The Sing-Off Season 3 Episode 6 – Highlights
After last week’s episode, we had half of the contest behind us. In this season, the groups get ten episodes to compete. (There is an eleventh live show dedicated to showing some of the best talent of all seasons.) After five of those ten episodes, eight of the initial sixteen groups remained. And still, I feel like we are only starting out this week.
This is the first week when all groups where introduced at the beginning of the episode. There’s eight groups left, and there are eight boxes in the studio. From now on, no more box-switching. Every time a group leaves, there will be an extra empty box in the studio. There are now few enough groups left to really get to know all of them, and feel the loss when one of them gets eliminated.
Also, for the first time in Sing-Off history there was a sing off in the Sing-Off. (Yeah, this might get confusing.) Basically the two bottom groups get the chance to impress the judges one last time, at the end of the episode. They each sing their own rendition of the same song, while the other group watches and listens from the back of the stage. This is pretty intense, but it works and does provide a great way to compare two groups. After performing back to back, the judges send one group home and the other group gets to stay for another week.
I’ve been checking myself for being biased towards these guys, but found myself not guilty. Once again, Pentatonix put on an incredible performance. Truth is, I didn’t even like the first minute or so. Then I realized it was because I was truly intimidated by them. Besides being amazing vocalists (in all honesty, we see so many of those) these guys know how to use their brains and put their talents to use. For every song they choose a style and they dedicate themselves to it 100%. All of them. And that’s what makes this group work. I can’t see how they’re not gonna win this show.
Concerning this performance, everyone just went nuts about it. As Sara Bareilles said, they went to the sweet spot and everybody in the audience just went with them. Screw technical perfection, this will be my goal from now on when I’m performing myself.
This week was Hip-Hop week, which was fun ’cause we got to see some groups outside of their standard repertoire. Once again the Dartmouth Aires performed surprisingly well. In some way they seem to consistently avoid the weaknesses that larger college groups tend to have. (Being chaotic, not having a recognizable face in front of them, not being able to convey a message.)
We saw a new face, Henri, coming down with come smooth rap lyrics. He doesn’t have the energy of Urban Method’s rapper Mike by any stretch of the imagination, but his chemistry with Jesus Christ Super Rockstar Michael was great and brought the overall energy level up to par. I also have to applaud them on how they can cram a full song-experience with highs, lows, breakdowns etc. within one minute fifty. These guys know what they’re doing. Good stuff.
Where ma girlz at?
This last video is going to be technically interesting. The all-female group Delilah has had a rough couple of weeks where they ended in the bottom two twice. Mainly because they tried on some musical styles which they just couldn’t handle with female voices only. This week they took a Lil Wayne song (what?) and arranged it beautifully over their powerful voices.
This is a great example of how your brain is your most precious skill in making music. Sure, they have great voices, but they can still suck as a group if they forget to use them properly. Luckily, this week they didn’t forget.
Dude, what else is up?
For those who like hip-hop at its most hip-hoppish, you should really take a look at Urban Method’s rendition of Airplanes. I liked it and they’re a skilled group, but what they lack in comparison to a group like Pentatonix is the ability to exert a certain energy with the entire group. Mike is super intense, then come the lead girls and the others aren’t really that memorable energy-wise. Still a recommended watch though.
Another great example of brains over belts was the battle at the end of the show, where The Collective and the Yellow Jackets sang different renditions of the same song. Watch it here. The Collective is the only group I have been really critical about. At this time I must admit they really tried and took the judges commentary to heart. But at the end of the day (or rather, at the end of episode 6) they still didn’t perform with a group-mentality, and as such I think this was a good moment for them to leave.
At this time, only a quite personal blog by Shawn Stockman. Recommended.
Robert-Jon Eckhart is Vocal Blog’s Sing-off correspondent and blogs at http://a-cappella.robert-jon.nl. He is one of these guys who ought to wear the new aca-nerd shirt collection to be seen at www.facebook.com/acappellazone. Thanks so much for your Sing-Off rants – from the European perspective. By the way, if you want to have the US perspective, go to www.5thjudge.com by Warren Bloom. And if you are from Germany (a tiny country in the middle of Europe under the totalitarian copyright rule of www.gema.de), don’t waste time getting upset over not being able to see all these shiny Sing-Off videos. My advice: Travel to one of the www.casa.org festivals in Raleigh, L.A., Boston or New York and see the best of US collegiate a cappella live. I’ve been to SoJam A Cappella Festival 2011 lately: It’s really, really, really worth the trip! ^FSt