Nick Lachey brought the puns to The Sing-Off this week, but did the groups bring the talent? Read on for our weekly grades...
Urban Method - Rihanna Medley - After being in the bottom two last week, the girls were worried about both standing out and trying to look sexy. The mix of music had a lot of tempos so they struggled with the harmonization. They started with "What's My Name?" and it was an odd tempo that didn't really well and it slowly gained speed. The lead even started to lose her breath.
They transitioned to "Umbrella" and it sounded really odd, the rap section wasn't useful. It didn't add anything to the song because of how it was muttered in the background. Just like the first half, by the chorus, the group started gaining speed. Their choreography was a bit lazy and everywhere. They finished with "Only Girl in the World" and while the transition was horrible, this was the best part of their medley. It had the spirit and energy that Rihanna would have loved. My Grade: B-
Vocal Point - Elvis Medley - Vocal Point tried to pull on heartstrings and failed last week. Sometimes talent trumps a sob story. They struggled with trying not to imitate Elvis but not trying to be too far away from the original. If they were trying not to be imitators, why did they call their lead singer Elvis? The lead struggled with the gruff of "Don't Be Cruel" so it didn't have the same effect.
The transition into "Can't Help Falling in Love" was smooth. The biggest problem with slow love songs but I think it's just that you can pay attention more to the changes of pitch during slower songs easier. Their performance was stronger than their last love song. They ended with "Hound Dog" and some of the lyrics were mumbled through. There was spirit and their choreography that fit the Elvis-theme. My Grade: B+
Afro-Blue - Janet Jackson Medley - Afro-Blue had another successful week of merging jazz with modern pop, last week but the group chose (or was given) Janet Jackson. But not the controversial boobie 2004 era Janet. The fun 80s/early 90s Janet. Their challenge was the combination of transitions and Janet Jackson choreography.
I liked the cold opening for "What Have You Done for Me Lately" and the soulful arrangement. They were almost seamless during "Miss You Much" and the jazz scat moment. They were the first group to then shift to "When I Think of You" equally as seamlessly. I thought that while the first two songs were a similar tempo, they managed to get the spirit of the last song. Having the lead singer in the front was great. My Grade: A-
Dartmouth Aires - Queen Medley - I'm shocked that the Aires were gutsy enough to pick Queen after they have such intricate vocals. They also had to deal with fixing their lower vocals. The Aires started with "Killer Queen" and the breathing was a bit odd and the choice of arrangement was sour. They shifted to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and I was happy that they had a stronger falsetto than I expected. There was a few areas where there were vocals missing. They did a lazy transition into "Somebody to Love" where they just stopped singing. I thought they benefitted from a song that had a built in A Capella section. The ending was nice, but predictable. My Grade: A
Pentatonix - Britney Spears Medley - The five performers that were mentally drained and struggled with arrangements. The five of them had issues with the drama of how things should work. They began with "Oops...I did it Again" and the arrangement was a bit simplistic, until you remember that only four people built a very strong backing. Their transition to "Toxic" was a bit simplistic and I really didn't think their choice of key was the best.
They were missing an element during the end of the section. They switched over to "Hold it Against Me" and the vocals got better. I liked the vocal break and strong choreography. I actually appreciate that they merged the three songs at the end. My Grade: A-
Delilah - Alicia Keys Medley - After having an emotional performance last week, Delilah was back to trying to work harder. They were so excited to pick a song with soul, but I was afraid they would butcher Alicia. They started "Fallin'" and I liked the buildup of the voices. I'm surprised how well the breathing out sound fit perfectly. There were some inconsistent voices during the chorus. They transitioned to "A Woman's Worth" and the whispery nature of the lead didn't really work for me. Their final transition to "If I Ain't Got You" was weak and I hated the arrangement of the final section until it got to the chorus. They didn't stray from the original. My Grade: B-
YellowJackets - Billy Joel Medley - The YellowJackets were the survivors of the face-off and were honored to perform Billy Joel. They decided to pick three songs that changed tempos and styles. They were grateful for having their family support them throughout the season. They began with "River of Dreams" and the falsetto was weak and the occasional deviation from the normal vocal line was a bit annoying.
They had a horribly awkward transition to "She's Always a Woman" but the second vocalist was nice. Whoever the third vocalist for the section is (I believe it's Aaron) he needs to stop getting solos. They transitioned to "Uptown Girl" with a random drum fill. The ending got less of a Billy Joel feel and more of a Four Seasons vibe. I thought the ending was sloppy. My Grade: B-
The groups were up for elimination and the judges gave a pass to Dartmouth Aires, Pentatonix, and Vocal Point in their first swoop. They were followed by Delilah and Afro-Blue. The bottom two were Urban Method and YellowJackets. I was finally spared another performance where Aaron tried to mug for the camera.
They sang out to "Tubthumping," managing to incorporate the judges, themselves and NBC.