Wednesday, December 16 2009, 5:34am EST
By Lara Martin, News Editor
With over ten million albums sold as part of '90s pop foursome 98 Degrees, Nick Lachey is no stranger to the pressures of the music world. After going on to carve out a solo career and produce the MTV series Taking The Stage, Lachey is revisiting his roots as the host of NBC's new talent competition The Sing Off, which pits eight aspiring a capella outfits against each other for the chance to win a coveted recording contract. We gave him a call to chat about the show, the possibility of a 98 Degrees reunion and his plans for the holiday season.
What's the show about?
"This is a reality competition about a capella music, so it's unlike some competitive shows that we've seen in the past which have background bands and music. This is all about the human voice and doing great arrangements of the song using only the human voice."
How did you get involved with it?
"In 98 Degrees we did a lot of a capella singing so it's always been a real passion of mine. When I heard they were doing a show about it, I really wanted to be a part of it and thankfully I was able to be the host, so it's very exciting and I think everybody out there is going to love the performances they will see."
What sets this apart from other singing competitions like American Idol?
"The biggest thing that sets it apart is that there is no safety net, no band, no background music. It's all about a capella. If these groups make a mistake it's going to be glaring, there is nowhere to hide. I think that definitely raises the stakes and certainly creates a lot more pressure, but at the same time, when it's done well, it's that more impressive."
What are you looking for in the winning group?
"It's everything from stage presence to performance to harmonies to blend and pitch - there's a lot of things that go into a great performance. These groups are all talented and that's why they are here but I think it's the group that combines all the elements together in a great performance that will win the competition."
You're hosting The Sing Off, but could you ever see yourself judging a talent competition?
"I'm actually thankful that I'm not a judge because it's going to be incredibly hard to pick just one group! I'm happy just to be the host and root for everybody! I'm not a brutally honest kind of guy so I think I'm better served as the host! Most of my stuff is on stage, acting as the emcee and bringing the audience in. Backstage I try to act as a support system for them and encourage them to have a great time and do a great show."
The judging panel includes Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Nicole Scherzinger - what do they bring to the table?
"They are all very accomplished in their own careers and own rights so they bring a lot of great wisdom and experience to the panel and it's great for these groups to get this feedback from them."
If this show had been around when 98 Degrees were just starting out do you think you would have entered?
"If we were an unsigned group at the time we would have done anything we could! We certainly would have been a part of it if we could have done!"
What would have been your killer audition song?
"Probably 'It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday' or 'In The Still Of The Night'."
Does being around all these a capella groups make you nostalgic for the days of 98 Degrees?
"It does, yeah. Seeing these groups performing together and doing the a capella definitely does make me reminisce for our days in the group, so I kind of got the itch a little bit."
So a reunion could be on the cards one day?
"You never know! We always kept that door wide open so we'll see!"
What else are you working on at the moment?
"I'm just putting the finishing touches on my next solo record which will come out next year and I'm working on my TV series Taking The Stage, which is going into its second season in mid-January. I have a lot of stuff going on, I'm trying to stay busy and I'm just enjoying my time here with The Sing Off."
Finally, any plans for Christmas and the New Year?
"I'm just spending the holidays with family. I think that's what the holidays are all about, being with the people you love and care about and for me, that's my family."
The Sing Off continues tonight and tomorrow night on NBC