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The Sing-Off
Season 3
NBC
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The biggest musical challenge ever to hit the stage features 16 teams, great music... and no instruments.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN
 
Host Nick Lachey
Judges Sara Bareilles
Ben Folds
Shawn Stockman
Creator Joel Gallen
EP Joel Gallen
Deborah Jelin Newmyer
Sam Weisman
Josh Greenberg
Packager Tenth Planet Productions & Outlaw Productions for Sony Pictures TV
Origins Sunset Bronson Studios, Los Angeles
Web nbc.com/singoff
Airs 8p ET Mon, NBC
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Round of 7: Superstar Medleys
October 31

Last week, hip-hop was the order of the day, but the Collective and the Rochester Yellowjackets couldn't roll with the rest of the crew, sending us into the first-ever Sing-Off showdown. After the dust settled, the Nashville group was asked to hang up their mics and say their goodbyes. Now seven remain in the hunt for $200,000 and the Sony Music recording contract.

But first, let's get a little spooky this Halloween with a medley of "This Is Halloween" (Danny Elfman), "Werewolves of London" (Warren Zevon), and Gordon's personal Halloween favorite, Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters."

First up...

1) URBAN METHOD - They've been riding the innovative wave of rap-a-pella since the very start of this competition, but they're going to have to put their singers in the spotlight, as they draw a medley of Rihanna hits "What's My Name", "Umbrella", and "Only Girl (In the World)".

Let's get something straight. If you've ever seen or heard Rihanna perform... well, Rihanna is sex. You have to ooze sensuality when you do her songs. The ladies sound the part in the solos, but I'm not sure that they look the part. Technically not a fault, but there was something missing. Almost like they were concentrating on doing things that they're not accustomed to doing, and we get this as a result. And the blend from song to song could stand to be a little more creative. Sara calls the group out on their confidence in their performance, and I'm not one to disagree with a fellow a cappella geek.

2) VOCAL POINT - They're good Utah boys who stand together through thick and thin, as demonstrated through their unity in the face of tragedy... so how would they fare against the original rock'n'roll bad boy Elvis? They'll find out and so will we when they do "Don't Be Cruel", "Can't Help Falling in Love", and "Jailhouse Rock".

Well, if they were going to riff on Elvis, they picked the three safest songs to do so. The thing that gets me is that they had a chance to apply the creative juices that they did last week with the hip-hop number, and they end up sounding like an Elvis cover band. The strongest performance of the three creatively and technically: "Can't Help Falling In Love", which doesn't really have to sound like anything. So that was open season, and they went to town on it. But other than that, the medley didn't bring anything to the party.

3) AFRO-BLUE - They proved that they could blend anything with their trademark jazz sound. But now they have to step it up with a trio of Janet hits: "What Have You Done For Me Lately", "When I Think Of You", and "Miss You Much". Call it the Rhythm Nation medley.

They played to their strengths and the transitions were almost effortless, but the scatting was a bit of a cop-out. Can't think of a transition? Scat on it. But the arrangement on "When I Think Of You" and "Miss You Much" was distinctly unique to this group. Pitchwise, dead on, but still, it needed a little bit of treble to bring it all together.

4) DARTMOUTH AIRES - These guys are classic college crazy. But can they match the vocals of a classic college staple? They're going to do three of the best from Queen: "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody", and "Somebody to Love". What, no "Flash Gordon", "Bicycle", and "Who Wants to Live Forever"? SHENANIGANS!

Wanted to see more of the group in the numbers. Got it during "Bohemian Rhapsody", but lost the trademark high C. What the hell, mate. Anyway, the singing was great and the performance is inspired as always, but the arrangement could stand to be a little less... well, you remember Fannin Family from episode 1? Yeah, they were eliminated on that crap. Just saying.

5) PENTATONIX - Showing that quality doesn't necessarily mean quantity, we have a quintet that's been slowly rising in the ranks. Can they build off of last week's success with Britney's "Oops... I Did It Again!", "Toxic", and "Hold It Against Me"?

Smart choices doing something old, something iconic, and something new. Because that's what Britney is, essentially, old, iconic, and new. They're taking ANOTHER risk. So we know that they like taking risks. Arrangement works from to A to B to C, and the transitions are seamless. And a little of their own magic is always a good thing. Just good life sense... Something gets thrown at you, you throw it back with a little bit of your own.

6) DELILAH - This band of Sing-Off all-stars has been slipping a bit, but they get it back last week. Now they have to build on that. They're going with a trio from Alicia Keys, "Fallin'", "A Woman's Worth", and "If I Ain't Got You".

The good news, three songs that go well together. The bad news, you do that, you end up sounding the same. That's the risk you take. Again, they're "arranging for Delilah", but it stands to reason that if you have a shot to go for it, then you go for it. The soloists fail in that regard, but the group blends effortlessly. But the tempo started to go nuts in the middle of "A Woman's Worth" for no apparent reason. In the end, it's safe. And they're going to be safe for it. But again, you're doing no favors to anyone less yourself by going the safe route.

7) YELLOWJACKETS - These Rochester students barely survive to sing another day after winning the showdown by a 2-1 decision. Now they have to prove that it was no accident by closing with Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams", "She's Always a Woman", and "Uptown Girl", three songs that lend themselves to a cappella nicely.

... I would've picked "The Longest Time", "The River of Dreams", and "Lullaby", because they stream so well. As it is right now, it was a mite flat to start on "River", there needed to be a little more group dynamic in "Always a Woman", and the transition to "Uptown Girl" was just not thought through. At all. Overall, it was lifeless, and the Yellowjackets could be in a world of hurt after tonight.

Before we get to a decision, we get a bonus performance from season 2's champions Committed, with a Chris Brown medley of "Forever", "With You", and "Yeah 3X". All I can say is... buy the CD, damn it.

Now that we've all seen what sweet victory looks like, it's time to see what bitter defeat looks like. One of the seven groups has just sang their coda. Moving on to the next round... Dartmouth Aires... Pentatonix... and Vocal Point. Joining them... Delilah and Afro-Blue. That leaves Urban Method and the Yellowjackets in the bottom two.

Leaving tonight ... THE YELLOWJACKETS. They sing us out with their swan song, "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba.

You got knocked down, now get back up for...

Power Rankings after Week Seven:
PENTATONIX
AFRO-BLUE
URBAN METHOD
DARTMOUTH AIRES
DELILAH
VOCAL POINT

Six groups remain in the hunt. Next time...we're a little bit country and a little bit rock'n'roll. Signing off from the Sing Off, it's Achordant #5 reminding you to support local & independent music!

To see this episode in its entirety, visit www.nbc.com/singoff.