New Voices Emerge in the Season Premiere of NBC's THE SING OFF - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

New Voices Emerge in the Season Premiere of NBC’s THE SING OFF

December 7, 2010 by  

I hope you warmed up those vocal chords because THE SING OFF came back to NBC in a big way tonight.  The three week a cappella contest pits ten of the country’s best all voice singing groups against one other for a $100,00 grand prize, a Sony Music recording contract and the  title of SING OFF champion.

Those of you who were around last winter for THE SING OFF’s first season know that I was all about my hometown boys, The Beelzebubs from Tufts University.  The Bubs came in second place but I don’t think they’re complaining. The group is now arranging the music and providing the backing vocals for the Dalton Academy Warblers on the hit Fox show GLEE.  So those guys backing up Blaine (Darren Criss) on ‘Teenage Dreams’ and ‘Hey Soul Sister’…yup, it’s the Bubs.

But it’s a new season with all new songsters. Tonight we met the ten groups representing season two and heard as each performed their signature number for the audience, host Nick Lachey and judges Ben Folds, Nicole Scherzinger and Shawn Stockman.

There were some good notes and some bad, but without a doubt there are some really talented groups this season. Here’s my take on each.

  • Eleventh Hour – These high school kids are the youngest in the competition.  They didn’t do themselves any favors with me by opting to sing “Baby” by Justin Bieber, but I’m sure it’s a big hit with their high school friends.  Judge Ben Folds was right when saying they sounded bigger than their numbers.  The lead singer had an effortless voice.  The percussion and bass really helped their efforts, but on the whole I thought their harmonies weren’t tight enough. But it’s week one, so…
  • On the Rocks – After someone uploaded their on-campus performance of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, the guys of On the Rocks became YouTube celebrities. The video was watched over 6M times.  Tonight they performed the number that made them famous.  The personality was there and then some. I liked how the number showcased different lead vocals. Maybe it was opening night nerves, but they rushed too much of the song and the harmonies got lost at times. It was a lot of loud singing and it lacked the nuances and levels necessary for a cappella. I worry that these guys are too focused on being in your face and not so much on the singing.
  • Groove for Thought – This jazz style vocal group is made up of music teachers which includes a father/daughter duo. What they lacked in style they made up for in tight harmonies and great musicality. The lead singer was really captivating and helped make up for the group’s lack of stage presence.  Groove for Thought are used to performing at jazz brunches which is fine, but they have to step up their game if they want to stand out in later rounds.
  • Pitched Slapped – At least I have another hometown team to root for.  Pitch Slapped hails from Berklee College of Music, which is based here in Boston. The group performed one of my favorite guilty pleasure songs,  “Good Girls Go Bad” by Cobra Starship (featuring GOSSIP GIRL’s Leighton Meester). Maybe I’m being biased here, but I thought they were pretty solid.  I agreed with the critique from the judges that they needed a bit more stability in the backing vocals but I think this group has more to offer,
  • Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town – Damn, talk about old school. These guys, led by Jerry Lawson of the legendary group The Persuasions, showed these young kids how it’s done. The vocals were effortless and smooth as was their natural charisma. Vocally, these guys aren’t going to be tripped up.  But I think the real challenge may come in taking on some more modern songs. We’ll see. Maybe these guys will just stick with what they know and kick everyone’s ass along the way.

We still have five more groups to go, but before they get a chance to sing, the judges need to eliminate one of the groups that already performed tonight. My guess was that Eleventh Hour will be sent back to school, but I was wrong.  Pitch Slapped was eliminated tonight. So much for rooting for the hometown team. Bummer.

  • Next up was The Whiffenpoofs, a legacy a cappella group from Yale University. I’m not sure their intro vid did anything to gain them votes from the audience. The guys came off rather snooty and cocky. When they took the stage in their tux with tails I wasn’t expecting to be as entertained as I was.  The group performed Mika’s “Grace Kelly” and the lead singer completely murdered the song (um, in the best possible way). He was quirky and fun and his falsetto vocals made the entire performance.  I’d be lying if I said that the guys weren’t creeping me out a little, but on the whole I really liked their performance.
  • Men of Note – Meh. This was the first group of the night that I really didn’t want to hear more from. Their intro vid looked promising, but their rendition of Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” lacked energy and excitement.  Their pitch sounded off right from the beginning and the lead singer didn’t do anything to help bring the guys back to where they needed to be.
  • Street Corner Symphony – Note to self…don’t pay too much attention to the intro vids.  Based on what I saw of these guys upfront, I didn’t think they were going to bring too much to the table, er, the stage. But I really liked them. Their vocals were really incredible and they really understood how to perform at the right levels. The lead vocal has a really sweet voice. I’ll be hanging on their street corner more often.  Wait. Scratch that.
  • The Backbeats – This group made up of former a cappella rivals didn’t quite do it for me. The ensemble vocals felt very back burner to me, and while the lead singer certainly has a good voice, she didn’t blow me away.  The solo was way too deep for her and she struggled staying on pitch. Maybe The Backbeats deserve another listen for me because the judges and I were not on the same page on this one. They loved the group and especially the lead vocals.
  • Committed – Um, LOVE these guys!!! These gospel singers were nervous about tackling top 40 tunes, but they had nothing to worry about.  They killed Maroon 5’s “This Love” in a big way! From the vocals to the arrangement, everything was just awesome. Not only were the harmonies tight, but they did some really interesting things with their voices.  It was a blend of modern a cappella with a shout to barbershop harmony with a real R&B flavor. They made me want to break out my Boyz II Men CDs. Loved them!

So it’s time for the judges to send another group home. Who did they choose?  I’m thinking this one should be easy. Men of Note was by far the weakest of the five final performances.  And the judges agreed. (Whew.)

The remaining eight groups will perform some of today’s chart toppers on Wednesday at 8/7c and from the preview we got tonight I think it’s going to be a great show. All the groups sounded amazing in their teasers.

Of the eight remaining groups, my favorites are Committed and Street Corner Symphony with a few other groups right on their tails.  While I’m find with Men of Note going home, I wish that Pitch Slapped stayed over Eleventh Hour and/or On the Rocks.

Who were your favorites? Are you excited for THE SING OFF to be back?

Filed under #1 featured, The Sing Off


3 Responses to “New Voices Emerge in the Season Premiere of NBC’s THE SING OFF”

  1. Cathy on December 7th, 2010 5:30 pm

    I agree, I wish Pitch Slapped would’ve stayed and Groove for Thought gone home. They’re good, just very boring. Pitch Slapped at least had some showmanship.

  2. Lisa on December 9th, 2010 10:05 am

    How did I miss this show last season? My goodness, this is entertainment and talent for days. Love Committed and Streetcorner – same as you. Happy with a win from either. I like Groove as they remind me of Manhattan Transfer who were wonderful and I’m a sucker for teachers. Don’t like the ringers from LA in Backbeats.

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