Tag Archive: director

The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 5- Movie NightIt’s an hour until showtime so I better type quickly.

I’m really looking forwards to tonight’s episode. I love theme songs. Yes, I am that level of Geek and I embrace it. We’re back to having all the groups together tonight. I feel badly for the short schedule because it feels very rushed. I also (in agreement with many others) find myself greatly missing the swan song. It’s just a really strong way to send off a group after they have competed.

The Ultimate Sing Off still annoys me. It’s bothersome because it creates false looking rivalries in one of the few reality shows that tries to be “Feel Good.” Following any of the groups that compete you learn that there is camaraderie, respect, and outright love between the groups. I wish they’d show more of that. I specifically remember a moment in Season 3 where they showed members of some of the groups spontaneously doing a bass and rhythm to one of the visiting professional artists. It was a really strong moment showing the real fun of A Cappella.

Tonight’s episode is “Movie Themes” – And it’s time for my pre-review evaluation. This is where I look at the singles on the iTunes album and guess (without listening) if this seems like a good or bad idea for the group performing it. Tonight’s two-hour episode will be interesting because it’s going to have a double elimination (which brings us down to the final 4) and then is supposed to have a full 6-group Ultimate Sing Off. (Which I guess just goes to show that you can never have too much of a thing that much of your audience hates.)

On to the songs:

The group intro will be “(I’ve Had the) Time of My Life.” From the film ‘Dirty Dancing.’ This is a great ‘poppy’ hit that has fantastic room for different style male, female, and choral vocals. This should be a nice blast to start the show.

Then onto the groups

Home Free – “Oh, Pretty Woman” – Roy Orbison. I sense in this one a potential for Home Free to fall back into the rut of “All Austin” with a quick show of the Bass to be impressive. Home Free has been good about being tight and keeping the fun up and is not for a lack of surprise. So as long as this isn’t “More of the Same” this should be a group solidly in the Top 4.

Vocal Rush – “Against All Odds” – This is smart. Vocal Rush has an incredible sound when they have the intensity up but their Achilles heel comes from when they ‘blast off’ into fun. We haven’t seen them do a full straight ballad. We’ve seen songs with slow and fast. If they can keep this one under control; this could be a top seed for them.

Acoustikats – “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Counter to Vocal Rush… This is dumb. Yes… Big movie hit. However, I’ve chatted about the fact that Acoustikats (the Gemini Group) wears the two faces of Frat Boys and Serious A Cappella Colllege group. Their problem is that when they go for the fun, they lose their edge and originality. This song is about as “Party” as you can get. The main vocals aren’t even sung. So, putting an actual vocal to it will distract from the original or not doing so will distract from being a competitive group. This seems like a lose-lose for the Kats.

Filharmonic – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – 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.

VoicePlay – “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – 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.

Ten – “Skyfall” – 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.


  • Home Free – Oh, Pretty Woman  2:1
  • Vocal Rush – Against All Odds 5:1
  • VoicePlay – Don’t You (Forget About Me) 10:1
  • The Filharmonic – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing 12:1
  • Ten – Skyfall 15:1
  • Acoustikats – Old Time Rock and Roll 25:1

I have no idea how the Ultimate Sing Off plays into this tonight. Whether they just critique everyone and then put them all in the grinder (which personally I’d hate) or if it’s just for fun. I did see in the coming attraction someone singing (what I think was) “Fame” from the movie of the same name. For those under 25, the original with Irene Cara. I find this ironic because it was playing in the restaurant I had dinner at tonight. So, twice in one night would be a… um… treat? Potentially, this is the unannounced song for the Ultimate Sing-Off.

See you all back in the next post and on twitter. How did my guesses match with yours?

The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 4 - My Generation - EPLet me start this review by saying that my pre-show guesses were off, but I am happy for why. We’ll come back to my pre-show calls later. I should note: I do like all four of this episode’s group. I will sadly make this comment many times through this analysis.

Episode 4: My Generation. Which is described as songs that are “Chart toppers that span the decades.” After a quick recap from the previous show. There is a mention that this week’s “Mentor” will be Ben Folds and we go into the opening production number.

“My Generation / We Will Rock You / It’s Time”

Well, in the words of Jim Steinman, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” Actually, all the songs were really amazing, I just know the first two inside and out and didn’t really know the third. I felt the transition out of WWRY into It’s Time was a little messy and jarring, but besides that. greatly entertaining. I’m also really happy when they get vocalists from different groups to sing together in duets/trios. It’s just a nice unique sound for the series.

And allow me again to state how much I love the theme to the series in a world where show theme music has gone the way of such ironic travesties as the theme to “Glee.” The Sing Off theme is perfect for the mood of the show. This of course brings in Nick LeSwagger and the introduction of the judges. The pre-competition video shows Ben Folds talking to the group about the theme and how he will mentor each team. Ben has one interesting quotation for the episode in the opening bit:

Each group has something getting in the way of them being unstoppable.

The competition.


Home Free – “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash.

My comments earlier about Home Free:

Once again, Home Free finds a country hit that has enough cross-over to keep them in the running. My fear is that so far we have begun to see a formula where the lead singer is awesome, the song is “Fun” and then they trot out Uber-bass for a few lines for the sex. I am beginning to want to see more from them.

I gave them 15:1 on the fear that they were going to trot out the same formulae again. Then Home Free came out and did EXACTLY what they needed to. With an impressive interpretation which told a story and changed the focus around, Uber Bass Tim Foust took control of the song. One person on Twitter said the group should be called, “Tim Foust, Super Bass and some other country guys.” The Beat Box brought out a Reggae beat which was astounding. Admittedly, again mentioning Pentatonix; it’s not the first time that Reggae was brought out during a country song. Granted… it works. Austin Brown’s lead vocals are always very nice. But if the reggae worked and the arrangement worked, then the ending worked overtime. Foust let loose with a low F#. Which is a frightening note to begin with and he hit it like a hole in one. I am privileged/cursed during my viewings because I have a sub woofer. Or more correctly until this song ended: Had one. The note was almost sub-sonic. It was a huge signature. Home free brought it, and my belief that they were 15:1 at worst odds for the episode were entirely wrong.

The Judges:

Ben: You did it all. Perfectly executed. Bass went from an instrument to a human. The end… Heavy note. “Holy $#|^! What was that?” Awesome guys.

Jewel: June wrote the song. Great Poignancy. F#. Over 3 octaves. Country a cappella reggae.

Shawn: A “country” a cappella group with a beat box doing reggae. Never would have thought of it. It works. Austin: Voice… Smooth as butter.


HoneyLaRochelleVoicePlay – “Don’t Speak” – No Doubt

My comments earlier about VoicePlay:

 I really love this song. And I can not envision it as a cappella. This doesn’t mean anything of course. VoicePlay was the first group to get the Ultimate Sing Off wake-up call. So hopefully, they can keep up the energy and give a huge surprise.

I feel badly because I didn’t feel as strongly about this performance as the judges did. Things they greatly like didn’t work for me.  Honey’s entrance seemed uneven. At first the song seemed slow, but then I grew to like the story telling they were doing with it. About halfway through was a Hebraic chant. I thought it was stunningly well done, but it just didn’t fit into the song for me. The arrangement overall was great and it was in the correct direction for them. I walked away feeling that Honey Larochelle is a mixed blessing for the group. There are things she does very well, and there are things that seem to feel like her vs. the rest of the group. I gave them a 10:1 to continue on which was at the time a weak second place. Which was where I ranked them with Home Free holding an easy 1st place.

The Judges:

Shawn: Amazing. A different side. Fantastic arrangement. Eli: Middle Eastern Solo… Very nice

Ben: They kicked the song’s ass. You started with your liability. This time you used the dynamics to say something. When You earn it, everyone feels it with you.

Jewel: Week 1 was very technical. This week we saw your hearts. You showed us angst. Showed us the poignancy in the moment. Fantastic dynamics.


elementElement – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” – The Supremes

My comments earlier about Element:

As opposed to the previous song; I can hear this one easily done a cappella. This also doesn’t mean anything. However, Element has not been bringing it anywhere near the power of Delilah (and one of their members was in that group)… They need to show or be in the bottom this week.

Ben’s advice was to let the soloists stand apart and not get lost by backup singers on the same parts. Element brought out the soloists. When the focus was on the solos this song really shined and Element was ‘in theirs’ and was doing a vey good job. Soloists were well highlighted, balance was good. Some very good energy and storytelling. Where things went wrong was that the harmonies got off far more than once or twice. At this stage in the show where there are only four groups… this is a kiss of death. With the level of euphoria the judges had for VoicePlay and Home Free, this performance does not look good for Element’s future. I gave them a 12:1 which meant they were positioned at third with their own ability to steal 2nd or clench defeat from the jaws of victory. After this I rank them 4th even though I don’t have a 3rd place yet.

The Judges:

Ben: Supported the lead and gave her space. A few tuning issues. You are such nice people. You almost got pissed. Drive it home. Like that you really focussed on singers. A step in the right direction.

Jewel: Thought you did a great job. Song had female empowerment. Hard to make modern. Good job.

Shawn: Compliments the look first (again). I like what you do. Some of the moments: The harmonies were a little muddy/unglued. I did like it.

Additional from me: I respect Shawn Stockman for his musical acumen. But I feel that he has been highly disrespectful to the members of Element. In general, the fact that the group is referred to as girls rather than women… In general it just makes me unhappy about the respect for the groups.


The Sing-Off - Season 4Vocal Rush – “Holding Out for a Hero” – Bonnie Tyler

My comments earlier about Vocal Rush:

This is a song that once again pre-dates the singers (which I find very amusing each week.) I think this one is a challenge and will really be the one that people measure Vocal Rush by. I like them a lot but I don’t know if they have the ability to push through the whole season.

I suppose I need to out myself once and for all. I have never (Outside of High School and College Choir) sung in an a cappella group. I truly wish I could. And if any of my readers are local to Pittsburgh I’m really good at several ranges, picking out names, being a ham, but on rare occasions have issues holding a pitch. Sigh. What this means is that sometimes I can miss the errors in a harmony blend. Vocal Rush hit the ground hard and hit it in a dead sprint. The initial beat and entry vocals got my attention from the word, “Go.” The intensity and performance from the beginning had that mature intensity that makes you forget their ages. Tonight at points I doubted that they really were all under 19. I also would be more than happy to buy this single. I loved it. The rap breakout in the middle was a fresh addition to the song. Sadly I was so captivated that I missed where they fell off the beat and where their harmonies muddied. So my rankings were higher than the judges. I initially gave them a 5:1 expecting them to hit this one out of the park. This may have coloured my opinion of their performance going in.  In the end, I moved them into 2nd position because I liked their performance better than I liked VoicePlay’s.

The Judges:

Ben: The bass and drums. Held it down in a way you hadn’t before. Thanks. Double force. Landed the plane very well.

Shawn: Young; Have no fear. You just go for it. You just give 100%. It’s so great about you. So musically intelligent because of you age. Double Chorus. Something happened. It fell apart a little bit. But you picked it back up. It was awesome.

Jewel: You made the song cool. Loved the rap. Didn’t expect it. Male voices are so warm and mix in well. One chink in the armour, can be the youthful exuberance makes you rush in the fun.

To recap my original odds:

  • Home Free – Ring of Fire  15:1
  • Element – You Keep Me Hangin’ On 12:1
  • VoicePlay – Don’t Speak 10:1
  • Vocal Rush – Holding Out for a Hero. 5:1

And my rankings coming out of the competition

  1. Home Free – Amazing growth, new sides of the group, Obscene bass.
  2. Vocal Rush – Energetic, fun, new take, mature
  3. VoicePlay – Honey felt uneven, and as much as I liked the Middle Eastern Chant… it didn’t work for me.
  4. Element – Just not bringing the sound I expect to hear.

My call for the Ultimate Sing Off (which I still dislike, but have grown to appreciate a good show, better performance, and sometimes a needed kick in the butts for the groups that shouldn’t be down there): Originally, by my rankings it would be: VoicePlay vs. Element.

HOWEVER, The judges gave no ill words to either VoicePlay or Home Free; so it looks like it’ll be Vocal Rush vs. Element. Even though I like my review of VoicePlay and Vocal Rush better. So, despite how I feel:

I think Vocal Rush’s energy take Element out. I like Element a lot, but I just don’t see them showing what they need to after 3 shows in a row where they haven’t. I think the Ultimate battle will be the “Time to really grow up” call to Vocal Rush.

And then I get all conspiracy minded and try to talk myself out of it:

Granted… they keep talking about how far Vocal Rush has made it in the competition for a High School group… which may mean that they are already done before singing.

The final judging:

  • Element vs. Home Free (Really? Ouch)
    • Safe – Home Free
    • USO – Element
  • VoicePlay vs. Vocal Rush
    • Safe – VoicePlay
    • USO – Vocal Rush

I’d really like to see Vocal Rush move on. I think they have a lot of potential. And I feel badly because I like Element.

Ultimate Sing off: Element and Vocal Rush – Survivor – Destiny’s Child

Both groups come out with both their groups fully energised. The “Game Face” attitude is annoying and distracting. Both groups sounds strong but each have their weaknesses. Element is showing a lack of variety while Vocal Rush is letting the emotion muddy their sound. Both groups are very good. Unless something changes for the winner, neither will make it to the final 3. Honestly it’s a coin flip from listening and watching. It’s very hard to call.  In the end I let my cynicism for Reality Programming to win out and lean toward Element for having a tighter group cohesion. My wish is for Element, my belief is that they will chose Element. Element I think had the slightly better showing in the Ultimate Sing Off; but I think between the two of the groups, Vocal Rush has the better chance to grow and get better. I inevitably call this one a coin flip.

Ben Folds on behalf of the judges and without any explanation calls “Vocal Rush” as the survivor. (Which honestly and happily surprised me)

Final notes:

  • Next episode:
    • Wednesday @ 8:00 pm
    • Movie Themes – Ooh Yum!
    • 6 team Ultimate Sing-Off Battle
    • 2 teams will be eliminated.
  • Single Best thing from the episode: Vocal Rush continues on
  • Single Worst thing from the episode: Sexism and Sexist condescending comments from Shawn Stockman

See you this Wednesday!

The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 4 - My Generation - EPWell, kids… Episode 4 is just minutes away. So here comes the whirlwind pre-analysis of the song names and groups but without listening.

Tonight’s episode is “My Generation” – This theme could mean any number of things, but with the lineup being a Country, High School, Techno, and All-Female… This could go in a lot of directions.

The intro will be a medley of “My Generation, We Will Rock You, and It’s Time. Which should be greatly fun. But onto the groups and their songs:

Home Free – Ring of Fire. Once again, Home Free finds a country hit that has enough cross-over to keep them in the running. My fear is that so far we have begun to see a formula where the lead singer is awesome, the song is “Fun” and then they trot out Uber-bass for a few lines for the sex. I am beginning to want to see more from them.

VoicePlay – Don’t Speak. I really love this song. And I can not envision it as a cappella. This doesn’t mean anything of course. VoicePlay was the first group to get the Ultimate Sing Off wake-up call. So hopefully, they can keep up the energy and give a huge surprise.

Element – You Keep Me Hangin’ On. As opposed to the previous song; I can hear this one easily done a cappella. This also doesn’t mean anything. However, Element has not been bringing it anywhere near the power of Delilah (and one of their members was in that group)… They need to show or be in the bottom this week.

Vocal Rush – Holding Out For a Hero. This is a song that once again pre-dates the singers (which I find very amusing each week.) I think this one is a challenge and will really be the one that people measure Vocal Rush by. I like them a lot but I don’t know if they have the ability to push through the whole season.


  • Home Free – Ring of Fire  15:1
  • VoicePlay – Don’t Speak 10:1
  • Element – You Keep Me Hangin’ On 12:1
  • Vocal Rush – Holding Out for a Hero. 5:1

10 minutes to go… Let’s hear your picks and how you fare. Meet you back after the episode!

singofflogoFirst off, I’m thrilled for a shorter episode. The reviews on a long episode are fairly well, long. Also, finally caught up after the absolute drugging I had on Thursday. My next medical drugging is in January, so we should be good for the rest of this short season.

Starting this weekend, I’ll be posting a focus on some of the groups.

As always, drop a comment on posts. My opinions are only mine and I’d love to hear from people who feel differently.

Intro: In Your Eyes

This song would require incendiaries to damage it. Fortunately, the well intentioned producers of the SingOff gave a truly respectful performance of this classic. Nice to hear.

In comes Nick LeChay

#1 Hits; Only half the remaining 8 groups will perform this week

Judge intros

  • Jewel:
  • Ben Folds
  • Shawn Stockman

Segment: Shawn talks to the groups.  Video of Shawn taking on the role of mentor for the groups.

1) Ten – “Chain of Fools” – Arethra Franklin

Me:Slithered into the first note. Shudder. good tempo control. Clear story. speed up seemed a bit jarring but was very fire and brimstone. Top performance. This is a prime example of Ten growing as a group. They are finding their sound and more importantly gaining cohesion each week into a group. Best put, the ten are becoming Ten.

The judges

Shawn: He’s the thing that sucked. It wasn’t long enough. The Grit in the voices was the signature of who you are.

Jewel: I wanna go to that church. It was beautiful. Back up was fantastic support. The band was a band. Great staging.

Ben: Great space. Starting to sound like a band. The rush was hard for the band to support. You’re dangerous

  1.  Ten

2) acoUstiKats – “Amazed” – Lone Star

Me:Harmonies that separate them from College glee. Fantastic range coverage. Sweet ballad. Beautiful. Awesome. This is what I’ve been waiting for from the Acoustikats (See, not casing now) This is a group that knows how to arrange for more than 10 voices and show that they are all singers. The Wall of Sound that I often comment about comes from the concept that you can always just double up parts or increase Unison. All this makes me think is that you’re hiding weaker singers. With this sound; you know you have a well balanced and thought out group.

The judges:

Ben: How do they separate themselves from College groups. The bond, the sound. Ross; Beautiful vocal. Gosh Grobin. Manly rich place. Moving.

Shawn: Was worried about the record. It is so sincere. And all you’d shown was the frat side. You showed your heart. It changes keys every 4 measures. You made it very special.

Jewel: They did it great. They focussed on Jewel. When to the choral roots. Wanted more build up at the end. Overall great performance. Mike: Really making that eye contact. Proposed on stage. Nice touch.

  1. acoUstiKats – Looks like the Ultimate Sing Off put them in a good headspace.
  2. Ten

3) SCR – “Forget You” – Cee Lo

Me: SCR takes it up a notch. The song pulls them out of tradtional DooWop into some modern stylings. They could survive better than I thought. The song still is very centered in DooWop and I think in the long run this is going to mean that another classic group doesn’t last. I feel that they may have one more episode left in them.

The judges:

Ben: Well written song. It’s timeless; you are timeless, crying in time. Good note cutoff. Discover something about yourselves you don’t know.

Jewel: Great time machine. Making different styles work for you. Great adaptations. Keeping it classy. Tighten up the harmonies and tunings.

Shawn: They did their things. Added some dynamic to the performance. Maurice high falsetto. You nailed it.


  1. acoUstiKats
  2. Ten
  3. SCR – I like them, but I’m not seeing anything new.


4 The Filharmonic – “One More Night” – Artist

Shawn in the pre-song mentoring: Jump out of your comfort zone. More staccato.

Me: Song felt initially like it wasn’t stopping for a breath. Got somewhere near it towards the end. This song felt blurry for them. There was a tonne of unison and it showed a lot of happy for a song that should have had more bite. They’ve got great personalities, but they don’t have “Righteous Anger” which Jewel alluded to for Vocal Rush. I expect a lot more from them

The Judges:

Shawn: Proudest that this is your tightest so far. Intricate dance moves done well.

Ben: Never had a problem with them being tight. Had a problem with the performance. We’re not all perfect. Missed the sharpness

Jewel: Interesting things going on. REharmonised the bridge. VJ was charming on the bridge. Missed the dark anger.


My rankings:

  1. acoUstiKats
  2. Ten
  3. SCR
  4. Filharmonic

Pre-guess: Filharmonic brings the show better than SCR.

Again, this week the judges take pairs and pronounce one safe and the other to go to the Ultimate SingOff

Pair 1:

  • Safe – Ten
  • Out – SCR

Pair 2:

  • Safe – acoUstiKats
  • Out – Filharmonic

Ultimate Sing off:  SCR vs Filharmonic

“Na na hey hey goodbye” – Stream

This song is pretty much a DooWop gimme. This is a plus and a minus for SCR. They can nail this one by doing what they do best. However, what they do best is what is slowly hurting them. Filharmonic can do the style, but now they need to show the ability to be more than just ‘a boy band’ and become ‘the boy band of a cappella’

Afterwards, I feel strongly about Filharmonic, my spouse picks SCR

The judging:

Shawn: This is by far the hardest choice so far. Love you both We are saving is: Filharmonic


Next Episode: Monday @ 10pm

Next Theme: More #1?


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.