The Sing-Off 2011 – Live Finale
by Robert-Jon Eckhart, originally posted at http://acappella.robert-jon.nl on December 6, 2011
Oh yeeeaaaaahhhhhhh!!! As I’m writing this, some of the best groups from all seasons are singing their hearts out during the final episode of the season, the live holiday special. (NBC gracefully waited until the Dutch sinterklaas-evening was over to air this. Very nice, NBC.) Me? I’m still happy about last week’s results. Can I just praise myself for a little bit? Do you mind? Well, this is my blog so I’ll do whatever I want and @#$% you if it bothers you!
Here’s what I posted in the second installment of my Sing-Off reporting:
“I’m not posting [Pentatonix'] performance for being flawless, because it wasn’t. In some parts they were sloppy on the timing, which is unforgivable in a clubbing-song. Also, giving four people each their fifteen seconds of fame within a two-minute song made it a little messy and some effects, like the skipping beat, weren’t tight enough to be really effective. No, the reason I’m featuring this video is because when they win The Sing-Off Season 3 in November, you’ll be happy you saw all their performances from the get go.”
I fucking called it bitches!! HA!!!
(Deep breath…) Ok, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s get to some sensible writing. During this episode I finally saw so very clearly why Pentatonix is such a deserved winner. First, let me recap the episode for you. The first hour and 45 minutes consisted of a variety of performances. (More on those later.) After that, the first group got eliminated and sang their swan song. It was Urban Method. Sad, but to be expected. They didn’t seem to connect to the home audience at all. After that, we got to see compilation videos of the two remaining groups.
First up were the Dartmouth Aires. So were they consistently great, during the entire season? Yes, absolutely. Would they be able to speak to a mass audience? With Michael as their frontman, certainly. Should they be on Broadway, even while placing second? Yes, probably. But I also felt a sense of accomplishment in the group. They had made a journey and came across as “being there”.
While the Pentatonix video exuded a completely different vibe. What I saw was a beginning. Don’t forget that Avi and Kevin hadn’t met the other guys until a couple hours before their audition. Pentatonix didn’t have their Big Achievement last week. What they did was taking their first steps. What I saw, was the five of them 25 years from now, looking back at this video and saying: “Ah yes, that is how we started.” Meanwhile having transformed the way all of us practice our beloved genre. This was just the rock dropping into the water, the ripples have yet to be felt.
Ok so there was some singing too this episode, a lot actually, but since the voting closed a day before airing, it was for shits ‘n giggles mostly. Also, the sound was a small disaster during this live show. I’d love to hear from somebody on the inside what happened in the studio. All I know is that many off-key notes where heard in living rooms and the volume levels were inconsistent during the entire evening. Was this mistake or is it just this hard to mix a live a cappella show with this many microphones?
What I did enjoy was Nick Lachey performing with Pentatonix. I’ve been enjoying Nick’s lame music-puns through all seasons and I actually really like his voice! While he didn’t have a lot of lines, he did have a big role in setting the tone for the show. This was his moment to shine and I think he was fantastic. Dorky, but fantastic.
This one was great as well. Ben is known for letting his audience sing with him and didn’t disappoint here. (Although I suspect them of practicing this before the show!!) He doesn’t have the most mainstream voice but I thought the song was cool, I loved the big harmonies with the audience and it’s hard to beat Ben in authentic showmanship.
Other than these two, the songs weren’t up to par with the rest of the season. A lot of critics have been criticizing the show, which makes sense since they’re critics so basically that’s what they should do. As a fan though, I though the finale was lovely. I just appreciate how much time was put into it and how many different groups of people we could see performing.
Next week I’ll be talking about the holiday special, as well as doing some looking back at the entire season and looking forward into the possible future. Peace out.