Tag Archive: Media

singofflogoA few thoughts going into Monday’s Sing-Off Season 4 Finale (this is being written before Monday’s show and does not take into account any of Monday’s performances).

Each of the three groups left has a different strength.

Vocal Rush has my heart; Ten has my head; Home Free has my ear.

Vocal Rush is full of youthful energy and exuberance. They have several strong leads and can pass the melody among them without a loss of momentum. I always find myself rooting for them. Sometimes the energy gets a little out of control and affects the harmony, but I have to really be listening for it, in most cases, for minor tuning issues to affect how I feel at the end of the performance. Which is usually wonderful.

I would be happy, and not surprised, if they won because they have an infectious sound and lots of potential. I would also not be surprised because, as a young group, they will bring the Glee and Pitch Perfect crowd to concerts and to iTunes.

Ten has experience, a mature depth to their choral sound, rich harmonies, and the ability to mix their voices to sound like even more than ten. I was surprised to learn in one of the background videos that none of them read music, and learn all of their parts by ear from the arranger (who is also the percussionist). They have been playing up their Gospel/Soul roots and it has been effective in showing off their style.  I’m not the biggest fan, personally, of the gospel-revival “come to Jesus” arrangements BUT there’s no doubt that when they build a song up to that frenzy, it’s infectious (and also in tune).

I would be happy for Ten if they won. They will be great in a tour with other artists (either the SingOff tour or with other Soul groups). I do not think they will win because they are not quite commercial enough for Sony.

Home Free has tight, seemingly effortless harmonies, a smooth-faced, smooth-voiced lead, a kick-ass bass and a country swagger. I really love listening to them even though country is not my favorite genre.  They have shown some growth and imagination in their arrangements; varying the style and drama within the song. I would like to see more of that variety and more of a build up to the climax of a song. That might be the only thing keeping them from being this year’s Pentatonix (more on that in a minute).

I would be happy if Home Free won. They show off the best of what a small a cappella group can do. I think they stand a fair chance of commercial success because Country music is hot, and Country fans are loyal. They may even have a rabid band of followers from the fair/festival circuit already.

One final note…

Since the P-word keeps getting brought up this year, the inevitable comparison to Pentatonix will surely show on the finale since they will actually be performing. None of this years groups are as good or as exciting at PTX. We have not seen Shawn Stockman stand up and laud anyone for “being sent from the future to save a cappella.”  However, I think Home Free, and not VoicePlay, are this years closest equivalent because of the tight harmony (basically a quartet with a percussionist). Sure, PTX and VP each had four men and a woman, but in PTX, Kristi does not (usually) sing lead; she fills in the middle harmony. VP was much more “all about the girl”, almost like the guys were her backup singers. PTX has a lead but it always feels like an ensemble no matter who has the melody. Home Free has much more of the ensemble feel along with the close harmonies, but a much different energy.

Until next time…


The Sing-Off_ Season 4, Episode 6- Judges' Choice - EPEpisode 6 – “Judges’ Choice”

The groups still in the game – Home Free, Ten, Vocal Rush, and The Filharmonic.

Home Free – five men in their twenties, super-tight harmonies, clear tenor lead with the occasional toss to the uber-bass. Lots of performing experience at festivals. They consider themselves “country a cappella” but they are proving to be comfortable applying their style to songs that are not traditionally “country.”

Ten – Ten members (duh), mixed voices. Mature, rich sound, lots of experience as background singers so the harmonies are very full and developed. All of the leads shine. I will steal from Jewell here because she verbalized what I was thinking, which is “I’m not sure what kind of group you are. What kind of records do you want to cut?” This has been puzzling me as well.

Vocal Rush – Performing arts high school group. Twelve members, full of energy and heart, with some pretty mature abilities. The harmonies are a little light on the low/middle end which is really the only thing that highlights their youth.

The Filharmonic – Classic boy-band, adorable, energetic. They have a couple of solid leads that are holding things down pretty well. They have been on the chopping block a couple of times and I personally feel they don’t have a lot of variety; they stick right on the 90’s boy-band sound all the time and I’m getting a little tired of it.


Opening number:

I didn’t know the song but as usual, the opening number was completely enjoyable. I think the bass from Home Free must sing at a sub-sonic level.


The Filharmonic: “Baby I Need Your Lovin’”

Pretty much the same old thing. I didn’t hear enough soul. The lead was happy and sincere but I still didn’t feel quite enough desperation in “I neeeed your lovin’’” Nice choreography, fun to watch but the ooomph was missing. You can’t just throw it a pelvic thrust and equate it with the true aching need that you hear in the Four Tops version. I’m’a leave Jewell’s comments about climaxes alone.

Ten: “Proud Mary”

Wow, this is a song I have trouble imagining a cappella. But of the groups here they are the only one that could probably pull it off. Oh yeah, they did. Very solid, enjoyable performance. The “Tina Turner” lead got a little breathless occasionally, but she wasn’t locking a chord with anyone, and it seemed to fit with the frenetic pace of the song. The backup was really what made this arrangement.

Home Free: “Colder Weather”

I didn’t know this song at all so I could only judge this performance against other Home Free performances. It was clearly in their wheelhouse. Loved Rob’s solo, so beautiful and sincere. I actually liked his better than Austin’s solo. Austin shied away from the “country vowels” they were a little too rounded for this song. You have to do that in a choral arrangement if other singers are singing the same words at the same time, but I don’t think they were; he could have freestyled it just a touch more. And why does he always go “Bah-ah-ay-bee”, instead of “Bay-yay-yay-bee” like most self-respecting country vocalists? I enjoyed the performance and overall it showed off their strengths and reminded us where they came from.

Vocal Rush: “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”

I didn’t know this song either. Because I’m hopelessly out of touch. But, this meant, again, I didn’t have a prior performance in mind to compare their arrangement to. Classic Vocal Rush performance; energetic, lots of variety in the arrangement. Thought I heard the various leads go sharp here and there (dark and fire). But, they were so, so, in it and I was in there with them. I can see this group selling tickets, if not records, based on the popularity of Glee and Pitch Perfect. Maybe more so than Ten even though Ten is much better technically.

Safe: Home Free & Vocal Rush

USO: Ten & The Filharmonic

Ulitmate SingOff: “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” (BTW WTF???)

The Filharmonic pretty much did their same old thing and they did it well. But as usual there was no variety. In contrast, Ten seemed to have a different flavor to each verse. And their sound is so much bigger (not just because of more members but also because of more sound in the lower range) that Fil was clearly overwhelmed.

The thing is, a Filipino Boy Band might sell more tickets than a mature gospel/soul group. Based on vocal performance, my winner is Ten by a lot. If the judges are using commercial viability as a criterion, they might go with Filharmonic.

drum roll…Ten is safe!!!  I’m happy to see talent win over commercialism this teeny-weeny time.

Until the finale…







I have decided to make a showdown of as many of the women I can find in the Whedon worlds.

For more information check out the full story on my LordAndrei Blog.

A look at the ShowdownI have been playing on the site BuddyTV for a while. They have good reviews of television. One of their features is the Showdown.

Given a list of related pictures, every possible pair is made. Then you pick the better of the two. This can be quite a lot of pair ups. (I’m not doing the math for you)

In tradition as old as Ginger vs. Mary Ann, I have decided to take every character in Whedon’s creations (on TV and skipping the REALLY minor ones), added a few of the real women behind the scenes; and want you to decide… Kaylee vs Willow. Dark Willow vs River Tam. Vi vs Mag… okay… maybe not that last one.

There are 44 women from Whedon’s Worlds. And that makes 945 potential match ups.

Who drops to the bottom of the list? Kendra? Kate Lockley? Which vamp is the uber vamp? Willow, Dru, Darla?

What happens when you have Whiskey, Claire, Fred, and Illyria against each other?

You may need to register for BuddyTV; but it’s free and I’ve received no unwanted Spam as a result of following them.

You can check out their social networking points:
website at http://www.buddytv.com
twitter at twitter://buddytv
facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BuddyTV

Jump on in… And if I missed anyone… Feel free to comment and add them in.

I’m curious if Buffy really is Number 1 in the Whedon Worlds… I think the end result will surprise people.

Well, okay. Jan 1st through Feb 1st

We have two events where we’re planning TV nights in front of the big Hi-Def centrepiece of our our living room.

On January 20th… “Yes, I won’t… be going to D.C.” But we will be bringing D.C. to our house. Realising that the footage I watched in November looked like, “Washington, NYC, Kenya, Coriscant…” that we need to continue the celebration that evening. So the house will be open to share and watch MORE NEWS COVERAGE.

This of course can be very serious. So there must be mindless violent balance.

So! February 1st… Come join us as we root the Steelers as they become the first team to win 6 Superbowls. Anyone who feels the need to point out that the Steelers haven’t even played in the playoffs yet have obviously missed the point 😉 We are a Steelers house, but we’re also a fair football house. Meaning we recognize good plays even when they happen against our team. We also actually enjoy rating the commercials.

So… standard drill. Comment if you want to come. Pot luck welcome (moreso on Superbowl Sunday) but not necessary. An hour of reduced noise requested during toddler bed time.

Looking forwards to seeing folks.

Back into my cave of seeming to be anti-social.

Oh, yeah. Go read my blog.