War: What is it good for? Absolutely nothin', except when two long-lasting R&B outfits do battle against each other as they vie to win over a theater full of booty shakers. Formed in California nearly 50 years ago, The Whispers began scoring hits on the R&B and soul charts in 1969. But their greatest success came in the electro-funk '80s, with dance-floor magic and bedroom reveries. The brotherly charisma and seamless harmonies of twin lead singers Walter and "Scotty" Scott remain seductive; the group behind them is adept at backbone-slipping groovers, sexy slow jams and high-octane emotional ballads.
Hailing from Detroit, The Dramatics boast an array of vocal talent, and their interplay recalls the rich palette of the Temptations. Songs such as "Whatchoo See Is What You Get" typify the urgent, finger-popping style of the band's releases for the venerable Memphis label Stax in the 1970s. Though lineup changes have buffeted the group over the years, the addition of L.J. Reynolds proved vital and enduring. An underrated soul balladeer, Reynolds possesses a supple tenor that is one of The Dramatics' strongest selling points. DJ Heavy will preside over the competition, which is sure to be a celebration of funk, good times and longevity, no matter the winner. —David Klein