachey believes that the huge reality TV appetite in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky last year helped his younger brother, Drew, win ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which was based on viewers' voting. Greater Cincinnati also has been CBS' No. 1 market for "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race."
"Cincinnati got behind Drew, and he won 'Dancing with the Stars.' That's how he did it. It sure wasn't through talent," Lachey says with a laugh.
Area viewers need to do the same for his choir, says the 1992 School for Creative & Performing Arts graduate who first found fame singing in 98° with Drew.
More than just bragging rights are at stake. If Cincinnati wins, Children's Hospital Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit will receive a cash prize from NBC.
Lachey also has promised the choir members they will record a song with him if they win the reality TV show.
"I'm a competitive guy, so I'm always feeling competitive. I wouldn't have agreed to do this if I didn't want to win it."• After the show, post your critique on John Kiesewetter's TV blog