With my last post, I spent almost 1300 words talking about the first four weeks of this season’s version of The Sing Off. Instead of continuing on in the same post, making it even longer, I decided to start a new one that will hopefully get us through to the end. On to…
Week five marks the first time the groups have been combined, with the remaining ten groups performing “guilty pleasure” songs. The YellowJackets kicked things off in cliched fashion, with the all male group doing their version of “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. The Dartmouth Aires kicked ass with “Jessie’s Girl,” and North Shore was eliminated after a lackluster performance of “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. Pentatonix did some crazy stuff as they sang “Video Killed the Radio Star,” winning the second hour. Supposed judges favorite AfroBlue struggled through a Whitney Houston song for some reason, but was saved from elimination when the lovely ladies of the Deltones failed at “Listen to Your Heart” according to the judges. I thought that the second hour was stronger, and that all five second hour performances were stronger than at least two of the performances from the first hour, but I’m not a judge and don’t know that much I guess. After five weeks, the numbers were finally halved, with the top eight remaining.
One of my least favorite weeks, primarily because it was hip-hop week. I don’t listen to the radio, let alone hip-hop, but I digress. The Aires and Afro Blue did well in the first hour, leaving The Collective and Vocal Point in the bottom two the first hour. Vocal Point featured the return of Ben, the guy who had to leave because his father had died in New Zealand. Of course they sang “I’ll Be Missing You.” Still wasn’t enough to save them from the bottom two though. The Collective lost and had the pleasure of facing the loser from the second hour in a true “sing off” to determine who went home. The second hour wasn’t much better, though it featured my two favorite groups, Pentatonix and Delilah, who ended up safe and onto week seven. Even though I didn’t know the songs, they were markedly better than the other two groups. The YellowJackets earned the right to face off against The Collective. They both sang the same song, and the judges determined that The Collective were going home.
The theme was superstar medleys, and also the week I felt that Pentatonix was destined to win (not that they didn’t deserve it). The Halloween airing meant that the opening number was a medley of Halloween songs, including “This is Halloween” from “Nightmare Before Christmas,” and, of course, “Ghostbusters.” The Dartmouth Aires almost swayed me to their corner with their awesome Queen medley, and I thought Pentatonix was kind of weak with a Britney Spears medley. The bottom two groups were “rap apella” Urban Method and the Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets, whom I thought should have gone home the week prior, finally go home, leaving six groups.
Another two performance week from the remaining six groups, and also the week that lovely Delilah was sent packing. The themes were rock classics and country hits. It started with one of the better opening group numbers, “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. After that, nothing notable stood out from the performances from the first hour. On Twitter, I commented that Urban Method really needs to stop rapping in every song. Vocal Point also sang a real slow version of a Kinks song, which I thought put them in the bottom two after the rock hour. The country hour was much the same, with Pentatonix and the Aires maintaining a lead over everyone else. It really was a battle for third at this point in the competition. I’m not a big country fan, but the Aires “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” was very well done, and Urban Method went away from rapping for once and let the girls leads on “Before he Cheats.” The guys from Vocal Point wowed me as well with “Life is a Highway.” The bottom two, unfortunately, were Afro Blue and Delilah. Once Afro Blue ended up in the bottom two, I knew Delilah was done. The judges, especially Ben Folds, really liked Afro Blue. Goodbye, Delilah, which sang “Survivor” as they left the stage.
Five groups left, and this week’s theme was current and classic R&B songs… right in Afro Blue’s wheelhouse. However, they still ended up in the bottom two after great performances from stalwarts Pentatonix and the Dartmouth Aires. At this point in the season, among the seven remaining groups, there were only nine female vocalist remaining. This made me sad. Not only because I like diversity and all that, but because I like watching sexy chicks in little dresses sing a capella. Luckily, the judges eliminated a group that was all-male, Vocal Point of BYU, and we were left with six groups. My bottom two were Urban Method (I was just sick of the rapping guy by this point) and Afro Blue. I was okay with Vocal Point going home though.
Another two song week, and the theme was “Master Mixes” (two songs from two entirely different musical groups) and Judge’s Choice. Again, Pentatonix did some amazing things with their mega mix of “Forget You” be Cee Lo Green and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson. They capped it in the second hour by singing “Dog Days are Over” by Florence and the Machines, pretty much locking up the title with three weeks to go. Surprisingly, Urban Method made it through, while the Dartmouth Aires had to do a sing off versus judge favorite Afro Blue. The category for the sing off was most impactful song, and, luckily for the Aires, they had Michael and his “Somebody to Love” from the medley episode, which he killed. After Afro Blue went home, their fans took to the Twitter, blaming the judges for ruining their collective lives. Ben Folds himself explained in a blog that the decision was tough and that he still thought Afro Blue was good. They even came back and sang a special duet on the finale!
The finale! Finally the Pentatonix coronation would be complete. But not before another two songs, including one with each of the judges… and Nick Lachey. I figure since Shawn Stockman was in Japan up to the Monday of the live show he was unable to rehearse, so Nick Lachey took his place to sing a 98 Degrees song with Pentatonix. Luckily, his crappiness didn’t rub off, though I was impressed with his vocal ability so many years after being in his boy band. The Aires were the lucky ones that got to sing “Not the Same” with Ben Folds, including his direction of the audience in singing the famous three part chorus from that song. Urban Method finally left in third place despite a strong performance with Sara Bareilles. Otherwise, there really was no doubt that Pentatonix would win, despite all the reality show delays and extra commercial breaks.
As I approach 3,000 words in total on this show, I had a few takeaways that I would like to see implemented for next season (if they do another):
- Less college groups, or at least less stage-filling college groups. If you are trying to find a recording artist, you don’t want to select from a group of folks that represent a college and are forever attached to the school from whence they came.
- The final three groups had a total of five women. While it is hard to control the performance of groups that are selected, there wasn’t really a strong female presence on this season of the show.
- Limit the groups to 12, or at least shuffle the groups the first couple of weeks if you decide on 16 and do the same thing you did this season. Some hours were crazy good but still saw a group go home that would have succeeded against “lesser” groups.
- Would a “Weird Al” Yankovic week kill you?
All that said, it was an enjoyable season, even if I did annoy some friends and colleagues with my incessant tweeting about it for two hours every Monday night.
Until next time…