And before we kick of Part two of episode five…

Here’s a link to a video of Pentatonix doing their (now 29 song) Beyonce medley at ABC News.

The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 5- Movie NightWhen we last left out intrepid band of mighty adventurers… Wait, wrong series… 3 groups up and 3 to go. Let’s get back to it!

The first two groups did a really great job. And the Kats went back to partying. At this point I was basically calling the order of the performances:

  1. Home Free
  2. Vocal Rush
  3. acoUstiKats

I wasn’t impressed by them. I really wanted to be, too. But there were three more groups and they could do anything to the positions of the previous performances. There was also the question of how the triple ultimate was going to fit in.

Fil-VJThe Filharmonic (@TheFilharmonic) – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith

The intro on this piece was quite silly. Initially the idea is that they will dress like painters (Well, astronauts) with an asteroid hurtling towards Earth. By the power of the Angelic voices combined, they save the planet by singing a note that changes into a beam that destr…. Yeah, the band didn’t buy it either. On a more serious note: The band commented that this is redemption for them. They need to convey the emotion. Jewel tells them that the song is a bold move. They’ll either hit a home run or go home. She wants to feel who they are singing to. She tells VK not to be just a smiling face. She wants real feeling and to see all the emotion.

My comments earlier about The Filharmonic:

In case you don’t remember this is, ‘That Aerosmith Armageddon Song.’ The Filharmonic is coming out with a Ballad. And one that I think would lend well to the Boy Band sound they have. This is the coin flip. This could either work stunningly well or be an exploding failure that would be called Glorious by a cadre of Kingons. (Did I mention that my Geek runs deep and I do embrace it.

I gave The Filharmonic a 12:1 which put them floating in the 3-4 spot. Either a solid land in the finals or a moment of doubt that they will return. The song started with a simple and single voice. It was smooth and lovely. All the vocal leads were on top notch. I loved the mix of voices and you could feel how everyone in the song was utterly committed to and moved by the piece. This even carried a little into the voices making the tone even stronger with emotions. The arrangement was simple; but it was powerful. There was a lot of maturity in the decision making. On the downside; even my ear could pick out some harmony tuning issues.

The judges:

Jewel: Bold Choice: You seem really moved. You seemed really vulnerable. Joe is overwhelmed.

Nick: Real sincerity.

Ben: Joe: Texture of your voice… Was stunning. The emotion helped push it. you connect and have a rock star aura. Don’t blow any moments. Hears it come unglued. Beat Box: Think about a cymbal when you use it. Think it you need it. A ‘good’ performance

Shawn: I think you interpreted lovely. Made the song your own without losing the feel. Gotta lock the harmonies.


VP-Elkins cropVoicePlay (@theVoicePlay) – “(Don’t you) Forget About Me” – Simple Minds

With a look back on last week, VocalPlay talks about how much of an emotional roller coaster the experience was. They really worked hard getting into the character of it. Jewel Freud then appears and begins an intense counseling session with Honey. (On twitter last night Ben Folds reminded people that the judges call her ‘Honey’ because that’s actually her name.) Jewel wasn’t sure if the angst she saw in “Don’t Speak” was real angst or ‘a really good assimilation of angst.” Which Honey was surprised at. As Jewel pushed her analysis further into Honey seeming to have a “Deep well in her heart,” Honey eventually broker down entirely. Says Jewel, “You give it, we’ll receive it.” Then she added, “I come, make you cry, and leave.” Trying to be light-hearted about it. She states she just wants to ‘feel the real.’

This walked the razors edge down what I don’t like about reality shows. Emotions run high in art no matter who is the artist or what the medium is. I felt like the producers were really baiting for emotions and I felt uncomfortably voyeuristic over the entire thing. I think it could have been edited with similar impact but not quite as invasive.

My comments earlier about VoicePlay:

I really like VoicePlay. I’ve made it clear. They have a Pentatonix vibe but different. Several people have actually gotten on the other side of the fence for this group because of this. This is a song that I think they will knock out of the park. It falls in their (to use a growingly annoying term) wheelhouse. But I think the pleasant surprise here is that we’ll see more of the other vocalists step up in this one and Honey may move to harmonies. This is a song like “Video Killed the Radio” that has such pure fandom and love behind it, that doing it right could seal them into the top two. Not doing it right could end the competition for them. I lean towards success.

My 10:1 odds had VoicePlay just edging The Filharmonic; but the Filharmonic brought a great performance and this song really is a definite make or break. I’m hoping that Honey will sit back on the vocals but to my surprise she leads off the song. And it is very poignant. It’s some of her best, leaning towards the gospel. There were some very nice cascades in the vocals. However; it was a complete rework of a VERY recognizable song. Once they finally got into the “LaLa” section that is the one thing most people familiar with the song know; the group seemed to fall apart. So, there was very little to hook into the original. The arrangement was very original, but sometimes that isn’t the best approach.

The judges:

First Shawn starts with a comment to all the groups:

To all – Vulnarability: What makes artists unique is that we bare our souls in front of millions of people. You can always be honest.

Shawn:  I loved the arrangement, I love how you started. Honey – Love your delivery. Eli – Nice to see you there. Group is not a one trick pony. With all that. The arrangement went up and wanted the peak… didn’t come. I wish there was more of the”LaLa” at the end. Other than that… It was a good performance.

Ben: Honey: Awesome. That was fantastic. Normally don’t comment… In the last chorus, taking off the symbolism was very performance. Loved the vocal without the net. Going to half time may not have been necessary. Was very moving. Thought it was great.

Jewel: Very proud. It’s an ongoing journey. Let your realness come out. Like the deconstructed the song. Moment of Polyphony. Ben: The La las at the end… the rhythm at the end was what was missing.

During the commercial lead up the judges reaffirmed that they missed the most memorable part of the song. This is a huge spike in the coffin likely to arrive in the episode for VocalPlay.


tenlogo-whiteonblackTen – (@OfficiallyTen) “Skyfall” – Adele

“I don’t thing the Singoff has seen out best performance yet.”

This is a very interesting comment about the group. What started out as 10 backup singers has really begun to become a very cohesive unit. Each performance has been better than the last. Jewel lends her opinions: There is great opportunity on their choice this week. This piece has a lot of texture. The voices and the arrangement need to deliver what is needed. Members of Ten add that they know they are taking a big risk with this song. Showing at least the spirit they convey that it’s go big or go home but go for it. They are hoping to show that Ten is now ready to show that they can sing. And that they can sing anything. Their performance plans to embody the Song, the movie, the style in one big package.

My comments earlier about Ten:

This is basically a Torch song from Adele. I think Ten is going to suffer the most from the short season. With the longer run of Season 3, the groups definitely had time to grow and mature. The shorter season doesn’t allow for much growth of experimentation. I think this is something strong for Ten’s voices. But the cohesion that we want to see may not get a chance to shine with this one.

I called 15:1 which was very weak odds of survival based on the simple idea that with a double elimination they’d have to kill the song to turn things around. And that wasn’t the only thing they turned around. They did the same for me. The song started with a nice slow tempo. The backing vocals were almost a tuneless drone. But as the song built, everything built on top of it. the cohesion, the harmonies, the power all grew. And the growth was organic. Ten has finally found their strength as a group and not 10 separate singers. They are now contenders to win.

The Judges:

Ben: Very powerful. Fantastic performance.

Jewel: I loved it. It was like a movie. Great painting. Fantastic reserve vocals. Really intricate 10 part harmonies.

Shawn: Adele is in London… “Oh my god! It’s amazing.” It’s a joy to watch you develop. You keep getting better and better with each show. Coming into your own. Finding your voice. Understanding what you can do vocally.


Ranking these performances was very hard. In the end this was how I ranked things:

  1. Ten
  2. Home Free
  3. Vocal Rush
  4. Filharmonic
  5. VoicePlay
  6. Acoustikats

My spouse plays along at my annoying insistence and came up slightly differently:

  1. Ten
  2. VoicePlay
  3. Vocal Rush
  4. Home Free
  5. Filharmonic
  6. Acoustikats

In Part 3… Yes, I need to do a part 3; I will cover the Ultimate Sing Offs, how things shook out and what’s up next.

To hold you for the next few hours: The Seattle PI has an exclusive video from the final episode of an entirely spontaneous, not at all rehearsed, completely off the cuff…. Duet Production Number between Nick Lachey and Jewel with the groups backing them up.


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