Last night on "The Sing-Off", we had big hits and
guilty pleasures. Unfortunately, the only thing Noteworthy is guilty of is
taking a big hit to their register as they are shown the door. At the end of
tonight's show, though, we'll be left with four groups competing for your votes.
We start with a group sing of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky",
looking like a vocalizing NBC peacock.
Round 4: Superstar Medley
The groups are going to be given the charge of
performing medleys of multiple songs by the same artists. They better be bloody
good, because this is an elimination round, and one group will be shown the door
by the judges.
First up, the Caribbean crooners of Nota, who had
two big performances so far (and one that needed work). They have to stay
focused and keep working hard. Six guys from Puerto Rico will channel five guys
from Indiana. That's right, it's the Jackson 5 medley with "I Want You Back",
"I'll Be There", and "ABC"
What they say: Shawn likes the way they brought
the energy, and they didn't miss a beat. Nicole thought that it was an honest
delivery of a song. Ben said that they didn't make anything cheap. They made it
intimate. He wants the false to be pushed a little harder.
What we say: They nail the harmonies on "I'll Be
There", and the transitions are spot on, but their "ABC" was a little weak and
sort of flat. But all in all a good start.
What Gordon says: They are a crowd pleaser, no
doubt, but they were consistently flat throughout the medley and their 'I'll Be
There' was painful to listen to. They do finish on a high note with 'ABC', and
the kids love them, so they should be ok (though I didn't like them as much as
everyone else did).
Next up, the Beelzebubs from Tufts University.
They are born entertainers, no doubt, but can they show us "Who" they are with a
medley of the Who's hits "Behind Blue Eyes", "Who Are You", and "Baba O'Riley".
What they say: Nicole said it was more powerful
in their less-is-more performance. Shawn saw a deeper side of their voices. Ben
thought it was driven by the lead vocals. He thought that Matt and Eric had some
What we say: This is probably the Bubs' best
performance, having blended great harmonies with a killer stage presence.
What Gordon says: When they aren't flying around
the stage like...well...flying Beelzebubs, they can sing. This was focused, spot
on pitch-wise, and emotionally charged up - something I didn't see on the second
episode. They did exactly what they needed to do, which showed their serious
side as well as their performance acumen. 'Behind Blue Eyes' was masterfully
done. Far and away, the best that I have heard them.
The medleys continue with Maxx Factor keeping up
with the younger set no problem. Leslie says they're ready to kick some a
cappella butt. They'll strap on the boots of the Beach Boys to do it. The songs:
"God Only Knows What I Would Be Without You", "Wouldn't It Be Nice", and "Good
What they say: Ben says that they're not trying
to pretend that they're doing things that they ought not to be doing. Nicole
thinks they're in sync and that they sound like more than just their four
voices. Shawn commends them for taking on the Beach Boys, but it took them a
minute to get into the groove.
What we say: A nice combination of their
barbershop skills and the instrumentation in "Wouldn't It Be Nice", but other
than that, it was emotionally flat and the transitions were not there. They're
going to need a miracle to pull this off, because they're in a field of five hot
What Gordon says: They listened to the judges. We
got more group harmonies and less individual singing. I really liked the
singing. I did not like the transitions (or lack of). The ending when Leslie
kept a note and the other groups harmonized were sweet, yet powerful. As good as
they were, because they weren't very good yesterday, they will need an errors
from both Voices fof Lee and The So-Cals to advance (since I think that Nota and
the Beelzebubs are locks for the finals).
Medley action continues with Journey from the
SoCals. They'll have a hard time trying to top what they did in the first round
last night. They'll hope to hit Steve Perry's notes with "Any Way You Want It",
"Open Arms", and "Don't Stop Believin'".
What they say: Shawn says that they bring about a
feeling in him when they click together. Ben thought a lot of stuff went right,
saying that the "Open Arms" duet made him weepy. Nicole sees a lot of
improvement every single night. All three LOVED David's electric air guitar
What we say: I think if you're the SoCals, you
don't pick any other group than Journey. This was a smart selection, a) because
the energy demands it, and 2) because one of the judges happens to cover it on
their new album. And the closer kind of borrows from a musical show on another
network... This was kinda slick. This was their best performance.
What Gordon says: They go back to the duets and
it works. The choreography works, as does the instrumentation and the pitch. The
background instrumentation, which I did not like last time out, worked a lot
better now. Journey was a great choice for them, and from a pitch standpoint, it
was flawless. Like the Beelzebubs, this was far and away their best performance.
One more group medley and that's the Voices of
Lee and the Beatles. They needed a couple of strong outings last night and they
got them. But can they close the deal for the public vote tonight? They'll
perform "Paperback Writer", "Oh Darling", and "All You Need Is Love".
What they say: Nicole thought it was awesome,
thinking that "All You Need Is Love" captured their essence. Shawn was just
worried about "Paperback Writer" until they nailed it. They stepped it up. Ben
thought that all three songs were treated as compositions, but "Paperback
Writer" didn't really mean that much to them.
What we say: I don't care what anyone says about
how on point they were vocally... That. Was. Preeeeeeeeeeee-tentious.
What Gordon says: If I'm going to select a
Beatles medley, and I'm trying to win a competition which requires America's
vote, 'Paperback Writer' and 'Oh Darling' are not songs I'm using. I wouldn't be
using any of the 3 songs (yes, not even All You Need is Love, as that's been
sung out). Pitchy on the transitions, pitchy on All You Need is Love, and just a
Voices of Lee
Overall rankings after four...
Voices of Lee
If the judges are basing on that performance alone, Voices of Lee are out. If
they are basing it on total portfolio as of now, it's Maxx Factor that's getting
booted. The judges are going with...total portfolio. Meh. Maxx Factor will sing
their swan song with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" by Peter, Paul & Mary.
Round 5: Judges' Request
Now the experts have a say in what the groups
sing, as they choose a song to highlight their strengths.
Shawn thought that the guys from Nota were
soulful down to the bone, The judges have chosen something that is very much a
challenge... Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer".
What they say: Ben loved seeing them freak out
with the song. They know when to drop the groove and that propels the song
along. Nicole says that this highlights their talent. Shawn noted that Nota is
starting to sound a little troubled by the piece.
What we say: As usual, Nota are very creative
with their interpretation, especially with the Latin flare at the end. Though
some of the choreography is a little bit cheesy.
What Gordon says: Much better from a vocal
standpoint this time around. I liked their background interpretation of the song
(though the sledgehammer fist was a little cheesey for me). I liked the
Caribbean feel at the end - but what I really would have like to have seen would
be an actual lyric in the Carnival style. I actually agree with Shawn that they
didn't own the song. Technically it was sound, but it was a tentative soundness.
Next up, the Bubs and one of America's all-time
sing-alongs... They're fun. They're playful. They're tight. They're singing...
"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. Performance is good, but at the end of the
day, this is about who can make a record. So yeah, this is a challenge.
I'm starting to get the judges' round here.
They're being evil.
What they say: Nicole's charmed by their humor.
Ben saw restraint and maturity. Shawn thought he was listening to Neil Diamond.
What we say: Too much gravy, not enough potatoes.
They're good performers, but this was a test of vocality they D'ed big time.
What Gordon says: This is a traditional
barbershop song, and it was done traditionally well, and sung traditionally
decent, in it's own traditional way. In other words...IT WAS BORING. The only
spark was that one of the singers presented Nicole with a set of flowers.
Nothing bad anout the performance, but some innovation would have been nice.
How evil will the judges be to the SoCals? Let's
find out as they sing... "Hazy Shade of Winter" by Simon & Garfunkel (more
famously the Bangles). It's a dramatic song, but it doesn't really channel the
vibe of musical theatre that we're used to.
What they say: Ben thought that the song was God,
and he hates to see that the song is getting lost. Shawn liked the breakdown in
the middle, calling the arrangement interesting. Nicole liked the energy and
they gave it everything.
What we say: The SoCals come through again as
they put their own spin on this established song while still doing umbrage to
the original. Unfortunately the background is drowning out the ladies.
What Gordon says: Not nearly as tight as the
first performance. The energy was there, and they certainly didn't play it
safe...BUT...pitchy and ill-tempoed all over the place. They get good grades for
effort, but the instrumentation (with the wah-wahs) drowned out the vocals. I
had them in the finals, but if the Voices of Lee show up to impress, I'm going
to have to take them out of the finals. Really bad time to have a bad
One more song away from decision time, as the
Voices of Lee have one more chance to show up for the finals. They get... "Man
in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson. It's a fun song, but it has a message. They
need to innovate, because Michael Jackson is a big rhinestone glove to fill.
What they say: Shawn didn't feel the power of the
original song. It wasn't just about sounding good, it was about feeling good.
And Shawn didn't really feel good hearing it. Technically sound, but the feeling
was lost. Nicole didn't feel a powerful impact, but the message was there. Ben
was moved by it, not married to the original.
What we say: Write a letter to the judges saying
"Thank you very much for putting our group in the finals." Aside from one miscue
on the bridge and several misfires as far as harmonies are concerned, this had a
little bit of heart that the SoCals didn't have. This may be one of the closest
calls that the judges have to make.
What Gordon says: A little shaky at the
beginning, but they cover it up. Unlike the SoCals, the harmony does not drown
out the vocals. But I 100% agree with Shawn; it's technically sound, but there
was no fire behind it. At least you had passion with the SoCals.
So now it's decision time. What's better,
technically clean with no fire, or plenty of fire, but an audible mess? We
Voices of Lee
Overall Rankings after five...
Voices of Lee
Time to face the music... Singing in the
finale... THE BEELZEBUBS... and NOTA!
That leaves the bottom two: Voices of Lee and the
SoCals. As we said before... Voices of Lee had passion but no fire. SoCals had
fire but no real harmonies. Joining the Bubs and Nota in the finals, and through
to the public vote... are...
VOICES OF LEE! Sorry, SoCals, but it's the end of
the line for you. They'll sing us off with "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake.
The battle lines have been drawn. Monday night,
the Beelzebubs, Nota, or the Voices of Lee will win $100,000, a Sony Music
recording contract, and the title of the first-ever Sing-Off Champions. Who wins
this? I defer to Gordon, since for the great duration of this series, we've been
on the same page.
What Gordon says: So who wins the finale? Between their performances and their
reputation, I think the devils will get their due during Christmas week.
Beelzebub to win over Nota, with Voices of Lee coming in 3rd.
You're not going to want to miss the finale.
Until then, sing us out, people...
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