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August 26, 2006

Sing a song about cookies

Los Angeles Times (CA):

There's magic at the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Anything can happen in that Bermuda Triangle of craziness, home to the Kodak Theatre, the giant bean bag store Love Sac and competing Chuckie impersonators. Anything. What happened Thursday morning was a weird little media event to announce the winner of Nabisco's contest to reinterpret the Oreo cookie jingle. The proud winners a women's barbershop quartet from San Diego performed their version while the contest's host, "American Idol's" Randy Jackson, watched from the sidelines. There were a handful of television cameras, two handfuls of security guards, a smattering of confused tourists scanning the scene for a real celebrity and one wildly whooping fan.

A Cappella Gold, the San Diego quartet by day a nurse, a schoolteacher, a property manager and a voice teacher has been singing together for nine years. The group has released three CDs and in 2001 it became the proud champions of an international a cappella contest. "We like to do offbeat, wacky stuff," said Kim Hulbert, the redheaded lead singer.

There were five finalists in the "Oreo & Milk Jingle" contest, which consisted of rearranging the jingle melody and lyrics. Among A Cappella Gold's competitors were a reggae version of the jingle, a hip-hop-influenced boy band version and a low-key indie rock version (all can be seen at nabiscoworld.com). A Cappella Gold had the most polished performance complete with matching outfits and synchronized movements and won the contest in a popular vote held on the website.

"Dude, they're a really great group," said Jackson, after emphasizing that he only hosts the contest and didn't select the winner. "They are like the Andrew Sisters meets the Manhattan Transfer."

The event was moving along smoothly a guy with his eyes closed and pointer fingers keeping the beat was especially enjoying the vibe but then a clean-cut young man in neon Crocs ambled along and began to whoop wildly. "Whooo! Whoo! Whoo!" he shouted when the quartet finished its first version of the jingle. "Whoo! Whoo! Whooooo!" he shouted after the second version. And when the group performed one of its original compositions, he whoo-ed through the whole thing. Eventually, a security guard asked him to keep it down. The overexcited fan told the guard he had taken the day off from work just to attend this event, and that he whoops to show the talent his appreciation.

"I enjoyed the performance," he said. "Do you know how much I enjoyed the performance? Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!" Then he asked Jackson to throw him two T-shirts, though there were no shirts in sight.

When the performance was over, a few onlookers were admitted behind the velvet ropes for free Oreos and milk, and the members of the press (all two of us) were invited to speak with the performers. It turns out A Cappella Gold did not win a lifetime supply of Oreo cookies, but it will get $10,000 and it has already received a big basket of Oreo cookie products. "It's just about the biggest basket you've ever seen," said Hulbert. But Bette Gordon, who sings tenor, was more excited about the free limo ride from San Diego to L.A. "That was really neat," she said.

Posted by acapnews at August 26, 2006 12:19 AM