Portland’s Michael Odokara-Okigbo added hip-hop to his musical resume Monday night, leading his singing group one step closer to winning a recording contract on national TV.

Odokara-Okigbo sang lead vocals on the danceable hip-hop hit “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida. The performance helped his college a cappella group — The Dartmouth Aires — advance to the next round of NBC’s talent show “The Sing-Off.”

Odokara-Okigbo and The Dartmouth Aires are now one of just seven groups left — out of 16 at the start of the season — vying for the grand prize of $200,000 in cash and a Sony Music contract.

“Michael, your voice is great,” said singer/songwriter Ben Folds, one of the judges. “That performance was so interesting. It turned into a polka there for a while.”

Odokara-Okigbo sang the melodic lead, while another group member rapped and the rest of the group sang backup and provided a vocal rhythm section. The other judges didn’t praise Odokara-Okigbo specifically, but said the overall group performance was great.

“I wrote down one word, swagger,” said pop singer Sara Bareilles, another judge. “I loved the energy. You’re enjoying yourselves and that’s fun to watch.”


Judge Shawn Stockman, of the R&B group Boyz II Men, said the group “kept the integrity” of the original song, while adding “your own vibe.”

The Dartmouth Aires have gotten much praise from the judges from week to week, with Odokara-Okigbo singing most of the leads.

On Monday’s episode — which was filmed in Hollywood earlier this year — Odokara-Okigbo was seen telling the camera he and his group mates were “nervous” about the song they chose to do.

The episode required all the groups to do a hip-hop song, and that genre is not something The Dartmouth Aires have had a lot of experience with.

“The Dartmouth Aires do primarily rock, so this is going to be a bit of a challenge,” said Odokara-Okigbo. “We’re definitely nervous.”

“Sing-Off” — a voice-only competition — will continue to air on Monday nights until the winner is announced Nov. 28. The Dartmouth Aires will sing again next week.


Odokara-Okigbo, a graduate of Waynflete School in Portland and a senior at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., has said his experience on the show has helped convince him he wants to pursue a career in music.

If he keeps leading his group to raves from the judges — and a win on the show — his career might begin when “Sing-Off” ends.

Star sings anthem, then bolts in 7th

Zooey Deschanel sang the national anthem Sunday at Game 4 of the World Series, playing it straight and remembering all the words.

Unlike Christina Aguilera and Cyndi Lauper — and even poor little Scotty McCreery, criticized just days ago by some who heard the words “No, Jose” rather than “Oh, say” before Game 1 — the “New Girl” star didn’t mess with success at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

But she left around the seventh.


“Would have loved to have watched the whole game but I had to catch a plane so I can go to work tomorrow,” Deschanel said on Twitter. “That’s all guys. I’m not a jerk.”

Rose might rise and shine on CBS

NEW YORK – PBS late-night interviewer Charlie Rose may soon be a morning person.

Rose acknowledged in an interview with Newsweek on Monday that he’s talked with CBS News about being a host on “The Early Show,” the two-hour competitor to NBC’s “Today” show and “Good Morning America” on ABC.

Rose said he’s intrigued that CBS wants to do its show differently, that it realizes success lies in not imitating competitors. “The Early Show” has taken a serious turn lately, emphasizing more political and international news.

The New York Post also reported that Gayle King of the Oprah Winfrey Network has talked to CBS about the morning show.


NPR host takes leave

WASHINGTON – NPR host Michele Norris said she is temporarily stepping down from the afternoon news show “All Things Considered” because her husband, Broderick Johnson, has taken a senior role in President Obama’s re-election campaign.



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