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For Beelzebubs, appearance on ABC's 'Good Morning America' worth the wait

Published: Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 07:10

It looks like the third time was the charm for the Beelzebubs.

After "Good Morning America" canceled two consecutive appointments with the Tufts a cappella group, the students performed live on the ABC television show on Sept. 28.

The Beelzebubs, or Bubs, had to squeeze a trip to New York into a performancecrammed Homecoming weekend of performances. But they got a little bit of help from the chauffeur and hotel service that the "Good Morning America" staff lined up for them.

"It was fantastic. It was really cool," said sophomore Andrew Kluger, the group's public relations director. "They picked us up and drove us down there and put us up in the Millennium [Broadway Hotel] overlooking Times Square."

The Bubs performed songs from their usual repertoire, but when Music Director Nick Lamm, a junior, mentioned to the "Good Morning America" stage manager during a commercial break that the group sometimes performs the rap hits "Big Pimpin'" and "What's Your Fantasy," the staffer insisted that the students do "Big Pimpin'."

The song is "not necessarily national-television appropriate, but he got super excited and insisted that we do 'Big Pimpin',' so [Bubs President] Matt Thomas and I were throwin' down the spit," said Kluger, who is the main soloist in the Bubs' cover of the Jay-Z classic.

In the case of this song, being the main soloist connotes spinning out expletive-laden verses. "I didn't want to risk it, frankly, so we just did the chorus of 'Big Pimpin',' which doesn't have any cursing," Kluger said. He added that abbreviating the version did not detract from the excitement of covering Jay-Z on national television.

The Bubs did not receive ABC's confirmation for the Sunday performance until the day before. By that time, the Bubs had already performed their Homecoming show in Goddard Chapel on Friday -- along with student a cappella counterparts the Jackson Jills and the Amalgamates -- and they were gearing up for a Saturday performance in the Coolidge Room for alumni.

"We had another event for alumni on Sunday, but we decided it would definitely be worth it to go to New York, so we left right after the gig on Saturday, and then we were back in time for the event on Sunday," Kluger said.

"Good Morning America" got in touch with the Bubs after author Mickey Rapkin highlighted the Bubs in his recent book "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory."

The show's crew came to Tufts during the Orientation Show in August. There they filmed the Beelzebubs and Tufts' other campus a cappella groups, Kluger said. He added that a number of these a cappella groups got smidgeons of airtime on "Good Morning America" during a college a cappella video montage that included some footage from the Orientation Show.

Kluger said that because the show gave the Bubs such short notice about the performance, it was difficult to alert fans to the fact that they would be on ABC. They sent around a message and put a posting on their Web site, but they are not satisfied that they were able to get the word out sufficiently. "We're going to try to get the clips of us performing and put it on YouTube. We're working on that," Kluger said.

The Bubs ended up performing for two live broadcasts, as "Good Morning America" does two filmings per morning in order to accommodate audiences on both the East and West Coasts. Kluger said that performing for live television audiences was a rare and exciting experience.

"It was really exciting to be in the studio. There was a special spot for us, sort of a performance area where we would stand and they'd be shooting their news anchors live and we couldn't talk at all and then they'd switch over to us and they'd give us 10 seconds, five seconds, and point to us and then we had to start singing," Kluger said. "It was exciting to be in that room and see that it really was live, actual television."

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