For the last four weeks, the sixteen song squads
have been singing in two divisions, but now that the field has been cut to the
final 10, it's time for them to come together as one. But harmony like that will
come as a price, as two teams will kiss their $200,000 dreams - and their shot
at that Sony Music contract - goodbye tonight.
1) YELLOWJACKETS - The collegiate crooners have
ticked all the boxes so far... acting goofy, acting cool, and wooing the female.
Now they're going to have a little fun with "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. Their
arrangement was admittedly very bare. Can they get it together by showtime?
One of the chief complaints they had going in is
that their arrangement needed depth. Otherwise, it wasn't music. Today, they get
it together and put on a really goofy, really deep performance. They're still
tight on the harmonies and that's as important as their stage presence, which is
also something to call your mom about. However, you probably want to control the
dynamic when you're delivering a high-energy number like that. But overall, it
flowed together, even if it was a little... "flarp" (Shawn's word for sharp and
2) DELILAH - Last week was a shock to the system
of the all-female supergroup of Sing-Off all-stars. Will they regroup with "Flashdance...
What a Feeling!" by Irene Cara... or will they feel an even DEEPER sting?
Much more subdued to start, and the soloist can
kill it (though it verges on overkill at points). The arrangement needed a
little bit of musical support. There was a quote thrown out by the Yellowjackets
in the package: "If everyone is singing the same thing... it's not music."
Delilah is not the group it was when the show began. Still good enough to
survive, but no longer good enough to win. Still time to turn it around.
3) NORTH SHORE - the men of Boston brought down
the house last week with "The Lazy Song", but now the onus is on them to
duplicate or surpass that success this week, lest they flame out quickly.
They're going to try out "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & the News.
... That song needed something. Something you
didn't have. It needed a little bit of depth, a little emotion. This was the
wrong song to sing, and it just felt hollow. You're good singers, but we needed
another moment like last week, and we didn't get it.
4) THE COLLECTIVE - the a cappella new kids of
the block are slowly feeling their way around the waters, but they've yet to
dive in as one whole. Will that change tonight with "I Will Survive" by Gloria
You could NOT have picked a better soloist to
start this song. She is the focal point of the group... I would've gotten her to
sing the whole and save the secondary for the chorus. Otherwise, it's competing
divas, and the point of the group is ... hello, the group. Great arrangement on
the background, great phrasing, they're together for once. But the song only
needs one singer... and they don't need to overdo it. Very emotional, though.
5) DARTMOUTH AIRES - Last week, the Ivy Leaguers
showed that they were in it for keeps. Do they have enough energy left for
"Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield?
I'm looking for the classic bass line... and
there it is. But the leads are drowning out that background on the verses. But
as flat as the background veers at times... do we really WANT to hear it? It's a
good performance, but it means nothing if it isn't musically on point all the
Five down, five left, but first... someone has to
Moving on to next week's round of eight... The
Collective... and the Yellowjackets! Joining them... The Dartmouth Aires!
Narrowly avoiding the curtain call... for the second round in a row, DELILAH!
It's back to Boston for the doo-woppers of North Shore, as they deliver their
swan song.... and it can only be the Spaniards classic, "Goodnight Sweetheart".
Round 2 set to begin with ...
6) AFRO-BLUE - Another fine showing from the
folks at Howard University, followed by a bit of a low point. Can they get it
back with "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston? Over the last 10
years, the pit of vocal despair has been littered with the bodies of those who
dare to take on the throne.
Good arrangement, but a mite flat on the chorus.
And this is a mid- to high-range energy song. I didn't feel energy. I felt a lot
of swag, but if you're going to go the energetic route, then it needs to be two
whole minutes of it, not 15 seconds toward the end. Nice blend, though.
And somebody please break up Shawn and Sara?
Adults are talking.
7) PENTATONIX - They hit a major stumbling block
last time with Ke$ha. This week, something more their speed, vocal remixes on
the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star". But they decide to take it more
seriously. Is it going to be too safe?
Pentatonix is back in it. A good move switching
songs. Nice change-ups, and they were all within the tone of the song, so
nothing is lost in translation. Arrangement is killer solid, and the group goes
back to what it knows with a song that called for it.
8) DELTONES - They need to come together now more
than ever, because they have a problem, calling their practice of "Listen to
Your Heart" by Roxette "stiff", which is pretty much the SOP of the group so
far. Can they break out of that?
They are a great ensemble. Let's get THAT out of
the way. It was a good arrangement performed solidly, but the group just seems
to be trying to find its own voice, and the performance - specifically the
unison bodyrock - screamed of "Holy crap, we're not doing anything! Quick! Do
something!" And because they lose focus on THAT, they lose focus on the dynamic,
and it might cost them dearly. Ben is right, the breakdown ... broke down.
9) URBAN METHOD - Street cred is their middle
name, and you want to talk about putting your own mark on the competition? This
is the group that does it. But can they re-imagine "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe?
My best friend, a former groupmate by the name of
Eric Ellis, got a group of us alums together to just goof off of random songs,
and this was one of our best. Urban Method... hits every one of the marks TWICE.
And a very lucrative song choice given who's on the panel.... Shawn. THE
performance of the night PERIOD.
10) VOCAL POINT - The main storyline of this
group is going into the competition one crooner short. Well, fear not, BYU
faithful, as Ben is back from Australia and his father's funeral. This week's
closer... a bit of a tribute to their huckleberry friend and an attempt to keep
everyone in good spirits... If you missed it this weekend (C-Note: and if you
did, good on you)... time to cut "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins.
Technically proficient, but it doesn't dive into
full-on attitude mode until the bridge ("Cut! Foot! Loose!"). It needed a little
more edge, though, and a deeper arrangement. I will not sit here at my laptop
and lie to you and say that I haven't heard this song done better (Straight No
We've cut footloose, and we killed the radio
star. Now it's time to cut a group and kill a dream.
Returning next week to sing another day...
Pentatonix... and Urban Method! Joining them... Vocal Point. That leaves
Afro-Blue and the Deltones on the brink.
... still in it ... is... AFRO-BLUE. The Deltones
lose focus... and then they lose their box. They sing us out with their swan
song, "Goodbye to You" by Michelle Branch.
My guilty pleasure? Judging others with a Power
Power Rankings after Week Five:
Eight groups remain in the hunt. Next time...
HIP-HOP BATTLE IS ON. Signing off from the Sing Off, it's Achordant #5 reminding
you to support local & independent music!
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