On the Rocks, on national TV

UO a cappella group competes on "The Sing-Off," a reality show airing in December

University of Oregon students — as well as millions of YouTube viewers — know all about On the Rocks, and how fun and how infectious their music is.

Soon, the rest of the country will get a chance to see how the all-male a cappella group from the UO stacks up against other singing groups from across the country.

On the Rocks has been selected to compete on the second season of “The Sing-Off,” a five-episode reality show airing in December on NBC. The group will compete against nine other a cappella groups for a $100,000 prize and a Sony Music recording contract.

The show, hosted by Nick Lachey, airs from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 6, 8, 13, and 15, with a live finale Dec. 20.

The 15 members of On the Rocks auditioned for the program in Los Angeles last June, learned they had been selected in July, and went back to LA in August to tape the episodes, said group member Alex Horwitch, a junior. The members were sworn to secrecy, however, on how they did on the show, he said.

“It was a very inspiring experience,” he said.

On the Rocks was picked to appear on the show for its musical talent, to be sure, but also because of the popularity of their videos, most notably a performance of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” that has been viewed nearly 7 million times on YouTube since last spring.

“The viral video didn’t hurt,” Horwitch said. “It definitely played a role in our popularity.”

The video exploded in popularity after actor Ashton Kutcher recommended the video to his 6 million followers on Twitter, and then again when pop idol Joe Jonas retweeted Kutcher, Horwitch said.

The video’s popularity has boosted sales of the group’s fifth CD, called “A Fifth,” available on iTunes.

On the Rocks, founded in 1999, is one of three a cappella groups on campus. Divisi is an all-female group founded in 2001. Mind the Gap is a co-ed group founded in 2007.

The groups perform Friday afternoons, starting at 3:45 p.m. in the amphitheater outside Erb Memorial Union.

— Contact Web reporter Tim Christie at timc@uoregon.edu