'The Sing-Off' tops our list of TV shows we're embarrassed to love. What's your secret shame?

Image Credit: Harper Smith/NBC

The last thing this world needs is another reality talent competition, but I was shocked to discover how much I enjoyed last week’s season 2 premiere of NBCs a cappella contest The Sing-Off. Maybe it’s because there were groups with absurdly awesome names like Pitch Slapped. Maybe it’s because I dig all the nifty coordinated outfits. Maybe it is the lovable dorkiness of music nerd Ben Folds, the most enjoyable non-showy judge on TV. Or maybe it’s because for originality, creativity, and pure vocal talent, this program has American Idol beat by a mile. Whatever the reason, I was hooked and The Sing-Off has become my new secret shame — a cheesy show I am embarrassed to admit I actually dig. So on the latest edition of the TV Insiders podcast, I asked coworkers Annie Barrett and Michael Slezak  what their secret shames were, and you’ll be surprised to hear their shocking admissions.

Also on this week’s podcast: we break down the big Vampire Diaries cliffhanger episode with the help of executive producers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec (as well as resident TVD expert Mandi Bierly), and give our personal picks for whom we’d like to see win Survivor: Nicaragua. To join in all the fun and hear our other secret shames, just click on the audio player below. We’re also now on iTunes! You can subscribe for free right here and take the TV Insiders with you on the go. And make sure follow us on Twitter @TVInsiders. But before you go, make sure to hit the message boards and let us know: What is your secret TV shame?

[AUDIO http://www.ew.com/ew/static/podcast/2010/12/EW_TV_Insiders_12_10_10.mp3%5D

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  • Bianca

    For me it’s iCarly. I’m too old to like it and yet, I do. It’s actually one of my favorite shows. Shhhh!

    • kate

      Two students from highschool passed away this summer and I watched a whole bunch of nick when I was upset and got hooked in icarly all summer!

      • JFWilder

        hey fggfg…go jump off a cliff.

      • JFWilder

        Just kidding…but that show makes me want to projectile vomit.

    • ayz

      LOOOOL! i LOVE iCarly too!

    • FromChicago

      I love the Sing off — pure entertainment and they can SING!

      • Heidi

        same – not even a guilty pleasure. It’s great! There is talent there and I think all the judges are spot on.

      • Winona

        Exactly – how is this a guilty pleasure exactly?

      • Zakry

        Winona – because the show is cheesy as hell. That’s why its a guilty pleasure. Want to clear a room? Walk in and say “who saw Sing Off last night?” Count the crickets.

        That is exactly how it is a guilty pleasure.

      • Shiny

        I love that the teams were crying when the jazzy group got voted off last night; how sweet is that? There is a lot of comraderie and respect on Sing Off; you won’t here them snarking that they’re “not there to make friends.” Sing off is charming and earnest with smart judges who are actually real musicians.

    • erf

      iCarly is a cute show.

    • Cate

      My daughter started watching it, and I found it remarkably entertaining, too.

    • jennie

      I am 30 and i admit i too love icarly

    • Emmie

      Hate hate hate iCarly. Will not let my child watch it. The blonde girl is so stupid and the laugh track is annoying. If you have to play a laugh track that often to prompt the audience, it’s NOT funny!

      • Kim

        I always catch my 38-year-old brother-in-law watching “iCarly” whenever I’m over their house or vice versa. Man I hate those live action tween Nick and Disney shows. They’re so unfunny and annoying.

      • Kelcie

        I don’t think it’s a laugh track to prompt the audience, Emmie. I think it’s just a laugh track…

    • TracyFace

      I love iCarly! I watch it when my kids are down for their naps! I just love Spencer, I think he’s the best thing about that show!!

    • strickens_girl

      My son watches it and now I do too. It’s a really cute show.

    • Saffron

      For me, it’s Wizards of Waverly Place… and I’m 40!

      • Toria

        I also love Wizards of Waverly Place and I am almost 30! That show cracks me up. I watch it on netflix with my neices and can not get enough!

  • jennifer

    I LOVE watching The Challenge series on MTV. I watch every season. In fact its the only thing I watch on MTV. I know that its cheesy and stupid but I just can’t stop watching.

    • Katie

      I totally agree- the Challenge’s are so trashy but I can’t stop watching.

    • Jen

      My husband and I love The Challenge as well. We haven’t watched Real World in 10 years, but The Challenge is weekly appointment viewing.

      • MSD

        It had been some years since I had watched The Challenge, but in a moment of weakness I stumbled across a bounty of full seasons on MTV.com still. Lets just say, I’m caught up on this new crop of Challengers. (Though I still miss me some Theo, Coral, Miz etc.)

      • heuse1ac

        LOL Mike “The Miz” was one of the best things ever. EVER. I’m getting so damn sick of Johnny Bananas and Paula’s whining. We need old people to come back or to have a cast of completely new people.

        Needless to say I’m an incurable addict too.

      • Katherine

        Holy cow I love the challenges too. The fights, the drinking, the terrible role models! So addicting!

    • Erica

      I was just about to say that I watch it every single week and it is just a fun show to watch

      • MeMe

        MAN! Me too! I wish Kenny had been on it this year. Or Evan. Love those douche bags.

        ALSO Vampire Diaries, which at EW is so great, but in my friend circle so lame. I love it so much though.

      • Mocha

        Same with me for the Vampire Diaries. I love it and I’m glad that EW does too, but I’m still trying to convince my friends that it’s not just “Twilight: The Made-For-TV Version” and is actually a fun show. Sadly, it’s an uphill battle.

      • jess

        Vampire Diaries is not a secret shame. It’s an amazing show and its quality ranks among the best of all television shows. The acting and writing are almost flawless (especially the writing), and each episode feels like a season. I can’t get enough!

      • Sarah

        Definitely in the Vampire Diaries camp…and was watching 10 Things (RIP).

      • @jess

        I love The Vampire Diaries, I really do, and I honestly think it’s a quality show with a lot going for it. That being said, it is most certainly not flawlessly acted. There are some solid performances there, quite a few actually, but still. The non-principal cast can be pretty wooden at times. You mad, bro?

      • Casey

        I agree with @jess, The Vampire Diaries is definitely a good show in it’s own right, but not flawless, or “among the best of all television shows”. The best of it’s kind, yes. But the writing’s been significantly less awesome as of late, and some people are starting to overact. (I’m looking at you Ian Somerhalder. Quit with the buggy eye thing.) And sometimes the guest actors suck. (Ahem…guy who plays Luka?) I feel like the pacing is starting to drag just a tad too. Get on with the Originals and Klaus, I’m tired of all this doppelganger nonsense.

      • Merry Bear

        Vampire Diaries is definitely my guilty pleasure. Yes, it is good, and well-written and well acted, but I am still shamed into admitting it at my age. And people laugh. I think it’s partly due to the name (Buffy the Vampire Slayer suffered a similar fate); if it had a cooler name it would get more respect.

    • Jodi

      Me too!! Addicted!
      I miss Kenny and Evan.
      Abram is amazing.
      I want a Johnny Bananas backpack!!

      • SaraJ

        Abram is awesome, but Johnny is so played out. What a d-bag. Also when did Paula go from crazy craze to respected team player?? Ridiculous. I hate her.

    • D

      I have been watching The Challenge for years!! I got hooked on the first Battle of the Sexes. I still love the Challenge now but I think the older ones were so much better!

      • Erica

        I agree the Gauntlet 2 was my favorite

      • duranmom

        I’ve been watching The Real World since season 1 and LOVE all of the challenge shows. I just wonder what these people do in *real life* – you know when they are not trying to kill themselves for the chance at sharing $100,000+ (depending on the show).

  • Andy

    Big Brother. I don’t even know any person in my life who actually watches it, but it’s definitely a TV show I am embarrassed to admit I love.

    • Amy

      I watch Big Brother and so does everyone I work with, don’t be embarassed

      • Kev

        I watch Big Brother every summer. Not embarassed about it.

    • melissa

      Big Brother for me too! And Sonny With a Chance.

      • AnnaM

        Sonny with a Chance is mine too! Actually anything Disney Channel…

        Every time they end a show and start up a new crop I swear I’m done, but I haven’t stopped yet…

    • caryn

      Me too! But once you start watching Big Brother After Dark, that’s when you’ve really crossed the line! BTW – I’m guilty of that too :)

  • Dean

    The Apprentice. And at this point, American Idol.

    • Elli

      I am also embarrassed to say I never miss an episode of The Apprentice or American Idol

  • ks

    I loved Knightrider :)

  • R

    Cougar Town! I swear, whenever I say I watch it people stare at me like I’m an idiot, but I know I’m not the only person watching it. So I usually keep it to myself now…

    • Emma

      Tell people! Cougar Town is one of the funniest shows on television! I have forced a few of my friends to watch the first few episodes and now they’re all completely hooked!

    • tigersmurfette

      totally cougar town, and scrubs. love how ct uses scrubs actors. hope to see more of them, like eliza coupe

      • Chris

        Eliza’s on Happy Endings, which will premiere in April on ABC Wednesday.

    • tracy bluth

      I’m not embarrassed to love Cougar Town. People who judge it by the title are missing out BIG TIME.

    • tvgirl48

      Yeah, I don’t think Cougar Town counts as a cheesy show to be ashamed of. Just the title, which they have more than apologized for. (Opening credits, anyone?) I agree that anyone who ridicules someone for watching it just because of the title alone is definitely missing out.

  • ash

    I am in the same boat when it comes to The Sing-Off. I have a total dork-crush on Ben Folds.

    • ajmalzx

      Same boat here, but I’m also extremely embarrassed to admit I watch pretty little liars.
      30 year old man staring at bunch of teenagers, creepy. i know.

      • Samantha F

        love me some pretty little liars! my husband called it the “summer gossip girl” – leading to another secret shame: 90210, gossip girl, and next top model

    • suebrody

      Ben Folds is a totally hot geek. Love him.

      • justjack

        yes indeed!!! Nothing to be ashamed of there!

      • PixxieTrixxie

        He and Shawn (Shaun) give the most constructive criticism on these shows – SYTYCD does also – the others are just horrible with their tearing the performers down.

      • jones

        Agreed. He is smart and witty. Love him!

      • Renee

        Yeah, Ben Folds is the best judge, certainly on Sing Off and possibly compared to other reality shows too. Always has smart comments and really knows his stuff. Shawn isn’t bad, but Nicole is kinda useless.

  • Crystal

    What the heck? What is remotely embarassing or shameful about liking The Sing-Off?? I’m at a loss.

    This being said, I’m another closet iCarly fan. Love that show!

    • Peter

      The writer should feel ashamed for thinking that liking the show is shameful. Heaven forbid we get a competition show that’s about talent instead of judges or celebrity.

      • ZF

        Seriously! Real Housewives of _______ is a show people should be embarrassed to admit they like. Keeping up with the Kardashians, ditto. I really don’t see what’s cheesy about The Sing Off.

      • simps

        Nah, the writer is write- its totally shameful.

      • simps

        *right. That was shameful.

    • Dare Right

      Crystal, I completely agree with you; there is absolutely nothing shameful about “The Sing Off”. How can a show that’s *wholesome*, fun, and full of amazing talent be shameful???
      Also, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word “cheesy” is defined as something cheap or shabby; I don’t see how it fits into either of the categories. Maybe “corny” would have been a better word to use for “The Sing Off”, considering “corny” means sentimental.
      That being said, whether it’s corny or not, I LOVE it!

      • Dare Right

        P.S. I don’t think “The Sing Off” is corny, but I would be able to understand if someone else thought that it was corny, cheesy not so much…

  • McComment

    Why The Sing Off should be anybody’s secret shame? There’s some super talented people giving their heart and soul in a no-fake drama show. This one is beating any stupid talent show by a mile.

    • Elli

      me too! Love him

      • Elli

        Sorry that was in response to ash and the dork-crush on Ben Folds

    • chattypatra

      I know! Dalton, you missed out by not watching the first season of this show. This year, it’s even better. I hope you start recapping it because more people should discover it. Oh, and IT’S NOT cheesy! I love it.

      • JoAnn

        They have been recapping it, just not in the TV Recaps section. It’s been here on PopWatch for some reason, but if you click the little tag underneath the title of this post that says “The Sing Off” it’ll take you to the recaps, which have been really fun since they totally embrace the cheese!

    • Angela

      Totally agree!!! What’s to be embarrassed about?? This show is 10 times more interesting than most of the junk on right now.

    • Jen Jen

      You have to celebrate a show like The Sing Off. Only 5 episodes, it’s on at the right time of the year and they throw some incredible talent on stage. This is one of those shows that you can tell the groups have spent some time together, they are likeable and they sing a farewell song after being booted.I wish American Idol was this quick and strong. I just wish the Whiffenpoofs were still in it.

      • DJ

        I’m not at all embarassed to watch the sing-off. These groups are seriously talented and I love the different arrangements they give to pop songs. Way better than American Idol.

  • AMF

    Wizards of Waverly Place.It’s so cute and cheesy. :)

  • bb


    • Jason

      YEah would never admit to it but I watch Glee every week!. IT is slowly becoming unwatchable though. The Wedding episode and Christmas episode were awful. I think this was is going to Jump earlier then most shows. I know it’s a hit but so was The OC and that burned out in four short years.

      • Kayne

        Ugh, the Christmas episode, in particular, WAS so unbelievably awful, and I can’t believe other people haven’t voiced this as well. It’s starting to become horribly predictable and a bit unwatchable. And this is coming from a total Gleek! :-(

      • TC

        100% agree. Some episodes are so uncomfortable and unbearable to watch though.

    • erf

      I watch Glee,too,and so do 3 of my co-workers! Me and one of those co-workers also still watch Private Practice. I guess I’m big on guilty pleasures.

      • greengal

        Laughed when I saw Private Practice… I too watch it; in secret and in shame. Doesn’t seem too bad to admit to watching Glee though…

      • teekay

        Allow me to out myself as a Private Practice viewer as well. A friend of mine asked why I was still watching it and I honestly couldn’t give him an answer. I just can’t stop…

    • Kathryn

      Wow, I didn’t know the OC was ever nominated for an Emmy, let alone 19?

  • KRibbons

    Most definitely Bridalplasty. Can’t stop myself.

  • tracy bluth

    It used to be the Kardashians, but then I realized that it made me want to reach through the TV and punch Kim in the face, so I stopped. Now I’d say it’s What Not to Wear.

    • Marvin Dorfler

      Good stuff!

    • l

      I agree. I watch a few of the Khardashians, but could not stand them any longer and what they think and believe. Many shows that cause me to be annoyed I stop watching like “Minute to Win It” or “Big Brother”. “Life Unexpected” is another – I wanted to punch everyone this past week in that show – all liars. Maybe I have more of a beef with the writers though.

      • heuse1ac

        I’m obsessed with LUX and so sad it didn’t get the back 9 pickup. It’s going to be just like 10 Things I Hate About You on ABC Family, ending with a cliffhanger. And it will not be ok.

      • Elli

        I also love LUX! So sad that it will probably get cancelled, especially considering some of the other truly embarrassing shows on the CW

  • Allison M

    Was all about Phil of the Future when it was on Disney. Can Phil guest on Hellcats, please?

    • tracy bluth

      My sister and I LOVED Phil of the Future when it was on.

      • Lea

        Phil of the Future was awesome….not that I told anyone :P hahahaha

      • TC

        Loved Phil!!! It would be cool to see him on Hellcats. And Even Stevens (minus the annoying sister)- reminded me of Boy Meets World a bit.

    • AnnaM

      He’s now a “musician” by some other name who gave up acting.

      • noam

        i think he goes by his birth name raviv ullmann when acting now…but he’s in the band “his orchestra” with douglas smith, from big love, and one or two of the veronicas…

  • Beauty

    I’m not ashamed!

    I like the Singoff great show!

    Teen Mom

    Housewives, ATL and NY.

    Vampire Diaries

    Pretty Little Liars

    The Kardashians

    16 & Pregnant

    Cougar Town

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