The Sing-Off Review: Grading the Top 10

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The top 10 acts on The Sing-Off took to the stage this week, with a double elimination looming over every single note. Who made what grade? Find out now...

Vocal Point in Action

Round One
YellowJackets - "Wannabe" - After a shoddy Frankie Valli performance, the group had to add some more levels to its arrangements. The members wanted to sing and dance, which meant that one of the two would suffer. The arrangement was better than I expected and I liked that they let the choreography be openly gay. I enjoyed the comedic break near the end and the multiple part ending. My Grade: B+

Delilah - "Flashdance... What a Feeling" - After struggling with their 60s performance, the girls wanted to fight harder to gain momentum. They decided to place Candice in front for her more husky voice. The opening lead vocals were a bit too whispery for my taste, but when the tempo changed it got better. There was something generally flat about the whole performance. I thought Candice was a bad version of Jordin Sparks. My Grade: C-

North Shore - "Power of Love" - The old men decided to try to beat the young'uns with a youthful song. Unfortunately, their arrangements started to suffer and while "MmmBop" would have been epic they switched to Huey Lewis & the News. I liked the slowed down rendition even though the lead singer looked like a drunken uncle dancing at a wedding. I liked the sparse arrangements, but both the vocals and choreography could have been sharpened. My Grade: B

The Collective - "I Will Survive" - The group felt like this week was its last chance. Their biggest challenge was that they are still soloists and they need to create a strong opening. So what do they do? They created a weak opening that was a bit flat. The vocal pronunciation weirded me out, but I appreciated that they attempted a two part lead as a way of saying "we can harmonize." My Grade: A-

Dartmouth Aires - "Jesse's Girl" - This was the first time we saw a group not only audition for solos, but use some arrangements on a computer. I liked the opening choreography, but what's up with the lead singer with the crazy eyes during the whole performance? I kept thinking, "When's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on?" because the guy reminded me of Charlie. The choreography had the chaotic nature of the 80s, but what was up with the dance solo? My Grade: B+

The first five contestants were up for elimination and the three top teams were Yellowjackets, The Collective, and Dartmouth Aires. This meant the bottom two were Delilah and North Shore. North Shore finally got eliminated and the average age for competitors now is probably 24. North Shore waved goodbye to the competition (and diversity) by singing "Goodnight Sweetheart" in their classic doo-wop fashion.

Round Two
Afro-Blue - "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" - The group chose pre-Bobby Brown Whitney Houston and attempted to change the arrangement of the song. After being criticized for overthinking, how does the group react? Under-thinking. The arrangement wasn't too far away from the original. I liked the couples dancing and the arrangement where all the girls managed to get at least two vocal lines. They were the first group to blow me away. My Grade: A

Pentatonix - "Video Killed the Radio Star" - After Ben gave the group a lot of harder criticism, the group worried about going too far. The group selected "Believe" but had tempo issues. Just like North Shore, they ditched their song two days prior to the competition in lieu of what Sonos would have picked. I guess imitation is the best form of flattery. The key of the song was interesting, but I'm not sure if it really worked for the song. The choreography was smart. After the soloist changed, the song got better. My Grade: B+

Deltones - "Listen to Your Heart" - The group's criticism was that they were too stiff so they tried to add more to their performance. While they chose the original from Roxette there was a lot of influence from the techno version from DHT. I was floored by how ugly the dresses were for the group; the women had frills on one side and then bedazzling on one boob. The lead vocals started to waver as the keys started going higher and you knew the lead could barely hit the highest notes because she had to cover up with vocal runs. They needed a more powerful bridge. My Grade: B

Urban Method - "Poison" - Our niche group returned to a song that had a decent amount of rap elements. The vocals were pretty accurate throughout the song and they were very loyal to the original. Sometimes you don't need to change arrangements to jazzy versions and they can still be effective. My Grade: A

Vocal Point - "Footloose" - After Ben lost his father, he came back and the group wanted to keep him spirited. Ben was new to the experience, but I'm sure while he had occasional angles where he looked like Kevin Bacon since he didn't have the lead he could mess up without anyone noticing. The vocals were strong, but there was some bit of muddle in the background. I liked the performance, so I'll forgive the fact that this song was probably cross-promotion with the movie. My Grade: A

Tough choice here... but goodbye Deltones in the end. Maybe they should have ditched their song two days before performance night. They sang out to "Goodbye to You" and ironically sounded a bit more country. That could have been their calling card.

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