Recaps for The Sing-Off

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'The Sing-Off' recap: Ready For The Merge!

The Sing-Off 's second bracket just doesn't hold a candle to the first bracket, does it? Despite the presence of solid singing, I just find most of the groups in this bracket overwhelmingly  blah . Suffice it to say, I'm very excited for the merger next week. That being said, tonight's recap will be a bit shorter than usual. Instead of going through every performance, let's just rank the performers and go over the main highlights (and lowlights) from last night: 1. Pentatonix The Texan fivesome continued to assert themselves as the freshest, most creative group in the second bracket. They drastically re-arranged both Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug" and Janis Joplin's "Piece Of My Heart" and in both performances, they managed to sound like a much larger group than just five people. Their swingy Ke$ha turn proved just as successful than their reggae-lite Joplin offering (which featured a killer vocal-flugelhorn solo), and as Ben accurately articulated, they should keep taking risks—it keeps them very interesting. Read More... //

'The Sing-Off' Week 4 Rankings: The Best and Worst Top 40 and 1960s Performances, Part 2

I don't blame you if you got a little  deja vu  while watching  The Sing-Off  this week, especially if you're more focused on the singing than the structure of the competition. Or if you tend to automatically tune out anythingNick Lachey says (can't blame you there), because, as he explained before tonight's sunshiny opening number, the remaining 6 groups from Bracket 2 had the exact same challenge as the Bracket 1 groups did last week: Two performances per group, one Top 40 hit and one 1960s classic.    Read More.... //

THE SING-OFF “Radio Hits and 60?s Classics: Part 2? Review

THE SING-OFF  "Radio Hits and 60?s Classics: Part 2? Season 3, Episode 4 – This week’s episode of The Sing-Off  started off with the most theatrical opening so far this season. The vocalists from the second bracket of  The Sing-Off  performed an arrangement  of Plain White T’s "Rhythm Of Love" with choreography and background sets that would have felt right at home  on  Glee . Now, before I cover the good and the bad of tonight’s episode, I have to address the ugly: lower lash strips. With my a crisp HD feed, I can see  where the edges of those lower lash strips have lifted off and come away from the natural eye line. With the intense overhead stage lighting, those strange lower lash strips cast a very unflattering shadow on these lovely faces and some of those women look like their mascara has streaked down their face. I’ve seen how great those lower lash strips can look in the right environment and on the right face, but they look terrible on the TV  stage of  The Sing-Off  and I’m hoping they’ll stop wearing them soon. Read More... //

The Sing-Off Recap: Who Made What Grade?

Contestants on The Sing-Off tackled many current hits this week, including many that are familiar to fans of Glee . Let's get right to the grades, shall we? Round One: Today's Chart Toppers Vocal Point - "Never Say Never" - Vocal Point continued without Ben whose father passed. I wouldn't be mentally at the point to return if I were Ben. The group's choreography was boy band cheesy which worked well. The karate motions were hysterical. I appreciated that there were multiple lead singers, but once in a while the background sounded muddled. My Grade: B+ Delilah - "Whataya Want From Me?" - The group wanted to experiment in arrangements, but it wasn't working. They should have considered listening to Pink's original version to see if the slight differences between her and Adam Lambert could have helped. I liked the sparse vocals in the beginning except for the fact that a few girls joined in a few seconds early. Their arrangement wasn’t perfect and they should have considered a few alternatives for the second verse. There are some powerful voices in the group, but they need to work on filling in the sound. My Grade: B+ Urban Method - "Just Can't Get Enough" - There was interesting drama because they couldn't keep the rapper in front this time, leading to America getting to hear other voices. I liked the layers of the voices in this group and they didn't need the gimmick of having of a rapper. The tempo change was fun, but the rapping was weak. My Grade: A- Afro-Blue - "American Boy" - There was a minor issue with trying to Jazz-ify Estelle because the song needed to be recognizable. The group was also given a song that had a rapper in it and had to make it work. I liked the jazzy buildup of the song, though it took too long to get to the words. The tempo threw me off because it wasn't close to the original at all. I appreciated the experiment, but the last few seconds was better. My Grade: A- Read More... //

'The Sing-Off' recap: Dance to the Music!

With two themes, 12 performances, and one elimination crammed into two hours, the third episode of  The Sing-Off  was an exercise in efficiency—and a welcome one at that! (I'm looking at you, two hour  Dancing with the Stars results shows...) The night began with a stirring group performance of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know," which gave Kinfolk 9's Moi his first opportunity to show off that gorgeous voice of his. Also impressive was the green-clad Vocal Point tenor, whose effortless belting made the whole song soar. And then it was time to kick off the individual group (an appropriate oxymoron) performances. Last night, each group had to sing two songs: one current hit (which meant anything from 2008 on) and one hit from the 1960s. First up were the modern offerings: //

'The Sing-Off': Urban Method, Vocal Point Prove Their Pop Chops

On the third week of head-to-head competition,  The Sing-Off  took the first six teams to battle on pop hits and sixties classics. Urban Method  came to prove that its rap-a-pella style could hold its own in proper competition. It started off with their rendition of  Black Eyed Peas’  "Just Can’t Get Enough." Judge  Sarah Bareilles  went nuts over their arrangement. For the 60s challenge, the group brought it once again and I was happy to see that they didn’t try to shove rap into a song that predated the art form. They rocked out on  Sly & the Family Stone’s  "Dance to The Music."  Shawn Stockman  was beside himself, saying there were "so many goodies" in it. Then  Ben Folds  called it their best performance yet. Giving them a run for their money, the Mormons from BYU,  Vocal Point . We found out that Ben isn't back as he had planned, since his father passed away. The group started the night with their version of  Justin Bieber’s  "Never Say Never." I have to say that I was missing the higher notes on that performance and they were all really, really stiff dancers. Shawn poked a little fun at them for taking the song so seriously, but said they still made it fun. Sarah said they were like "wholesome Thundercats." Their 60s song was a bit more their speed and style in my opinion:  Frank Sinatra’s "The Way You Look Tonight." Sarah said she was floating and Ben said he felt he was listening to actual big band at times. Read More... //

THE SING-OFF “Radio Hits and 60?s Classics: Part 1? Review

THE SING-OFF  "Radio Hits and 60?s Classics: Part 1? Season 3, Episode 3 – After making it though the first round of cuts, the groups returning to  The Sing-Off  were tasked with arranging and performing a current radio hit and a hit from the sixties. They opened up this stage of the competition with a group rendition of Keane’s "Somewhere Only We Know." Vocal Point brought back memories of the boy band heyday with their choreographed performance of Justin Beiber’s "Never Say Never." Although her statement made me laugh out loud, Sarah actually described their vibe pretty perfectly when she said they were like "wholesome  Thundercats ." Shawn’s imitation of their serious ninja dance moves also made me crack up, but Vocal Point sounded great and everyone appreciated that they didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously. Read More... //

THE SING-OFF “Season Premiere: Part 2? Review

THE SING-OFF  "Season Premiere: Part 2? Season 3, Episode 2 – In this week’s episode, we got to see the second bracket of a capella groups that were vying for a $200,000 cash prize and a recording contract with Sony Music on  The Sing-Off . The groups from the second bracket opened the episode with a rendition of My Chemical Romance’s "Sing." I really love these group numbers at the start of each episode. There’s something moving about seeing so many talented vocalists come together to just sing their hearts out. "Dartmouth Aires" was the a capella group from Dartmouth College that nailed a high energy performance of Stevie Wonder’s "Higher Ground." They had really great percussion, sustained animation and were solid entertainers. As Sarah commented, their control over their breathing while they were singing and moving all over the stage was incredible. It was a very impressive opening performance and this group is off to a great start. Read More... //

The Sing-Off Review: Back to School

The Sing-Off introduced a bit of diversity last night, but we were still left with an abundance of college-aged kids belting out their favorites on stage. Below, I hand out my weekly grades... Dartmouth Aires - Oh, look an all-male college acapella group that doesn't believe in stereotypical outfits. After three seasons, I'm already jaded. Their opening to "Higher Ground" had funk to it, but then there were too many sounds that didn't work perfectly and it became a lot of background garble. The end had the same exact problem, but I liked the power ending. I liked their attempt to keep their fashion sense when they were stuck wearing clothes that looked like it was from Old Navy. My Grade: B- Penatonix - The quintet started off as a trio that gained a bassist and beat boxer with a lot of YouTube hits. Their differentiating factor was they like transforming club music into jazzy acapella. I liked the slow opening and appreciated that with only four voices doing the harmonization, they filled the gaps well. The fact that they allowed other soloists during the performance, I'll forgive he Christina Aguilera-eque vocal runs. My Grade: A     Read More... //

THE SING-OFF “Season Premiere: Part 1? Review

THE SING-OFF  "Season Premiere: Part 1? Season 3, Episode 1 –  The Sing-Off  kicked off this season with a two hour premiere showcasing the first bracket of talented a capella groups from across the country. Ben Folds and Shawn Stockman returned to the judges table this season, joined by new judge, Sarah Barilles. As a former member of an all vocal group in college herself, Sarah was a great addition to the judges panel for this competition where the groups were competing for a $200,000 cash prize  and a recording contract with Sony Music . The first first group of the night was an all male a capella group from the University  of Rochester, "The Yellow Jackets. Their background video showcased clips from their inspiring musical exchange trip to Kenya. They performed K’naan’s "Waving Flag" and their live performance  in the studio actually sounded better than the clips of their rehearsals and performances  that they had included in their highlight reel. From this first performance, this group seems to have quite a few diverse, strong soloist performers who all function and blend really well into a great choir. Read More... //