Home Free win "The Sing-Off" Season [photo: NBC]
But Christmas truly came early for the merriest group of all, country crooners Home Free, who were crowned Season 4's "Sing-Off" champs — beating out seasoned pro backup singers Ten and real-life high school gleeks Vocal Rush for a Sony recording contract and $100,000 in Christmas cash, after performing a winning rendition of Hunter Hayes's "I Want Crazy."
Were Home Free — as chosen by the judges, not by America's vote — the right winners? Well, I'm still a bit surprised that the Filharmonic narrowly missed making this season's finale; I'd predicted two weeks ago that they'd take the prize, since they seemed to possess the same youthful appeal of "The Sing-Off's" biggest breakouts, Season 3 winners Pentatonix (who performed on Monday's finale and sounded as herald-angelic as ever). But two weeks ago, I'd also predicted that Home Free, surprisingly the first country crew to ever compete on "The Sing-Off," might be the act with the most commercial appeal. "I wouldn't be surprised if these guys eventually landed a record deal, even if they don't win this show," I wrote. But the Minnesota good ole boys did win this show, so their future seems especially bright now.
Congrats to Home Free, to all 10 crews, and to NBC for having the good sense to bring back this delightful show! Let's hope NBC makes "The Sing-Off" a Christmas tradition from now on, and until then, watch the finale's most Christmassy moments below...plus performances by the aforementioned Pentatonix and Pat Benatar with husband Neil Giraldo, since their voices are all miraculous in their own ways.