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Monday, September 26, 2011
The opening number was "Sing" by My Chemical Romance. Wicked awesome. The energy was fabulous and we got to see some of the amazing soloists that were featured tonight!
Um, I may have also seen Shaina and my brother in the audience…
These are our fabulous judges! They make tough decisions every week. Ben says they base it off of whether they think there's potential for records to be made by the groups... But enough stalling, it's time for the music!
DARTMOUTH AIRES: these boys are fabulous. And one of them reminds me of a kid at school. Let me introduce you to the golden voice of Michael. Oh my heavens!! Their take on Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" was so full and just amazing! And the outfits were rather loud… :)
PENTATONIX: (pssssst, I think these guys may be the group to beat.) (and I just saw the back of Shaina's head.) You know a group is awesome if they can make me like a song that I don't care for. I am not a fan of Katy Perry's "E.T.", but this was WOW. And I love that they showcased each group member during their performance. Cause I don't think I have a favorite member. They all rock. Mitch's voice is so sweet and pure; Kirstie is rockin' her low end; Kevin's VP is HOT; Avi Avi Avi… big bad bass :) And then there's Scott. Fabulous Scott with his hot voice (and his USC connections!) You can't not like this group!
MESSIAH'S MEN: I have a sweet spot in my heart for African-style music. I love the sound they've got and the story of how music got them through the tough times. Their take on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" mixed in their Afro-centric sound with the soul of the piece. And it made me smile! LOVE these guys! (and we just saw my bro in the audience!)
SONOS: this was the other group I was excited about seeing in the competition!!! We're seeing them without their effects pedals, and they are still AWESOME on Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game", which they've completely turned on it's ear! I love simply everything about this performance :)
The inevitable difficult goodbye moment. I knew who was going home and it still sucked. :( Goodbye, Messiah's Men. I would of loved to see how much more you could have done! Your swan song, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", was absolutely beautiful.
THE COLLECTIVE: First off, they have Rachael Lampa. I heart her. Anyway, their arrangement of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" is smoking. Ruby Amanfu adds a bit of sultry soul to the lead. And while it has echoes of the original song, it is totally different. And I love hearing groups reinvent a song! Can't wait to see what else they can do.
**Apparently, Shawn Stockman is a sucker for altos. I promptly introduced myself on Twitter.
SOUL'D OUT: "Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In" - Hair
Hey, I know someone from Wilsonville! Anyway, these high schoolers are tackling some trippy stuff… ;) And I was kinda flashing back to my own high school experience in show choir. I love their full sound!
Quick side note: heard the tail end of a commercial for the show "Parenthood" and the song sounded a cappella. Another friend asked me about it as well, so I looked for it. It's by Courtney Jones and it's called "Weightless". It sounds amazing, really… just thought I'd recommend it! (Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izjnZMjWZqk)
NORTH SHORE: "Runaround Sue" - Dion
There's something comforting about a group of guys old enough to be my dad wearing their Hawaiian shirts singing some fine doo wop. Add that they're from BAHSTON :) Guy Chiapponi, oh my heavens, has an amazing voice. These guys are so much fun to watch!
DELTONES: "Feels Like Home" - Randy Newman
The soloist on this song pierced me the moment she started singing. I love this song and their arrangement of it was absolutely hauntingly beautiful.
We have to say goodbye to someone else… :( I really liked this second half so much, and enjoyed Soul'd Out so much. Can you imagine what they could do with a bit more maturity on those voices? WOW. Sad that they're going home...
Can't wait to see next week's show… keep an eye out for me and Shaina in the audience!
And PLEASE leave your own feedback about the episode below!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The group performance of Pink's "F-in' Perfect" was energetic and great as they usually are, and I loved the rap part of the song. It was great to see each of the groups featured in the song in short snippets, and from this performance, I was able to make preliminary judgments on each of the groups and how I thought they would fare tonight in the competition.
It was great seeing how well Sara fit in with the Sing-Off family, and I know that she's going to be a fantastic replacement for Nicole. At least we can count on Sara saying something of musical worth, being critical of the performance, and not making weird sexual jokes... Oh, wait. Scratch that last one. (But for some reason, I'm more willing to forgive Sara.) And her potty mouth hasn't begun to show itself... Yet... (Or maybe the editing crew did a REALLY good job.)
First up, the Yellowjackets. I know the song that they performed very well; UCLA's Scattertones came to 'SC to compete at Absolut A Cappella and the ICCAs last year, and that song was a part of their set (and very lively). I thought that their arrangement really brought out the "African" feel, especially in the bass and background vocals. It was a lively performance, and the fact that they waved around scarves with Kenya's national colors was really awesome. However, they didn't really seem that much different from the all-male collegiate a cappella groups from past seasons, namely the Beelzebubs from season one and On the Rocks from season two. Though I think that they're good enough to make it rather far in the competition, they don't really have anything that sets them apart, and musicality can only go so far.
I thought the Fannin Family actually did a really great job. Maria NAILED the lead vocals, and their blend was so smooth, as I'd expected. Though, because they're a family group, I have a feeling that they aren't seasoned performers. Their movements on stage felt a little static to me, and the lack of choreography probably didn't help much. I also noticed that they didn't have a vocal percussionist, so that, along with not having a "real" bass, made the song (in terms of its arrangement) not as lively as it should have been.
I absolutely loved Afro-Blue's jazzy version of "Put Your Records On." There's something about jazz groups, and the jazz sound in general, that makes me happy. Keep your eye (and ear) on Christie, the soloist. Not only is she a great soloist and fantastic alto, but she can SCAT. That's all I'll say. The arrangement was great because it showcased the group's jazzy sound without being overly complicated, and it really showed off their group personality. Also, Ben's opening comment after the group performed was so awkward and weird. I love Ben.
Delilah was the surprise of the night. I generally am not a fan of all-female groups; almost always, they lack a firm foundation, in terms of vocal percussion and bass, and the highs always sound shrill. Their arrangements tend to be top-heavy, and it gets annoying to listen to. (Trust me on this; I speak from experience in both SINGING in all-female ensembles and LISTENING to all-female aca groups.) However, Delilah solved ALL of these issues. Not only do they have an AMAZING bass and vocal percussionist, but their ARRANGEMENTS are the key. Rather than having the girls in the ensemble singing syllables to imitate instruments, they act more like a bunch of back-up singers to Amy, singing the lyrics of the song and harmonizing with the lead. They left the bass and beatbox to suffice for the background, driving the tempo, and when the rest of the group did come in on random syllables, it wasn't overly annoying because we only got a small amount of it. (Side note: did anyone else notice Deke Sharon running around in the background of their interview in his bright green plaid shirt? Haha!)
I wasn't surprised that the bottom two were the YellowJackets and Fannin Family. The competition is stiff and the other two groups gave very memorable performances. Ultimately, I agree with the judges; Fannin Family just happened to be the weakest group of the bunch, and so they were sent home.
On to the next set of four!
Urban Method was interesting for me. I thought that it was interesting that they're a hip-hop a cappella group, and I immediately started to wonder how they will handle the judges' challenges, which force the groups outside of their comfort zones. However, this first performance was good. The emotion was there, and they really performed the song well. However, I didn't think that the actual arrangement was all that great. It was what you expect, which isn't exactly a winning formula for me.
Cat's Pajamas are really a fun act to watch. I'm sure that I'd love to watch them perform live (one day, I'll head to Branson!), and in light of what I'd heard before them, I thought that the judges' comments were a little unfair. As seasoned performers, I can't help but think that "Some Kind of Wonderful" might be one of those songs ingrained in their minds and that their constant performance of the song might have something to do with their not connecting to the audience to the extent that the judges wanted.
Kinfolk 9... Okay, let me say something. I just found out that their bass isin USC's Trojan Men, and I'd seen him direct the group, so when I saw him, I thought he looked vaguely familiar (but of course, the bright clothes were a radical change in wardrobe from the suit and tie I usually saw him in). AND, tonight, I found out that Moi, the lead singer, sings at the church of one of Overflow's newest members. Weird. But anyway, I thought that their performance was very emotional, though I agree with the judges; some spots had blending issues.
And now for... VOCAL POINT. These guys are my favorite of this bracket, hands down. They are so sweet and awesome and CUTE. When Sarah and I found out that they were competing this season, we had a mini freak-out and squealed like five-year-olds in a candy paradise. Seriously. These guys are great, and I was bummed that I missed them at the ICCA Semifinals last year at USC (they ultimately came in second place to Pitch Slapped). They always put on a show and are great musicians. These guys apparently got a very long standing ovation (that they had to cut, of course), and as the last performance of the night, this is INCREDIBLY commendable. As a frequent Sing-Off audience member (and I'm sure Sarah can attest), as the taping progresses, it gets more and more exhausting for not only the performers and judges, but also for the audience members. I mean, we applaud and yell a LOT. So the fact that the audience was willing to give them such a long ovation at the end of a very long night after having been there for about six hours (I'd be willing to bet this was taped around 11pm, maybe later) is EXTREMELY impressive. Yes, I love these guys. Yes, I want them to win. Yes, I briefly considered transferring there or pursuing a master's degree at BYU. (Too bad they don't have a master's program in Public Relations...)
And now yet another elimination. As much as I hate to admit it, I can see why the judges chose to eliminate Cat's Pajamas. Since they're able to make a living in singing a cappella and because they're already professional musicians, they probably thought that they'd feel less guilty about sending them home than if they had sent Kinfolk 9 home (since they basically epitomize the "struggling musician" stereotype). Furthermore, because Cat's Pajamas are so professional, they probably thought it would be harder for them to fix the flaws in their performance, since it had more to do with abstract ideas (as opposed to Kinfok 9's pitch problems, which can be solved over time). I sighed as I watch Cat's Pajamas sing "Bye Bye Love" as they left the competition.
In my opinion, all of the groups this year would have been good enough to make it to the top four in previous seasons. The competition is stiff, the groups are better than ever before, and the stakes are even higher (even though Nick didn't mention whether or not the winners get the Sing-Off trophy, haha). If this is a good indicator of what is to come, the third season of The Sing-Off has a promising future, and I can't wait to see what the next eight groups have up their sleeves (even if I've already seen it)!
What did you think about the first part of the premiere? Did you agree with the judges' choices to send home? Do you have a favorite in the competition yet? Weigh in below!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
First off, I LOVE the new judge, Sara Bareilles. I’m really enjoying the interaction with all three of them up there. I think Sara adds a more intelligent female voice to the judges panel. Plus, she is hilarious. So, I'm just going to go through each of the groups in the order that I watched them, because I had to wait until Hulu uploaded individual videos before I could see anything.
YellowJackets. First impression: WHOA. BASSLOVE. Haha, it was the first thing I noticed. I loved the rotating solos! I enjoyed the couple of different feels throughout the arrangement. I also really just liked the vibe of the whole group.
Cat’s Pajamas: Okay… BIAS TIME! I’m so proud of the Cats! I feel like after sitting through a concert of theirs for 5 times now, that I have the right to say I'm proud. haha. I loved their performance. And, stalker that I am of their schedule… I knew the swan song was coming. However, I now really, really want them to put the full swan song on itunes… When I go see them in a couple weeks, I’m going to give them big hugs and tell them just how much I loved it! Chris is always amazing on the leads, and Skinner’s bass/beat boxing is always fantastic. If YOU ever get a chance to go to Branson, take it! The guys are all so nice to talk to. Obviously, I would have picked someone else to go home… Sadly, since that isn’t the case I have to find someone else to root for. Haha. And, here ends my biased opinion. ;)
Vocal Point: It’s official. VP has a new fan, and it’s this girl! I think I also found who I’m rooting for. I loved this performance so much, I’m just pretty much speechless. I adored the lead, as well as everything else. I immediately went over to iTunes and saved every VP thing I could find to my wish list, to be bought as soon as I stock up on itunes gift cards. (Also, I fell in love when I realized they covered a Garth Brooks song.) And the fact that they still did SO well with one guy missing… wow. I was impressed.
Kinfolk 9: HOLY BASSLOVE. Y’all are going to be hearing this phrase a lot from me, because it is just one of the things that I automatically listen for. I liked their song choice, because they really did it well. I don’t have too much else to say, but I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.
Delilah: I went into their performance not knowing what to expect. As a general rule, I’m not the biggest fan of all-female groups, mainly because of a lack of a nice deep bass. However, I was surprisingly blown away. I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I would. I imagine that if I had been there, I would have had chills. And I actually did enjoy the low end of the vocals! So now, I’m excited to see what else they’re going to do. Yay girl power!
Afro-Blue: I’m really digging the jazzy-ness. The lead was great, the bass was awesome, and the whole feel was just smooth and easy and I loved it! I hope they’re able to go farther than Groove for Thought did last season. I agreed with everything Shawn said about them. I want to put Afro-Blue in my itunes jazz playlist.
Urban Method: These guys were interesting. In general, I don’t listen to much rap. However, I liked UM. They probably would have been the group that I would have sent home over the Cat’s Pajamas, even though I am really glad that I will get to hear more from them. I have a feeling they might surprise me.
Fannin Family: Dang. I was not expecting that voice to come out of that girl! I’m really proud of her, because singing to that many people CANNOT be easy. I would have loved to see more from them, but I did sadly agree with the judges on this one. However, I was very impressed at such a talented family. The first thing that popped into my brain was "Branson family!" I also pretty much agreed with everything that Sara said about them all.
My Top 3 Before Eliminations:
1. Cat’s Pajamas
2. Vocal Point
3. Kinfolk 9
My Top 3 After Eliminations:
1. Vocal Point
2. Kinfolk 9
Disclaimer: I really have no idea what I’m talking about when I start mentioning anything close to technical things… It’s all just stuff I’ve unconsciously picked up from hanging around all the awesome Chasers who actually DO know what they’re talking about. ;)
Monday, September 19, 2011
Having attended the last few tapings of the show, I already know who the top three are. (I refuse to break that confidentiality, so don't even ask.) So, it's gonna be weird watching this, knowing who is eventually going home. It's also gonna be hard to not comment about future things… So, what this blog will be is a semi-polished collection of my thoughts while I'm watching the episodes. Here we go with Bracket #1!
The opening overview of the season had me looking for me once I realized that they were showing micro-previews of stuff I remember seeing… must watch it again when I can pause and look. :)
I heart Ben Folds! I love that America gets little music theory lessons from him every week just from his comments! (We also laugh a lot from his crazy off-the-wall quips.)
Shawn Stockman is buttah. And he likes to say "buttah", so keep an ear open this season.
And I am SO SO SO HAPPY that Sara Bareilles is a judge!
Yellow Jackets: I love that they included the flavor from their recent Kenya trip. These guys have tons of charm to spare and I am so excited that they are on the show! (and, my goodness, those yellow jackets are bright!)
Fannin Family: Having sung with my mom and having heard friends of mine who are sisters sound fabulous together, I know that the family thing is a big boost. But hearing it in action is still giving me goosebumps. Wow. And then you add in the amazing talent of 14-year-old Maria. *speechless*
AfroBlue: LOVE their jazzy vibe. I honestly don't know what else to say about them. I mean, Corinne Bailey Rae's song has a funky jazz vibe to it anyway, but they made it jazzier. And I am excited to see how they spread the jazzy love in the future!
Delilah: I loved the idea of these girls coming back and hitting us harder than they did before. That performance of Grenade gave me chills. CHILLS. It was sick!
I have to say at this point that I don't envy the judges at all. I'd hate to have to pick who doesn't move on. So tough! Too soon for the Fannin Family, but, like I said, I'm not sure who else I would have sent either.
Urban Method: I'm not a hip hop/rap fan. And I still like these guys. The rapper is amazing. I just wish their singer (whose voice is beautiful) was a bit stronger.
Cat's Pajamas: Five gorgeous men who may have just convinced me that I need to take a trip to Branson. They kind of remind me of The Alley Cats (my favorite local group).
Kinfolk 9: They've got a Warbler (the blond dude - Jon - plays a Warbler on Glee). And a female VP (the blonde chick - Kari - AWESOMESAUCE). :)And then there's Moi. Moi has a pretty voice and I seriously want to see him do amazing.
Vocal Point: If I had known nothing about this season until I tuned in, this would be the group I watched the show for. If you've never heard their "Super Mario", you are missing out. Anyway, tonight they brought it with a song I've already seen them perform on YouTube. They did it a man down! And McKay brings a huge grin to my face!
With this group, I think I know where the judges are gonna trim, and it breaks my heart. (P.S. - I think Kinfolk 9 were better than Urban Method this week. UB should have been in the bottom with the Cat's PJs.) I would love to see how versatile the Cat's PJs are. I am sure they have it in them to put out some amazing music and they got cut short before they could really blossom.
Next Week: The Collective, Dartmouth Aires, Deltones, North Shore, Sonos, Pentatonix, Soul'd Out, and Messiah's Men. I'm not excited at all. (I lie.)
What did you think of the first episode of the season? Thoughts on the groups who performed? Early favorites? Thoughts on the eliminations? Please comment and join the discussion!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The Sing Off is back!!!! And this time, we get more groups and more episodes, which pretty much equals more aca-fabulousness! (yes, I just made up my own “word”) I've been blessed to attend a few tapings this season. And while I can't divulge any details, I am pretty sure that I am allowed to say that this season is definitely going to top the last two (which were pretty amazing). The caliber of the groups in the competition blows me away. Which means we will also get more opportunities to watch Shawn Stockman lose the ability to speak after a “sick” performance, more opportunities to marvel at music geek Ben Folds' theory speak, and LOTS of opportunities to be über-thankful that Sara Bareilles (a college a cappella alum herself) has replaced Nicole Scherzinger on the judging panel. And then there is our hard working host, Nick Lachey. (Warning to all who would LOVE to give Nick a hard time: kindly keep those comments away from me. He really is a good host!)
I don't want to do predictions. Shaina did a fabulous job of that in her post! But I do want to share what my initial reactions were after the groups were announced (but before I could research the groups I'm unfamiliar with). I was really excited about a couple of the names I saw because I was already a fan of these groups. When I saw Sonos on the list, I knew this season was gonna be awesome. It doesn't matter that they can't use their pedals, etc. They are still legit and well-liked in the aca-community. (AND they've recorded a cover Sara Bareilles' “Gravity” WITH Sara... how epic is that?) I was excited.
And then I saw Vocal Point. I practically died of happiness. Seriously. Since my introduction to college a cappella a few years ago, my all-time favorite happy aca tune is “Super Mario” by these guys. If their name is on a track, I want it. I always love what I hear from them. Always. Oh my heavens, they are fabulous. And then, on top of the amazing vocals, these guys are just ridiculously adorable. And entertaining.
After doing the tiniest bit of digging about the other groups, I decided on a few more favorites. Afro Blue is right up my alley. I was a BIG Groove For Thought cheerleader last year (p.s. - they have an album coming out soon!) simply because vocal jazz is in my blood. I grew up with it. I love the harmonies, the vibe, the groove. And Afro Blue has all of that and then some. I have my fingers crossed for them!
The Collective caught my eye. I love this idea of solo artists joining to make happy music :) And while Kinfolk 9 has that idea going, they don't have Rachael Lampa. They don't have a Lister brother (if you can't tell, I loved Street Corner Symphony, especially brothers Jeremy & Richie Lister). And there's something special about the singular Nashville heart.
I've decided that it must be an unwritten Sing Off rule for there to be a past or current member of USC's SoCal Vocals competing on the show every season. And based on the talent we've seen come out of that group and on to the Sing Off stage, I'm ok with that. This year's representative is Scott Hoying from the Pentatonix. I would love to see this group go far in the competition. They sound so promising!
If you can't tell, I'm pumped. Less than a week until Mondays get brighter!
Who are you excited about seeing? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Monday, September 12, 2011
It may not be fair that I'm writing a predictions blog for The Sing-Off, since I've been to several tapings and am legally not allowed to talk about much that I saw (and if I do, I'll be sued for $5 million). So, I'll just pretend I didn't see what I saw, okay?
First of all, I'm super excited that The Sing-Off was promoted to a weekly series. That means more groups, more shows, more songs, and more all-around aca awesomeness. And what a cappella fan wouldn't be excited about that, right?!
Second of all, they got SARA BAREILLES as the new judge?! It's gonna be EPIC. 'Nuff said.
Okay, now time to tell you how I feel about these groups. When the groups were announced, I'd heard of quite a few of them, but I also hadn't heard of a few, but they're obviously amazing, since they made it to the show. I have a few favorites and a few that I think will win, so let's get to it!
Afro-Blue: A jazzy student group from Howard University, located in Washington, DC. I hadn't heard of them before, and if I had to describe them, I'd say they're like an amalgamation of Groove for Thought and Committed. They have jazzy, complex arrangements injected with a lot of soul. But is this unique combination enough to win over the judges? Honestly, I don't know. I'm a little worried, since they seem to primarily be a jazz group, and if you remember from last season, GFT didn't fare very well. But who knows? Maybe they'll see what GFT did and didn't do and use that to their advantage.
The Cat's Pajamas: I'd heard about these guys from Tina Crouch, Chaser extraordinaire, and I can't wait to see what these guys bring to the show! With a mere five members, I can't help but wonder if they'll have a big enough sound to really "WOW" the judges, but I do know that they'll bring a fantastically infectious personality to the Sing-Off stage.
The Collective: Put together by Jeremy Lister from Street Corner Symphony, last season's runner-up, The Collective is comprised of a bunch of solo artists taking a venture into uncharted territory, i.e. a cappella. They don't have experience singing a cappella, but they have the musical promise to do fairly well, since several (if not all) of them are successful musicians in their own right. It'll be interesting to see if they do as well as SCS did last year.
Dartmouth Aires: First of all, I just thought I'd say, it's pronounced "airs." Why it's spelled like that, I don't know. You may say that it's a quirky spelling, which would rightfully describe these Ivy League college boys. They always put on a good show, and are great entertainers, like the all-male collegiate groups that came around in seasons past (the Tufts Beelzebubs from season one and UO's On the Rocks from season two). Will it be enough? In fact, there are three (yes, count 'em, THREE) male collegiate groups, and they're ALL amazing in their own right. How will the Aires set themselves apart from the other two?
Delilah: Made up of Sing-Off alumnae from seasons past, Delilah is the first all-female group to make it to the show since Maxx Factor and Noteworthy from the first season, and they're the only all-female group this season. Female groups are always tricky, since they lack the low end (i.e. bass) that all-male and co-ed groups have. I'm interested to see how the group handles this weakness, or if it ultimately can become their strength and unique quality.
The Deltones: What struck me about these guys are their love for each other. This group from the University of Delaware are all such a tight-knit family, and you can tell that they truly look out and care for each other. I can't wait to see how this translates into their music and if they're as musically and emotionally connected to each other. Plus, I really love their name.
Fannin Family: I had not heard of them before, and I can't wait to see how their voices blend. I'll bet that they get this a lot, but their story reminds me of the Von Trapp family, from The Sound of Music... Anyways, I'm excited to hear them, since (supposedly) family members' voices blend very well together, and since they've been singing with each other for their whole lives, they must have a great connection with each other.
Kinfolk 9: Dude. They have a female beatboxer. In a co-ed group. And she's AWESOME. Oh, and they're from LA. Unfair bias? I think not. Anyway, they, like The Collective, don't have much experience singing in a cappella groups because they all started out as solo artists (once again, like The Collective). How will they set themselves apart from The Collective and prove that they're better than all the rest?
Messiah's Men: These guys have an inspiring story that moves you when you listen to them sing. They and their musical sound have their roots in Africa, and their brotherly love for each other is apparent. They have a very full sound, but I wonder if they'll be flexible enough, musically speaking, to conform to what the judges ask of them, in terms of the challenges the groups face each week.
North Shore: I love doo wop music. North Shore has opened for many well-known groups in the past, but now it's their time to shine! I know that they'll be amazing in "their element," since they've been doing it for a long time, but the same issue that I brought up with Messiah's Men applies to North Shore: will they be able to sing other genres of music besides doo wop well enough to impress the judges?
Pentatonix: I must preface this by saying that the group's frontman, Scott Hoying, is a current member of USC's SoCal VoCals, he is the same year as I am, and I remember him auditioning for the group (because we auditioned the same day). Oh, and we have mutual friends. He's an amazing vocalist. But anyway, I digress. This may surprise many of you, but this group is my pick to be the winner of this season. Co-ed groups traditionally don't do exceptionally well in this competition, and the highest a co-ed group has gotten is third place (The Voices of Lee from season one and The Backbeats from season two). So, maybe my prediction is a bold one, even though there's "only" one girl in the group. But what sets this group apart from other co-ed groups is in its arrangements, and that's nfortunately all I can say. Pentatonix sings techno and dance hits a cappella, and they do a darn good job of it. You'll just have to wait and see why I think they'll win, but their sound is AMAZING for such a small group of five.
Sonos: If you're a big acafan, you should know who Sonos is. I've seen them perform live at USC several times, and they're very well-known for their use of effects pedals, which allow them to loop several tracks, add effects, etc. Since they're only a group of five, this is helpful in creating a fuller sound, but for this competition, they are pedal- and effects-less. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and I have a bad feeling about it. Their arrangements, which many perceive to be hauntingly beautiful, may be seen in the wrong way, especially without the haunting effects. I'm interested to see how far they get, and I'm worried that they'll be under-appreciated, just like Groove For Thought was last season. But this group is one of my three favorites (along with Pentatonix and Vocal Point).
Soul'd Out: The only high school group in the competition, they follow in the footsteps of Eleventh Hour (from last season), but they're a large group, larger than Eleventh Hour. I wonder if they have a great enough of a frontman (or frontwoman) as Eleventh Hour had in Kendall Young, and I can't wait to see their song choices (hopefully NOT "Baby"). But, are their voices mature enough to compete against the plethora of groups made up of seasoned singers?
Urban Method: Now this is a group to keep an eye on. I'll bet not many of you have heard rap-appella before, but it's off the chain. This is definitely something that will set the group apart from all the rest, but as with North Shore and Messiah's Men, how will they change their arrangements and musical style to fit what the judges are looking for in various challenges?
Vocal Point: Aaaah, the cute Mormon boys from BYU. Where to start, where to start? I love this group. That's saying a lot, since they beat out USC's Reverse Osmosis last year at ICCA Semifinals (and came in second overall, HOLLA). But these guys just have some sort of wholesome charm that, for me at least, puts them over the other two male collegiate groups. With nine members, they're not going overboard and it won't be a flurry of frantic activity on stage (which is what things can turn into with larger groups). And I really like their song choices and arrangements. I've been obsessed with their arrangements of "Nearer, My God, to Thee" and "Super Mario Bros." (Don't worry; I didn't spoil anything for you. These are just songs I've heard of theirs before they were even selected for the show. I highly recommend listening to them.) I want them to go all the way, and they're just fabulous, but in pitting them against some of the other groups, I'm not so sure...
The Yellow Jackets: Yellow is a very bright color. And these guys from the University of Rochester just light up the stage, not only with their music, but with their stage presence and personalities. I'd say that in a way, it's like you take the charm from Vocal Point and the silliness from the Aires and mix it together to get the Yellow Jackets. They're right in the middle, and their music is, of course, spot on. Though, I wonder how they'll set themselves apart from the other two groups; since they seem to be right in the middle, how will they assert themselves as different?
Do you agree with me? Who are your favorites? Who do you want to see win? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
As many of you know, The Sing-Off, an a cappella competition/reality show on NBC, will be premiering in one week. (If you didn't know, you should definitely check it out! Starting September 19, the show will air on Mondays at 8pm!) Several Quarter Notes writers and fellow Chasers will be weighing in on the competition, and they'll be posting their musings RIGHT HERE on this blog! We thought that this would be a great way to kick off the activity on the blog, and we hope you'll get involved as well, through comments or submissions!