Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Sing-Off Fannin Friend Interview

A few weeks ago, I watched my co-worker Rachel perform with seven members of her family for millions of viewers, on The Sing-Off, a singing competition on NBC. I was very curious about the whole thing and thought you might be, too, so I asked Rachel for an interview. She was nice enough to agree, so here’s the scoop. But first, here's The Fannin Family’s performance on the show. [Rachel is the first girl on the right.]

How did you get involved in The Sing-Off? We’ve been singing together for years, just for fun, and had some of our videos on YouTube. One day in April, the producers of The Sing-Off saw one of our videos and invited us to audition for the show. We figured, “Why not?” especially because a few of my siblings are musicians or aspire to be so. For example, my oldest brother Jacob has two CD’s and is always working on new material.

How long did the process take, from the time they contacted you until the show aired?
We submitted our audition tape in early May and were chosen to be in the “Top 16” acts for the show in early June. In June and July, our involvement in the show was still a “secret,” but we communicated with Sing-Off producers often, via Skype and phone calls. They wanted to know that we were learning our material and preparing certain numbers for the first week of the show. In mid-July, three producers arrived in Hortonville and spent a few days filming our introduction and conducting one-on-one interviews. [You might be interested to know that the Fannins do not live on a farm, though their intro kind of implies that.]  In late July, we left for Los Angeles, where we were for about two weeks.

What were your days like in California?         
We pretty much focused on the show the whole time we were in California. We hit the ground running when we arrived, starting with a 3-hour meet-and-greet with the other groups. That night, we started large and small group rehearsals. Each day started around 8am and usually lasted until anywhere from 10pm to midnight. Because my younger sister is only 14 (and there are child labor laws) our group was offered more breaks; we got a few hours off here and there but didn’t really go anywhere to site see or anything like that.
Who did your choreography?
The show’s choreographers collaborated with us, giving us advice. They knew we pros or anything and didn’t try to force us to be something we’re not.

Did you get to keep your wardrobe?           
  Producers wanted a variety of colors in the wardrobes, and they offered us three color choices; in the end, the purple costumes were selected because it worked best with the color schemes of the other groups. No, we weren't invited to keep our outfits at the end.
What about your hair and makeup?
The producers chose our hairstyles; they had an idea of what image they wanted each group to portray, and ours was obviously “wholesome.” It was kind of funny, since most of us are clearly adults, but our hairstyles were very sweet and innocent. 
Was there anything about being on the show that surprised you?
The atmosphere was really relaxed. We got a lot of breaks, because the show isn't live. The taping of the entire show itself started about 6pm and took about five hours.  We didn’t have any expectations, really, because we’d never done anything like that before. It was an exciting experience.
What did you do when your group wasn’t performing?
       When we weren’t taping, we were doing run-throughs, mentally preparing, and having our hair and makeup done.  When we left the studio for any reason, it was always in vans driven by “wranglers” (a nickname for their escorts). Producers knew our whereabouts at all times.

Okay, now the question everyone is curious about: Did you get paid to be on the show?  How did all of that work?
The producers of the show understand that people are often leaving paid jobs to work with them for those two weeks.  They made sure that our time out there was made worthwhile and wouldn’t be too much of a burden on our wallets and bills
Anything else you’d like to add?
Before The Sing-off, I had only been on stage with a microphone once!  It’s a lot harder than it looks, hearing the echo of your voice while you’re singing; it takes some getting used to.  The other groups sang professionally all the time, and it showed. We knew we were out of our league, but we were okay with that. It was a great experience, and I’m glad we did it.

Thanks, Rachel! :)

1 comment:

  1. Great! They were very good, and your your interview was very thorough. ;)


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