The Sing-Off Season 3 Episode 1 – Highlights
By Robert-Jon Eckhardt, our Sing-Off co-blogger 2011.
So I imagine something like this going down at the NBC offices:
“Dude, we should make the intro super epic.”
And then they did.
A whopping two minute introduction starts off the show. Ground rules, prizes, interview soundbites, jury feedback and lots of clips from upcoming performances. Judging from the outfits, they are taken from the entire season. Man, we are off to a good start. As stated before, I’m not gonna be able to go over all details every week. (For general information on season 3, go here.) What I can give you, are the highlights of this season’s premiere episode. Let’s do this.
Personality is your only chance to set yourself apart in a high quality show like The Sing-Off. Remember how season 1 winner Nota introduced themselves with a latin-infused rendition of Jason Mraz’ I’m yours? Sadly, only a few groups managed to show true personality. The one that stuck most with me was “rap-appella” group Urban Method. With their lead-rapper they have a clearly defined and recognizable style.
I just think they’re good. First off I love that they don’t stick to a much heard “vocal” or “choir-like” style but are really going for a hip-hop sound. I was completely drawn in by the “at ease-ness” and emotion of the female lead vocalist. Both leads had a great delivery and the chemistry between them only added to the drama of the song. This showed especially when either of them did not have the lead: they both jumped in on the backing vocals without losing any intensity in their facial expression. Now that’s one of the things that can lift a performance from good to great.
Vocals, rap, beats and bass were all awesome. How I would want this group to evolve is by improving the sound of the harmonies. In my opinion they could be even harder and synthier to really give that rough edge to a song. If they manage to be versatile, while having a rapper in the group, I expect to see them reach the finals.
The other group with a real strong personality was Afro-Blue. I’m not going to go in-depth with them because basically, I don’t know enough about their kind of music (black jazz/r&b) to make any sense. What I can say is that they’re incredibly smooth and do what they do with full conviction. Obviously, Shawn went nuts about them because this is just his cup of tea. (Watch a clip including the judges’ feedback here.) I suggest just listening to them and making up your own mind. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the finals either.
The last special mention is for all-girl group Delilah. Consisting mostly of chicks from earlier seasons, the group is here to prove that they can be successful in a cappella without men. Hmm, okay. Sure. Well, let’s see. They brought in a female bass, which I’d never heard of before, but it does add depth to the arrangements. Also they have a great female beatboxer. But still, I did miss the warmth of baritone-harmonies in their arrangement.
Nevertheless, their performance pretty much kicked ass. Their styling was amazing, their performance was musically sound, powerful, emotional and lead vocalist Amy just brought it down. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. They got legs. Lots of ‘em. I did not have a problem with that.
And the winner is…
Hands down: premiering judge Sara Bareilles. Man, does she bring air to the show. She’s funny, sexy, authentic and not afraid to embarrass herself with some hilarious sexual innuendos. Having her on the judges has The Sing-Off now be a complete fun and positive experience. It shouldn’t be long before someone creates a “Crazy Sara moments on The Sing-Off” compilation video and yes, I will post that on a-cappella.robert-jon.nl.
I also think it’s fair to mention Nick Lachey here. It’s sometimes mentioned that he’s cheesy or something, but I think he’s doing a great job hosting the show. He’s humble, respectful and positive. So yeah, good job Nick!
As Ben said a few times during this episode, “that was a good first performance”. Which says it’s good, but also implies that more will be expected the next time. Same goes for this episode: it was good, but the cream has yet to rise to the top. With ten more episodes to go, there’s time enough for that to happen. See you next week, and keep an eye on a-cappella.robert-jon.nl for more Sing-Off posts!
- The Sing-Off Season 3 Primer – link
- Shawn Stockman blogs on Access Hollywood – link
- Ben Folds blogs extensively about this episode – link
by Robert-Jon Eckhardt, originally posted at www.a-cappella.robert-jon.nl. Check out RJ’s blog, it’s awesome and we can be so happy that he will write about the whole Sing-off season both on his and on Vocal Blog. Keep doing the Sing-thing, my dear co-blogger.