When is winning a reality TV game show—and the $100,000 check that comes with the title—a bit of a letdown? When the show is MTV’s Top Pop Group, and the victory comes during a hastily staged finale in the midst of the program’s early cancellation after just five episodes.
“It was a little bittersweet,” concedes Josh Huslig, leader of Las Vegas-based a cappella outfit Mosaic, which captured the trophy during an October 2 airing. “Obviously, winning was awesome, but everybody wanted the show to do well and to do everything it could.”
Still, Mosaic—Huslig, Heath Burgett, Troy Dolendo, Sean Gerrity, John Gibson and Corwyn Hodge—returns to town richer for having participated, not just financially (Huslig says the extra cash will come in handy for the holidays) but also in terms of confidence gained. The only a cappella act in a field of nine, Mosaic rearranged its song assignments into vocal-only form—from Maroon 5’s “Makes Me Wonder” to The Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started”—while all of its competitors sang over instrumental tracks.
“When I started this group in 2000, the whole intent was to change people’s perceptions of what a cappella music is,” Huslig says. “And when we were first accepted into the show, I don’t think we truthfully thought we would win. But the audience not only understood what we were doing but liked it. It was very validating.”
Mosaic performs regularly at the Flamingo, opening nightly for comedian George Wallace. Huslig says Wallace was one of the first to congratulate the group for its achievement. “I got a text from George and he was super-excited,” Huslig says. “He’s been our biggest fan through this process.”