‘The Sing-Off’ Premieres and Ends in One Night, Crowning Season 5 Champ (Video)

Two-hour NBC special also manages to squeeze in performances from former winners Pentatonix and Home Free

Last Updated: December 18, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

(Spoiler alert: Do not read if you have not yet seen the two-hour “The Sing-Off” special on NBC.)

Fans of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” might have been a little confused when they tuned in to the a cappella singing competition Wednesday night. After all, at the end of the two-hour episode, Nick Lachey was already crowning a winner. What happened?

Unlike past seasons of “The Sing-Off,” which ran for a couple of weeks in December — save for one attempt at a fall run — NBC trimmed the veteran show to one two-hour blast for its fifth run.

There were six groups competing for the top prize, and with no time to improve over the course of a season, or really even share their stories, the groups really had to bring their best if they wanted to win.

That might have come a little easier for The Exchange, which was basically a “Sing-Off” supergroup. It’s become a tradition of sorts on the show to have one group on that’s made up of people who competed in different groups in previous seasons. And like the seasons veterans they were, they definitely gave a show-stopping performance.

Half of the groups were eliminated after the first round, with The Exchange moving on alongside the Melodores, an all-male college group from Vanderbilt, and Traces, a group comprised of working women in their 30s and 40s.

We’re not sure if the performance order was rigged or if the groups were just inspired by what came before, but each group that came out was better than the predecessor. The Melodores performed last and they absolutely blew the audience and judges away with their take on Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.”

Former contestants — and superstars in the world of a cappella — Pentatonix and Home Free returned to the stage to show these newcomers how it’s done before the final decision was handed down.

In the end, it’s a “Sing-Off” first as The Melodores become the first college group to ever take home the title. As exciting as it is for them, though, it’s a bummer for us.

Just as we started to get excited about spending the winter with Nick Lachey and “The Sing-Off,” it’s over already. Next year, we demand more.

Watch Nick Lachey crown The Meledores champions here. And watch the opening performance, featuring all six groups, here.