Fans mourning Glee's winter hiatus have something to look forward to: NBC's The Sing-Off (premiering Monday at 8/7c). Nick Lachey hosts the four-night a cappella singing competition that features eight groups battling for a $100,000 prize and an Epic Records/Sony recording contract. Judging The Sing-Off are Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. TVGuide.com spoke to Lachey about the show and why his hosting gig has made him miss 98 Degrees.
TVGuide.com: What sets The Sing-Off apart from the rest of the singing shows out there?
Nick Lachey: This is an a cappella competition so there's no band, no background music — it's just about the human voice. There's a lot of extra pressure that goes along with that, but at the same time when it's done well it's even that much more impressive to hear a great a cappella performance.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think shows like Idol, Glee and Sing-Off strike such a chord with viewers?
Lachey: People loved to be entertained; love to recognize true talent. People at home are going to be blown away by the performances they see and hear [and] to think that these performances are done only with the voice, I think people are going to find that hard to believe but it's absolutely true.
TVGuide.com: What are your duties as host?
Lachey: My role as a host is to walk everyone through the show and be the M.C. of sorts, but at the same time I try to be a real support system for these guys. These groups are under a lot of pressure and I try to encourage them to have a good time, try and keep them loose where I can and just be supportive.
TVGuide.com: Do you have a favorite of the groups?
Lachey: I like them all; they're like all my children. We've got barbershop quartets, we've got more Latin-flavored groups, glee club-type groups, all female groups. They're all very different, but at the same time the talent is very consistent so I know that no matter who wins it's going to be a very deserving group.
TVGuide.com: What advice do you have for the competitors?
Lachey: My advice is kind of the same for all performers. When you get on that stage it's your one shot to give it all you got and so don't have any regrets. Don't leave anything behind; lay it all out on the line. As long as you gave it your all, you can't look at it and never regret something you didn't do.
TVGuide.com: Do you miss performing in a group?
Lachey: Being a part of this show has definitely made me miss the group performance and made me miss a cappella singing because in 98 Degrees we did a lot of that. It's definitely rekindled the fire for group harmony.
TVGuide.com: Any surprises we can look forward to?
Lachey: Well, you've got to tune in to find out! I can say they'll be some great guests as part of the show and aside from the guests just the groups. The performances are phenomenal and everyone is going to really enjoy it, I have no doubt about that.
TVGuide.com: What's up next after The Sing-Off?
Lachey: I'm a producer of a show I created called Taking the Stage on MTV that's going into its second season here in January, and actually working on my own music at the same time.
TVGuide.com: Is there anything you'd like to do that you haven't?
Lachey: At some point the only other thing I'd like to do is host a sports talk radio show.
TVGuide.com: Any chance you'll return to One Tree Hill?
Lachey: I don't know. When you play yourself on a show it's kind of difficult to reprise that role. I don't know that it makes sense to come back and pay another visit to One Tree Hill but I had great times, great cast and great show. It was a lot of fun.