NBC has tapped five musical superstars -- Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, Kelly Rowland and Blake Shelton to embark on a musical challenge - to create America's "greatest" choir on NBC's newest live competition show Clash of the Choirs, airing live over four nights from New York. This live event will premiere on December 17th and continue through December 20th as choirs are voted off by viewers at home. A host will be announced shortly.
These musicians may have topped the Billboard charts, but they have no idea what lies ahead as they try to bring together *20 individually gifted singers from each of their hometown cities in a compressed period of time - a daunting task for the celebrities as they travel home to audition the gifted but amateur singers; deal with choir members from very different musical backgrounds and different kinds of vocal training, to create the pitch perfect harmonizing we come to think of when we think of the best and most famous choirs. Add in live performances from New York and you have a high-octane competition that might throw off the most polished musical virtuosos.
The live four night event, produced by BBC Worldwide Productions, will have its two-hour premiere on Monday, December 17 (8-10 p.m. ET) and will air Tuesday, December 18 (8-9 p.m. ET), Wednesday, December 19 (also a two-hour episode from 8-10 p.m. ET) with the final competition and naming of the "greatest choir" on Thursday, December 20 (8-9 p.m. ET).
Choirs will be eliminated one by one, until the competition comes down to three choirs on the last evening. Following each choir performance, the alternate celebrity choirmasters and a musical expert will provide commentary critiquing each choir's performance. Ultimately, the fate of the choirs rest with viewers watching at home as they judge the choir hopefuls each night. Viewers will have the opportunity to vote via phone or at www.nbc.com.
Michael Bolton will be going back to his hometown of New Haven, CT; Patti LaBelle will return to her hometown in Philadelphia, PA; Nick Lachey will be going home to Cincinnati, OH; Kelly Rowland will be returning to Houston, TX; and Blake Shelton will be going back to Oklahoma City, OK.
This dynamic group of musicians have an impressive number of album sales to note - combined they have sold over 200 million albums worldwide. The stakes are high for these accomplished singers, as they perform live on national television for the opportunity to win a grand prize that will benefit their hometown - what better way to give back during the holiday season.
The winning choir, along with the hometown celebrity musician, will become instant hometown heroes, by choosing a prize to help their community -- anything from renovating a school gym to an auditorium to a constructing a new neighborhood playground. This donated community prize will be a cause or project the winning celebrity is passionate about and will fulfill a community need.
Here are the basic ground rules: Bolton, LaBelle, Lachey, Rowland and Shelton will return to their respective hometown to help discover, nurture and direct a dynamic group of musically gifted, yet amateur singers. After assembling and rehearsing the choirs in their hometowns, the choirs will fly to New York to perform live on stage in a musical "sing off" competition over the course of four consecutive nights as America watches and judges from home. As choirmasters, each artist will be charged with training their choirs to bring the stage alive with the most energetic and vibrant performances in front of a live studio audience. Bolton, LaBelle, Lachey, Rowland and Shelton's individual style and charm will be finessed throughout the choreography, costumes and their overall stage presence. Ultimately, this fun and thrilling competition will be sure to inspire as the choirs sing a variety of musical selections from current hits to holiday classics.
"Everyone knows that music has the power to inspire and uplift, especially around the holidays," said Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment. "We have brought together an impressive roster of musicians, and they in turn have tapped some incredible local talent to share their musical gifts with the American public. For the musicians it's a chance to give back to the town that supported and nurtured them when they were starting out and for the choir members they become instant hometown heroes."
"We are over the moon that some of the world's most talented performers are taking part in a show that's set to be a high note of the holiday season," said Executive Producer Paul Telegdy, EVP Content & Production, BBC Worldwide America. " There's a tremendous amount at stake for these famous choirmasters competing for prizes for their home towns - it will make for a terrific show."
One of the most accomplished and celebrated artists in musical history, Michael Bolton has sold more than 53 million records, packed arena dates worldwide and has received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he has also been honored by his peers with two Grammy Awards for Best Male Vocalist and six American Music Awards. While known primarily as a performer - recognized for such R&B covers as "Dock of the Bay" and "When a Man Loves a Woman", as well as singing and recording with Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti and others - Bolton is an award-winning songwriter.
During more than 40 years, Patti Labelle's strong and soulful voice has left its mark on songs on hit lists all over the world. This year she has released her magnificent album "Timeless Journey," where she really shows all young contenders that she's still among the best R&B singers ever. This Philadelphia born artist got her first hit as early as 1962, but it was with the trio LaBelle that she got the big hit with "Lady Marmalade," which has become one of her best-known songs.
Former member of the vocal group, 98 Degrees, recording artist Nick Lachey studied at the Cincinnati High School for the Creative and Performing Arts where he developed his musical abilities. Lachey released his first solo album, "SoulO" in 2003 in the midst of the fervor surrounding the hit MTV TV series, Newlyweds. In 2006, he released his second solo album entitled "What's Left of Me," which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and recently went gold. Lachey continues to be a presence on-screen with his credits including "Charmed," "Hope & Faith," and "The Hard Easy."
Kelly Rowland is a founding member of Destiny's Child. She has three Grammys to her credit, one for her #1 smash with Nelly, "Dilemma." Kelly's new album, "Miss Kelly," is in stores now.
Multi-platinum selling Warner Bros. recording artist Blake Shelton released his fourth studio album on May 1, 2007, titled "PURE BS" - that's pure Blake Shelton. His hits run the gamut from the sweet sentiments of his six-week #1 debut single, "Austin," and two additional multi-week #1 singles with "The Baby" and "Some Beach." Shelton sat in the role as judge for last season's "Nashville Star."