Coming back strong after some nice holiday ratings; it seems The Sing Off is off and rolling. This season we are watching 10 respectable groups try to avoid elimination It’s a very wide selection of groups: Country, Classic, DooWop, All Female, BoyBand, Gospel, Collegiate, Latin, etc.

I on the other hand am coming down from some mighty narcotics;

The show kicked in right with the weekly production numbers. These are vey enjoyable this season. I think the production value has definitely gone up and the spotlight on each group is much more a hook for burgeoning fans.

Tonight we cover Party Anthems which means it’s time to bring on the fun and maybe an ounce of some guilty pleasures.

Before the show gets rolling there was a pre-produced segment on how the groups get in to the party spirit.

And then on to the competition:

Voval Rush 4-21) Vocal Rush – “Gonna Make You Sweat” – C+C Music Factory (@OsaVocalRush)

The high school group with a touch more maturity and style that you’d expect comes out hard and on the attack for a 2nd straight week. The lead signer this week took on the challenge of coming in cold an unsupported to get the song moving. The song had a nice, string arrangement, and the usual infectious energy. This was a great choice of song for their voices and stylings.

The imperfections:

  • This was the first time I heard the backup get a little muddy in places.
  • I also found it a bit shameful that they kept their lead singer packed into the back of the group. She isn’t a tiny person and there’s no reason to hide that.

The Judges:

Jewel: United Colours of Beautiful. Sarah: Props … That’s hard. Just come out cold. That’s Really Amazing. May have started a little slow. The breakdown made it come up to speed. The rap was a little rushed,

Shawn: Such a natural poise being young. Keyana. Holding down the beat box and doing 90s dance moves. You weren’t even born when this came out. Critical: A little rushed. Started at one tempo, ended at another. Love watching you perform.

Ben: We keep forgetting you’re the youngest group. So you’re losing that advantage. I love you guys. Personallity and heart. Something that would sell records. The Groove is not always up to the drummer. Very full sound for all female and only 2 guys. Blending really well. Awesome.

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 6.59.24 PM2) Home Free – “Life is a Highway” – Rascal Flatts @HomeFreeGuys, @_theAustinBrown

I make no bones that going into this week, that I like “Home Feee” Cruise was a strong signature song to show off their stylings. I figured that “Life is a Highway” would be a cake walk for the group. That being said, I was a bit thrown that they tried to seemingly shoe horn what worked for “Cruise” into “Life is a Highway” Austin’s lead vocal’s were again aces but the use of the bass for a breakout began to feel like a planned tool rather than a well placed surprise. The harmonies as ever were outstanding. Even an impressive modulation.

The imperfections:

  • The piece felt the like the tempo was playing wheel of fortune. In places it felt rushed, in others it felt too slow.
  • The staccato hook to the original felt lost.
  • As much as I love the bass (And he’s a damn fine bass) consistently dropping him in looses his impact.
  • This was a step down from Cruise.

The Judges:

Shawn: You had some moves. In and out of the box. Prime example of acapella. Had a beginning, middle, end. Austin: You are a star.

Ben: The bass guitar starts speaking. That’s great. Adam. Nice drumming. Tasteful. Good Drummer. Play what you need to, not too much.

Jewel: You’re my boys. Love the stories. Country act without the country instruments.

Voice Play Ep23) Voice Play – “Play That Funky Music” – Wild Cherry @theVoicePlay

Me: Finding yourself at the bottom has a way of re-invigorating you. In the case of Voice Play they found that motivation. I called this a very risky piece and they took the risk and flew with it. There was a personality to the style and it helped bring out a fantastic combination of funk chords, stunning bass rolls and an unmatched energy. The group is now here to compete if not win. They brought what they missed last time.

The Judges:

Shawn: That’s how you came back and take care of business. Didn’t know Honey could rap. Everything was smooth, seamless. Earl. Amazing high note. Great Job

Ben: That was a mean performance. Style is all over the map. But it worked for you this time. Great Reinventing. Modulated between choruses. Bass tight.

Jewel: It lacked a spark last night. The personality brought up the emotion. Good job.


SCR Ep 24) SCR – “Do You Love Me” – Contours @stcornerdoowop

Me: A nice performance. I felt it missed some of its edge. Great chord structure. SCR doing what SCR does. Fun dance. I adore SCR, but they went beyond playing it safe this week. I want to see more of week one where they take modern hits and make them their own.

The Judges:

Shawn: The Red Shoes are later gators. You show us younger dudes, there is life in the game for every age. It’s not just a young man’s sport. You guys are good.

Ben: That was great. We knew it was going to be great. It’s your territory. In this case we imaging the band. The clapping becomes your drummer. You guys are awesome

Jewel: Proof is that less can be more. More space than anything else so far tonight.


Eelement Ep 25) Element – “Raise Your Glass” – Pink @elementvocals

Me: Amazing entry. Good sound. A couple voices sounded lost at the beginning. Strong bass sound. entries seems to rush the beat. Unison is not wall of sound which is surprising. Seemed to lack some cohesion. No strong solos. As much as I love this group entirely; this song should have been a home run for Element and I felt no fire or punch.

The Judges:

Jewel: Really enjoyed it. Starts low and quiet and moving. Great job

Ben: Great bass line. Contralto not a bass, felt like a bass. No solos. Don’t save your best stuff for the middle. Blend is getting better.

Shawn: Thought they did good. Impressed with them moving in heels. Emily and Emily in unison is cool, but a spotlight would be stronger. More individuality. Wanted more.

At this point, no knowing how they were going to do the eliminations we started ranking the groups as we felt they performed.

  1. Voice Play – They really came back to fight
  2. Home Free – A good rendition nice and tight
  3. SCR – Played it safe, did what they do well
  4. Vocal Rush – Some of the harmonies got muddy
  5. Element – I expected so much more fire from them.


acoUstiKats Ep26) acoUstiKats – “Hey Ya!” – OutKast @acoUstiKats

Me: Strong entry, 2nd lead vocalist a little hard to understand. Good harmonies. Pushed into wall of noise. Nice modulation. Drums sounded muddy. Good end chord. Uneven. acoUstiKats has two modes: Frat Boy and a cappella powerhouse. This season they’ve been showing the former. I really want to see them bring the other side.


Ben: I liked it from the beginning. A lot of fun. It’s a fun show. Held the tempo back. Missing the groove. Need to lock in the musical part of it.

Shawn: I like the shoes. It was fun to watch you perform. Was concerned at first. Ron sang the lead differently… Ron try to give out more of the vocal parts more. Arrangement can be missing something when you don’t do something.

Jewel: Have an Acousti-crush on all of them. Shout out to MamaKat. The three- part riff into the static key change was good. Song felt stiff and seemed out of your wheel-house.

  1. Voice Play
  2. Home Free
  3. SCR
  4. Vocal Rush
  5. acoUstiKats – We really need to see depth beside fun.
  6. Element

Calle Sol, Ep 2

7) Calle Sol – “Livin’ La Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin @calle_solpr

Me: Interesting interpretation. Interesting story.  Percussion off from vocals a little. Very different. Very risky interpretation. This is a song that is full of fun and bounce. Calle Sol has started their arrangement is a very slow dirge. This doesn’t exactly bring the party. They find their way there; but the arrangement really misses the mark. I also really don’t think putting the baritone on vocals really helps their lack of midsection. In general, this was a bad performance from this group. A tweet from @AndrewAhtias really puts this in perspective for the long time fan of Sing Off: Not gonna lie @Calle_solpr is hot and everything but I don’t get that same feeling hearing them sing like I did with @notavocal

Shawn: Arrangement is everything. It can make or break a groups chances. Sometimes the dancing is a hindrance. Breath caused some word loss on the dancing. Song started like a ballad. Didn’t feel the party song at first.

Jewel: Midrange still lacking. Singing didn’t do it. Tmepo changes were ambitious, but it didn;t work together.

Ben: Main thing: Look at what you got. Dancing has to be supported by music. That’s it. Tighten the music.

  1. Voice Play
  2. Home Free
  3. SCR
  4. Vocal Rush
  5. acoUstiKats
  6. Element
  7. Calle Sol

Ten, Ep 28) Ten – “Hot in Here” – Nelly @OfficiallyTen

Me: Excellent balance. Nice Jazz Chords. Felt like a fun jam. Tight unison. Great cohesion.Never felt chaotic. Well arranged. Lead Vocal. I wasn’t a fan of “Ten” in Episode 1. Gospel has to grab me by the blood, not the ears and they didn’t do it then. This week they hit it. They hit it hard. There was grit, there was venom. It was a preaching and I was happy to be in the congregation. This is what they need to bring. Not necessarily the Rock but the energy and passion. This was truly a WOW.

The judges:

Ben: The lead vocal was Groovin. Band did so better than last week. Up to a 7 from 5.

Jewel: Trills and notes were icing on the cake. Reggae vibe was nice. Good breakdown. Anyone could be a lead singer. Looking forwards to the growth.

Shawn: Cohesive. A little harder on you because we know what potential you have. Once you tap into it.. I’m waiting to hear it.

  1. Voice Play
  2. Ten – They brought it. They brought it hard and fantastically, Voice Play still came on harder.
  3. Home Free
  4. SCR
  5. Vocal Rush
  6. acoUstiKats
  7. Element
  8. Calle Sol

Which leaves only:

Filharmonic, Ep 29) Filharmonic – “This is How We Do It” – Montel Jordan @TheFilharmonic

Me: Powerful entry. Again.. Boy group song. Jazz roll chord. A lot of unison, but the solo break outs are making up. Not as good, but still high. Filharmonic is similar to SCR. They have a style and they find songs that work their style and then make them work for them. This wasn’t the outing that week one was; but it was still strong. In the long run this could be a danger.

The Judges:

Jewel: Stepped it up. Nice arpeggios. Each person got a moment to star in their own right.

Shawn: Started out of the gate: It was a party. Make sure you stay on key. Trace was a little sharp. Old school dance. Captured then went ambitious. That was smart.

Ben: I thought it was awesome. You have a good sound. A slick midrange. Blend together sounds like a record. Grabbed it from the beginning.

  1. Voice Play
  2. Ten
  3. Home Free
  4. SCR
  5. Filharmonic – Like SCR, played it safe
  6. Vocal Rush
  7. acoUstiKats
  8. Element
  9. Calle Sol

So I posted to twitter that my bottom two were Element and Calle Sol. I like them both, but I see this as a huge explosion for Element if put on the spot.

The way the judges ran this was to call 5 safe; then take the remaining 4 as 2 pairs. For each pair they were grilled, threatened and one was then safe and the other was sent to the Ultimate Sing Off (as being sent to the USO really doesn’t sound right)

Pair 1: Vocal Rush and Calle Col (Respectively, my best and worst of the bottom 4)

  • Safe – Vocal Rush
  • Out – Calle Sol

Pair 2: Element and acoUstiKats (My remaining 2 from my bottom 4)

  • Safe – Element
  • Out – acoUstiKats

I’d fein horror at how wrong I was; but honestly Element vs. acoUstiKats was a coin-flip as to the ordering. In general I think I was pretty good on the rankings. So now we have:

Ultimate Sing off:  Calle Sol vs. acoUstiKats

Pre-guess #2: acoUstiKats takes Calle Sol easily… if they don’t resort to being frat boys and get stupid

Why: Calle Sol is a dance group that sings; acoUstiKats is a singing group that dances.

Nick the host in what may be an edited in line assures us that “Every group prepares the Ultimate Sing Off song in the event they wind up having to sing it.” Mine was not the only review to point out how ‘practiced and produced’ it came off. So this does raise the legitimacy of the event a touch. I’m still not happy with the group vs. group fighting but such is how it is.

Song: Stronger By, Kelly Clarkson

Once again… GOOD SHOWING by both groups. Really wish they’d bring this kind of A game during the show. acoUstiKats (which I’m really getting tired of having to type with special casing) begins to show that cohesion that makes them out to be more than just a college men’s group. Calle Sol does what Calle Sol does. In my opinion

Acoustikats with a knockout.

The Judges:

Ben: AcoUstiKats: Emotion was high, great focus. Emotion may have pulled focus, lots of problems
Shawn: Lots of emotion. Lots at stake. We see how much passion there is. Passion is the nature of the beast.
Jewel: Nobody knows what’s in anyone’s hearts. Go out there and prove us wrong.

In the end

  • AcoUstiKats safe.
  • Calle Sol gone

I can’t say this surprises me. Let’s see if this vitalises AcoUstKats (Which I likely won’t case in the next post)

Quotes for the episode:

  • Ben, “I love how (Street Corner Renaissance)’s idea of a party is sitting on a bed playing cards”
  • Element member, “The difference between a thong and a dong is crucial”
  • Shawn: “(Vocal Rush), you weren’t even born when (Gonna Make you Sweat) came out.”
  • Jewel: “Nobody knows what’s in anyone’s hearts. Go out there and prove us wrong.“

The Best and the Worst:

  •  Best thing in the episode: Judges asides heading into commercial
  • Worst thing in the episode: acousti-cougar. Eww. Tasteless.
  • Nicest thing in the episode: Shawn to Niko of Filharmonics, “You’re sister would be proud”

Next episode: Half the groups face off. No odds, because I’m writing this after the episode… It wouldn’t be fair

Thursday @ 8pm; #1 Hits.

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