Last time on the Sing-Off, we met eight groups, all
of which had the power to create spectacular harmonies with only their voices.
Two of them, Face and Solo, were given the unceremonious heave-ho, leaving the
other six to sing again tonight.
Tonight's show features two rounds of songs, "Big
Hits" and "Guilty Pleasures". At the end of both rounds, the judges will decide
on the next group who'll have to sing their swan song.
Round 2: Big Hits
First up is the Beelzebubs, who brought the house
down last night with the "Magical Mystery Tour". They're going to switch things
up crazy with "Right Round" by Flo Rida. Can the Bubs rap? Let's find out.
What they say: Ben says that there was no
novelty. Musically, they were in the right director. They're strong as an
ensemble, but the solos weren't as strong. Nicole says it was so much fun and
that it was sexy. Shawn thinks they rocked it. They kept it entertaining and
raised the bar.
What we say: The lead doesn't have the strength
to match the song. We needed to hear more background. But they match the
entertainment value and the crowd is eating it up.
What Gordon says: Yes, it's fun and bouncy. And
yes, it's nice to hear that sort of song in that sort of genre. However, any
time you do rap in a group, you must be in unison. There were noticeable gaffes
in the lack of unity in both the rapping and the harmonization, while the
choreography was not as tight either. Ben Folds is right when he said it's fun,
but not novelty. Crowd pleaser? Yes. Better than yesterday? No.
Next up, the ladies of Noteworthy, who failed to
show their range last night. They'll try again with a song made famous by a male
singer, there's a challenge... "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay. The key's lower, but
can they keep pace?
What they say: Shawn says they ventured out and
that they warmed up, but the low register was kind of off. Ben cites charisma,
but there are some harmonies that could be opened up. Nicole thinks the
challenge for females doing male songs is hitting a register that works for
them, but she liked the breakdown.
What we say: The background is there, but the
solo wasn't. The background as a whole has no problem matching the song, but
again, the group proved that they don't really have any range to tackle that big
of a song.
What Gordon says: I always have issues with men
selecting songs sung by women. I have the same problem with women selecting
songs sung by men, especially if they don't have the growelly chops to pull it
off. And in this song, they don't - It's way too low in the vocal register and
the backgrounds painfully illustrate that. Add a missed money note at the end
and it's too all over the place for me. They needed to pick something they can
shine through, but this selection is just way too murky. It's a bad choice of
song and they should be glad that they have a second performance.
Next up, we're heading south with Voices of Lee.
They gave it all in their opening performance, but now they're going to try and
do the same without their musical director. There's a bit of nervousness, but
they're going to bring it together, hopefully in time to blaze the stage with
"No One" by Alicia Keys.
What they say: Nicole's most important thing is
that the heart is in it. Shawn says that people will believe them and that they
came from a real place in this song. Ben says that it was a different group than
what he saw last night. The arrangement and the harmonies were good.
What we say: I don't know if the soloist had the
strength to carry that opening verse, because it was a very powerful lyric to
begin with. the rest of the song ahd the group coming together, but it was
almost like all-meat-no-potatoes. We know you can do syllables, but it was
almost like you were afraid to do anything else. It was a tiny step in the wrong
What Gordon says: Very noticeable miscue in the
timing to start the song. The vocals seemed less like singing and more like
screaming. Unlike Noteworthy's song, which should have been brought up a few
steps, this one should have been taken down a notch or two, pitch-wise. I've
heard that background instrumentation before, and I was looking for more
originality than what I got. I completely disagree with Ben - this didn't sound
like a band song as much as it sounded like Alicia Keys does Christmas. Like
Noteworthy, I want to see something better the next time out.
Nota's island rhythms were on full display last
night. It was a good way to open the show. Now they have to keep the timbre on
the up with "Down" by Jay Sean. They plan on bringing the Puerto Rican flavor to
What they say: Shawn says that the performance
was effortless. They get it. They can do a song and make it their own. Ben
thought it was entertaining, saying the soloist has the rockstar voice. Nicole
is playing with Ben's glasses and thought that the arrangement was innovative.
What we say: And we have a new leader. This was
the perfect song choice for them, and it was the perfect arrangement. Wasn't the
perfect pitch, but it was a good performance. You guys have set the bar.
What Gordon says: I heard this on the
previews and I wanted to like this song. Unfortunately, you can also use 'Down'
to describe the pitch, which went down from the muddling a cappella start of the
intro to the end. They couldn't keep it in the same pitch between the start and
the end of the song. I do like the Caribbean shift in the song and the
background instrumentation is far and away the most creative out of what I've
heard so far, but none of the fancy style matters without substance, and the
fluff stuff doesn't work if you can't keep it in pitch, which they didn't.
Again, yesterday was better. What's going on here?
Never backing down from a challenge next are the
SoCals, who love a power ballad. They are going to keep going forward from last
night's performance with another strong performance with Kelly Clarkson's
What they say: Shawn says singing from your gut
is most important, and they left it all on stage, but they were missing a little
bass. Nicole had high notes for the soloist and the beat. Ben wanted some more
bass. It was a lot better, building from strength to strength.
What we say: So far, the most believable
performance of the night. And the key change just felt effortless. This was a
group that, for the first time tonight, moved in the right direction.
What Gordon says: I'm not familiar with the song,
but they had believability on the drum beat, kept the song on time, kept it in
tune, and didn't screw up on the modulation in the middle of the song. So that,
to me, makes it the best performance of the night so far.
One group left, and that's the moms of Maxx
Factor. They had a shaky start as they were facing elimination. Now that they
were given one more chance, they're hoping to do justice with "Love Story" by
Taylor Swift. It's not the barbershop that they're used to, and they're hoping
that this will not end up hurting them.
What they say: Ben says that the barbershop was a
total asset. The ensemble lead works for them. Shawn said that they stepped out
of their comfort zone with a modicum of class. It was very warm and beautiful.
Nicole agrees with Shawn, saying that their blend is so tight together.
What we say: Ending on a high. Technically sound
and very well executed. They put their own spin on this and made it their own.
And that's what the competition is about.
What Gordon says: That introduction was sweet -
the best of the group (yes, better than Nota). Like Nota, some of the pitch
issues popped up in the first part of the song, but once they get to the chorus,
it was hot. They put a sweet Manhattan Transfer spin to the song. It was far and
away the best blending of the 6 groups. This is where the technically clean
singing and experience come into play. Now they have to add more innovation into
Rankings After Round 2:
Voices of Lee
Round 3: Guilty Pleasures
Next up, the songs we all love to sing... but
hate to admit. Time to throw shame to the four winds as we start the round with
"Come Sail Away" by Styx... courtesy of the Beelzebubs.
What they say: Ben: "Pass the Dramamine." He
liked it. Shawn doesn't think they're embarrassed to do anything. He loves
seeing them sing, but they need to stay out of the Boyz II Men closet. Nicole
says soloist Matt has the voice of an angel. They put their Bub stamp on the
What we say: Looked like "Glee" meets "South
Park". This was classic college schtick infused with a lot more harmony than we
saw last round.
What Gordon says: A little sloppy at the
beginning, but once it going to the chorus, we saw the fun Beelzebubs that
showed up on day #1. MUCH better this time around than on the first performance.
The Beelzebubs are so much better in this environment, when they can move around
from a vocal place with a slower lyric list than spmething quickpaced that can
get them in trouble, pitch-wise.
Noteworthy draws the two-spot with "Hold On" by
Wilson Phillips. No "Newlywed" jokes, please.
What they say: Nicole wanted a little bit more
blend, but she found a groove and went with it. Ben thought they had the classic
problem of "lots of chicks on stage". We have so many good singers, but no real
group dynamic. Shawn cites the "trouble with treble." The performance was great
and entertaining, though.
What we say: The best part was the catch in the
beginning, but after that, it just fell back into the "tinny" voice, and it
became shouty bordering on excruciating.
What Gordon says: From a lyrical perspective,
this is the best that they have sounded. The choice of vocal leadership works.
No shill voices, no awkward notes, and they had a lot of fun out there. That
being said, the pacing was brutal. A number of missed entry and exit cues,
combined with not everyone on the same page, tempo-wise, made some of the parts
of this song cringe-worthy. When Chico and I were talking after the first show,
he told me that Voices of Lee are going to be in trouble. I agree, but I think
if Voices of Lee shows up for the second performance, Noteworthy will be shown
the door first.
Speaking of, the Voices of Lee are going to get
one more shot at it with "Freedom '90" by George Michael. They're going for
gospel with this, letting go and bringing out all the stops.
What they say: Ben: "I don't think you felt
guilty about that at all!" They had a lot of bass, but they could've used more.
The sopranos were killer, though. Nicole thought it was liberating. There was a
warm choral sound. Shawn thought there was highs and lows, but no mid-range.
What we say: Welcome to the competition. When you
get the crowd clapping along with an arrangement so on point, you know you're
doing a good thing.
What Gordon says: MUCH improved from the first
effort. I really liked how they made this a gospel-type song. The
instrumentation was solid, the harmonies were smooth and sweet, and I really
liked the passing of the vocals from singer to singer. The duet was nice and the
end of the song was killer. This is the best performance that I have heard so
far this evening. Where has this been so far? Bye, Noteworthy.
Nota is sending us back to the 70s with "Stayin'
Alive" by the Bee Gees. They had to get in touch with their inner Travolta. They
have to enjoy it. Will they?
What they say: Shawn says that it's a scientific
fact that women love a well-placed falsetto. They can also work the place.
Nicole says if they keep singing like that, they'll definitely be staying alive
in this competition. Ben says that they're going sharp with it.
What we say: Pinto's trying too hard. Breath
control killed this song. The instrumental is pretty hot, but all in all the
arrangement didn't really do the group any favors.
What Gordon says: Wow. Completely didn't expect
this song selection. The lead vocalist and the heavy percussion throughout the
song works. The instrumentation doesn't - especially when the voice modulated to
the second half of the lyrics before the chorus and 2 band members stayed in the
same range, which caused a sharp-sunding effect. Oops. They have no problems
tonight, but they are no longer the runaway that I thought they were going to
From the 70s we head to 1987 with the SoCals
taking on Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now". They take this pretty
seriously. And then they choose cheese.
What they say: Ben says that what they did was
wrong. They did as much as they could do. Shawn says the song is about
melodrama, but soloist Allie & Dan were electric. Nicole says that they had a
lot of fun with it.
What we say: Yeah, way to show off that
seriousness. Starts out straight enough, but then the background ventures into
parts unknown... and then they decide to play it up seemingly for laughs and end
up killing the song (and no, not in the good way).
What Gordon says: Ugh. Now this is guilty cheese.
Did they just obliterate the first stanza of the song? They did. I give them
points for them to make this an upbeat Xanadu-style revision of the song, and
the Broadway choreography made it fun, but it seemed too fast paced, sharp in
lots of points, and it didn't work for me. As good as they were for the first
song - that's how bad they were this time around. Yuck.
One more before we send someone home. That's Maxx Factor going to "Rehab" with
What they say: Shawn thought it was good, but
he's heard them better. The sexiness and soulfulness is there, and he thinks
that they should change their name form "Maxx Factor" to "Cougarville." Nicole
wanted the group to get a little dirtier with it, but it was sassy AND classy.
Ben thought that the harmonies were lost a little bit in the bridge, but thought
that the style was entertaining.
What we say: Damn, bass much? Seriously, there
were parts that worked, but with a song like that, you have a negative space you
have to do something with, and I don't think you did as much as you could have.
What Gordon says: The beginning of the song was
incredibly strong. I love their Manhattan Transfer style to the song. When they
drop it down to Barber Shop-style though, it feels a little draggy and pitchy.
It seems like they ran out of steam as they proceeded through the song. They
need to get rid of the barbershop feel and get more contemporary. I agree with
Nicole that they need to be dirtier. And I agree with Ben that when it's 4
people singing harmonies, it's much stronger than 1 person singing lead and the
other 3 bop bopping along behind her, Their Love Story rendition was awesome and
they need to keep it in that vein.
Rankings After Round 3:
Voices of Lee
Our overall rankings after three rounds of competition...
Voices of Lee
But what did the judges say? The first two teams
definitely returning tomorrow... NOTA and the BEELZEBUBS! Joining them... VOICES
OF LEE! Down to the bottom three. Only two of them will be back. One of them...
the SoCALS! That leaves the bottom two: Noteworthy and Maxx Factor. One of them
will hand in their mics. Noteworthy was too treble, and could have spread the
vocal love a little better. Maxx Factor are inventive, but they needed to be a
little looser and a little less pitchy.
Living to vocalize another day... MAXX FACTOR!
Unfortunately, it's the end of the coda for Noteworthy, as they head back to BYU
singing their swan song, "Happy Ending" by Mika.
So as the final five get their vocal chops ready,
we get ready for one more show tomorrow night with four groups moving on to the
public vote, and one more group signing off from the Sing-Off.
To see this episode in its entirety, visit