The Sing-Off Review: Who Hit the Right Notes?

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Five groups took to the Sing-Off stage for R&B performances last night. Who hit the right note? Who was sent home? A grade-filled rundown is below...

Singing Mariah

Current R&B Hits
Dartmouth Aires - Ignition (Remix) - The Aires worried about harmonization and with less time there was more pressure to get work done. Nic, the music director, lost control of his group. I thought the choice of song was silly. Why do something that wasn't their strength? Their lead singer didn't really match R. Kelly and the other singers actually sounded closer. I know the competition isn't about sounding like the original performer, but it would have made the accuracy better. The ending felt rushed and the lead singer lost the tempo as well. My Grade: B

Urban Method - Knock You Down - After having a strong set of performances last week, Katie was filled with confidence. They picked a song that fits their adventure on the show. The song started right off the bad, I thought a solo voice may have been a better way to open the song, but Katie's vocals were nice. The part about being shot out of the sky wasn't the best. I thought the weird medical section was creative, but not the best choice. The ending section sounded like a lot of noise and Katie had to push even harder to be heard over the chaos. Katie delivered, but the arrangement could have helped the group if it was less noisy. My Grade: A-

Vocal Point - Every Little Step - Oh no Vocal Point is white. Who knew? They decided to try to combine whatever soul they had with the best choreography they could. The beginning choreography looked like a cheesy 90 boy band, which was perfect for the song and the group. The arrangement was basic but since it was cleanly executed it turned out great. Whoever did the really deep voice was amazing and the break was great. My Grade: A

Afro-Blue - We Belong Together - The team survived being in the bottom and the group struggled with Ne-Yo's "Closer," so they switched songs. They struggled with arrangement and lyrics. I liked the light arrangement in the beginning, which helped emphasized the song's emotion. The chorus had moments of chaos, but afterwards the emotion of the song picked up. My Grade: B+

Pentatonix - OMG - The group loved that they could sound more urban, but with a really religious Kevin didn't like the provocative nature. Wait, the lead singer isn't gay? I'd figure that would have been more of a concern than raunchy lyrics. The group started with a solo voice and the slow tempo worked well. When the song picked up, the tempo seemed too fast to really capture the club spirit of the song, unless you were drinking at this a'capella club. I like the group and their shifts between tempos, but the beat boxing wasn't the best for the song. How did Kevin think that the choreography wasn't provocative? My Grade: B+

Classic R&B
Dartmouth Aires - Midnight Train to Georgia - We get a lot of the "I want to win" videos for the second half, so I'm not even going to worry about those. I get it, everyone worked hard to get here. Their choice of a song that's well known for Gladys Knight singing was interesting because it's so closely associated with a woman singing it. When they emphasized the Pips section of the original the song worked, but were they depending too much on the almost choir-like arrangement or did they think going to the church would give the spirit that the song needed? My Grade: B+

Urban Method - It's Your Thing - I liked the really powered opening and the sweetening of the arrangement when the song kicked in. Having all the females get a chance to sing during the song showed range. They even allowed the beat boxers and bass line to have a solo section. The whole thing was great and probably the best arrangement of the classics. My Grade: A-

Vocal Point - Ain't Too Proud to Beg - The opening had wavering voices. At this (vocal) point, anyone can see that they are generally overpowered by the Aires. I think the group tried too hard to portray soul. They were worried about looking like random white kids during their first performance, but they were really white during this performance. They hit a few sour notes when they hit high falsetto. My Grade: C+

Afro-Blue - Best of My Love - I liked really girl-group opening of the performance where the guys were the backup band. I know the group attempted this before, but it's become signature. There were one or two stray voices during the chorus. The second verse to the ending was better. Some of the ending continued the screechy high notes, but I know the original had that same multiple level of high notes. My Grade: B

Pentatonix - Let's get it on - I thought that the choice of song was an interesting selection to show versatility. They couldn't depend on their electronic sound and instead emphasized that they had strong vocals outside of cute choreography and beat box stutters. How did Kevin not have issues with the group picking this song? Double Standards Much? This song screams "Let's Have Sex Right Now." The vocal runs at the end were great. My Grade: A

So, who went home? Vocal Point earned fewer votes than Afro-Blue, the bottom pair of acts, as another all-male group got the boot. They sang out to Michael Buble's "Home" and I thought that it was a smart arrangement and it fit their character.

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PENTATONIX IS THE MOST TALENTED BY FAR!! DARTMOUTH AIRES IS A GREAT "CHOIR"! SOME GREAT SOLOISTS WHO'D BE GREAT ON BROADWAY/OTHER VENUES, BUT NOT WINNERS AS A "GROUP" FOR RECORD DEALS.

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Right First off, Vocal Point should definitely not have been sent home. I am so tired of Urban Method. Sure it's great, they incorporate rap with acapella. But they are so not versatile. I mean they even had to rap during rock night. The judged didn't seem to mind, but where is their verstility. Would like to have heard him sing instead. I love Pentatonix. I had them picked in the top two with Vocal Point. Afro Blue is so-so. The Aires, are so fun, and I like their performances, but overall they have criticized a little in each episode. So it leaves me to wonder, why, Vocal Point who have never been in the bottom two, and who have rarely been picked apart for their performance got booted. It made absolutely no sense. They are so polished and smooth. And they still knew how to rock, with their Elvis selection, Footloose, and You Really Got Me. I do think that the judges made the worst mistake this week. But I have to say, I guess I am glad that they get to decide up till the finals and not the public. I am glad it is not a popularity contest, or mostly isn't.(I am sure the judges have their favorites.)

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Although I think Dartmouth Aires is the worst out of the whole lot, if I were given the option to save Afro Blue or Vocal Point this week, I would have saved the former. I'm not sure about you guys, but I really really loved Afro Blue's We Belong Together. It had such a slick arrangement and their harmonies were so much more layered and complex than VP's Every Little Step. And I'm with the judges with regards to their 2nd performance. The chorus was just missing the low voices to push it ahead. I think the disadvantage that Afro Blue has over groups like VP and Pentatonix is that their arrangements are not easily accessible and hence appreciated. They don't impact you the same way as let's say Pentatonix's Let's Get It On or Vocal Point's Every Little Step, two groups that utilise pop sensibilities. Don't know if I'm making sense haha. And I think Afro Blue has just been getting so much conflicting advice from the panel. One week the judges think they're trying to change the song too much and on another the judges are craving for more of Afro Blue's signature sound. While this may just be pure conjecture, I feel that Afro Blue was selected to stay because they had shown room for further growth (cf to VP) especially after last week's Need You Now when the judges felt that they're starting to see them make astute choices that reinforce their emotional connection to the song. Would love to hear what others think. (:

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Its pretty obvious the only reason the show pointed out that Kevin had issues with some of the lyrics was because they actually changed the MAIN LINE in OMG to not say "God". I highly doubt the show wanted to say anything about Kevin's unease about the songs, but when you change one of the words in the title of the song, people are gonna wonder why. So they offered a brief reason about it. And when its your obvious front-leader group who's doing something like changing a word in the title, they ought to give SOME explanation to the viewers rather than let them come to their own conclusions as to why.

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The Dartmouth Aires rock!! They are awesome, and should win the whole thing.

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I think the judges made a mistake sending Vocal Point home. I really felt that Afro Blue had a weaker performance by far. I agree that the producers were afraid to leave the vote to America, hoping for a more diverse group to win. But they are spot on week after week, and just because they had one song that wasn't all it should have been is no reason to send them home. I felt like Sarah in particular was fishing for negative comments to make. I felt like she had already decided who she wanted to send home this week.

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I only saw the first half of the episode (will catch up on Vocal Point's 2nd song in a bit) but I am not surprised Vocal Point were sent home. I think it's difficult for a college group, particularly all-male, to win The Sing-Off. It's just unlikely because I don't think "America" will vote for that. I'd like to see a season of The Sing-Off with just college groups - that might be interesting. Also, I guessed that Vocal Point would be "too white" to win. And I was pretty sure the judges wouldn't have picked them over Urban Method or Afro-Blue - not even from a technical/artistic perspective but just because Vocal Point appear to be undiverse (as someone put it earlier) and maybe too wholesome? That's probably not the right word, but they didn't have infighting or sad woe-is-me storylines. Aside from Ben's father passing away (which was sad), they didn't face other obstacles like illness or whatever. I really enjoyed Vocal Point's performances - they were full of energy and I liked their song choices.

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Pentatonix was the clear winner last night. But I thought the DartmouthAires should have been sent home. They did very little with Midnight Train and not much more with Ignition. They have too many voices and, beyond the young man who sings lead regularly, not enough differentiation. In spite of a lackluster 'Ain't too Proud', VocalPoint deserved a better fate. I assumed one of the 'boy bands' would get sent home going into the final rounds but VP had outperformed DA every night forever. Perhaps there was a bit of fear that the nations Mormons would unite to skew the future voting?? Pentatonix seems poised for the eventual crown. They are really good and they certainly get the most with the least in terms of numbers.

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Seems like the choice last night was purely a future marketing one. Afro Blue had a horrible night and Vocal Point had one great song and one mediocre one. I think the judges and/or the producers were worried that Vocal Point (the most undiverse of the groups i.e. all white, all male) are not as marketable but might have a loyal voting following and they didn't want to take any risk by leaving it in the hands of the voting public. Looks like the show is definitely pushing Pentatonix as the future winner, which isn't all bad since Pentatonix seems to be a head above the rest. I just feel bad for the Vocal Point guys because they got shafted last night and they're probably the 2nd or 3rd best group among the last 5. Oh well, that's show business.

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@michael pascua You hit the nail on the head. I don't know what VP was thinking when they did ain't too proud to beg. AFB had a huge miss with American girl last week but their last song was extremely good. Unfortunately, VP's last impression was their failed Temptations miss and sometimes you just have that kind of luck. But huge props to the blond guy with glasses on VP - he really tried his best.