The Sing Off 2011 Episode 9: The Rhythm & Blues Revue

And tonight is R&B night! Since there are only five groups and two hours of show, each group will do two numbers. First will be a current R&B hit (meaning I will not know any of them), and then they will do a round of classics (songs I know).

The opening medley included “I Feel Good” by James Brown and “ABC” by the Jackson 5.

Dartmouth Aires – “Ignition (Remix)” They want to dial it back a little; they do not do sexy, they do high energy, so it takes work. They had a rough rehearsal, too many ideas.
Me: I love the “bounce bounce.” I love Clark being sexy. It was chaotic, with a lot going on, but I think if I was more familiar with it I might love it, it all clicked.
Sara: charming, entertaining. Xavier, fantastic on stage, nice to see you rub your ass on national tv. Clark, awesome. Enjoyed.
Shawn: So many “uncomfortable” moments. Never seen them like that before. They did sexy in a playful way, strategic, could have been more bounce in drums. Looking for dimension and layers, but was fun.
Ben: always entertaining. Bottom end, bass and drums, has not been their strength.
Sounds like they may be on the low side.

Urban Method: “Knock me Down” by Keri Hilson. Mike is happy to rap Kanye West. Katie is feeling pressure. They want to show versatility.
Me: I think there was a little melt down before the refrain. I like the beeps. I love the build on the rap section!
Shawn: Proud of them growing. Katie, happy for her, Mike, gives raps his own style.
Ben: always in good hands. Richard, great beatboxer. Best on show. Lot of low end, never question groove. Like Liz doing tick-tick-tick. A little trouble with straight ahs, couple of swells unlocked with three dynamics at once.
Sara: Little Engine that Could. Loved playing with arrangement. Creating suspense in arrangements, smart.

Vocal Point – “Every Little Step” by Bobby Brown. They admit, when you think of Vocal Point the first word probably is not “soul.” They were struggling with choreography in rehearsal.
Me: Percussion is very strong, too strong? I do not like the oooohs. Half and half, to me, half too white boy, half pretty good. Nice little touches though! Nick says, “That took me back to my parachute pants days.” Hah!
Ben: “I am wearing them under the desk.” (parachute pants.) It was all Tanner for a second, singing, dancing, beat box, wow. Impressive. Thumbs aloft.
Sara: Jaw was on the floor. Enormous choreography in addition to delivering vocals really well. McKay, you do have soul. .Couple of fleeting moments of tuning issues on chorus.
Shawn: Impressive. Robert, low voice talking, he knows how that goes. Same thing in his group, he was singing his head off and all the other guy had to do was say “Yeah, you know what I mean?” Truly impressive.

Afro Blue – They started out doing “Closer” by NeYo but changed to “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey. Christie is nervous about remembering all the words.
Me: Start of chorus sounded bad. And again at the end, it just fell apart. Or maybe I just do not get it!
Sara: Christie great job on lead. Tough lead. Initially up in her head but soaring by end. Bryan, percussion, shout out. Reggie on bass, insane.
Ben: Getting somewhere now, using things they know how to do. Bell tones coming down on seconds, shimmer. When the song is coming out that clearly, they can put in some of the special stuff they do.
Shawn: they are starting to understand the method behind arranging, Lock it in. Let everyone enjoy the ride. Good job.

Pentatonix – “OMG” by Usher. Electronic clubbie vibe. Kevin has a problem with explicit lyrics because of his religious faith.
Me: I do not get the song but they did the same great sound. Loved the end.
Shawn: He is tired of saying that they are good. Avi does something with his voice that they really should need a studio to do. Smooth ride until the end. Rolled with it, arrangement is smart. Accent strengths. Kevin and Avi are freaks of nature. Can not say anything bad.
Sara: She says, “I did not like it at all” then everyone laughs; “You know it is good when everyone laughs.” They inject personality into arrangements. Exciting. Locked in.
Ben: Smart arranging. Really interesting chords. Delays and backward cymbals in percussion track, really good.

Second Round – classics

Dartmouth Aires – they have not been in the bottom all season, which I did not realize. “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
Me: They change it to “girl” Too choral for me. It is kind of a choral song, but not this choral. The chorus is too loud. It is all one dynamic level. Not my favorite.
Ben: working together really well to support Michael who has timeless style. Nice work on low end. Pitch a little unglued at times.
Shawn: Michael, sometimes emotion overrides perfection; he believed it. Moments when he shared it with everyone else.
Sara: Beautiful. Restraint in arrangement, paid attention to song. Michael, delight. Backup was committed. Could have used more dynamics especially at beginning. Blend great.

Urban Method – “It’s your Thing” by the Isely Brothers.
Me: Love them playing horns on mikes at beginning. Kristie lost it for a second but covered well. Goofy, but ok. Never really peaked.
Shawn: Wanted it to keep going. Ahead of their time. The next step for hip hop, they are pioneers.
Ben: Only two chords in song; reharmonized some of it, smart, featured bass and percussion, insane at end. Kim, came closest to capturing feeling of song. Were just getting warmed up.
Sara: Loved the bongo breakdown, Troy great on upright bass. Kim awesome.

Vocal Point – “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” by the Temptations
Me: I do not like the “bada bap bas.” Not bad, but not my favorite Subdued. The whole white boy thing is getting a little old.
Sara: Sweet. Ben, great lead vocal. Felt like he was trying, could not lose herself in performance. Felt disjointed. But always good.
Shawn: Tanner and Robert kept the groove. Ben, beautiful voice, but the original was not beautiful. Wanted to feel begging. They always sound good but need other things.
Ben: Agrees with Shawn, always on it, love what they do, want to see some risk taking like they did in the beginning of the competition, they have been playing it safe for a little while. [I think they are tired, they are commuting to school once a week!] Step up dynamics.

Afro Blue – “Best of my Love” by the Emotions.
Me: Meh. I did not recognize the song; in fact I think maybe I do not know this song after all!
Ben: Danielle, great singer. Holes in chorus. Maybe it should not be so staccato. But a lot of fun. Upholding American tradition and the original American music form.
Sara: Danielle is a bright shiny star on stage. Missing a little of what Ben was talking about.
Shawn: In spots it came undone, but overall felt good. But they know how to deliver. Props to Reggie.

Pentatonix – “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
Me: Love the sax. Great lead.
Shawn: Can not express enough how incredible that was. Marvin Gaye is his favorite singer of all time and they did great.
Ben: There will be a suspicious bump in the birth rate in nine months, and they will all be named Scott and Kirstie.
Sara: Incredibly professional, polished, joy to hear them perform every week.

I do not want anyone to go! All I know is Pentatonix are safe and I think Urban Method is safe.

Safe: Pentatonix and Urban Method.
Dartmouth Aires are in.
That leaves Afro Blue and Vocal Point.
Afro Blue is in, Vocal Point is out.
I enjoyed them completely all season and I will miss them! Swan Song: “Home” by Michael Buble.

Next week is the last week! After the show viewers will vote. The four groups will perform several songs including a Judge’s Choice number!
Sounds like Afro Blue does Sam Cooke, which is very cool. I suspect that is a Judge’s Choice!
I am just sorry it is almost over! But I still hope they move it back to Christmas next year. It just felt more special some how.

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3 responses to “The Sing Off 2011 Episode 9: The Rhythm & Blues Revue

    • Hello, elroberto! Yes, Urban Method has pulled through, and I think I am the only person left who likes them! But I do!

      I agree, next week is the last “competition” week, the following week is the finale which will be a big concert (I hope they do better at bringing in guests to sing with the groups than they did last year – I love Neil Diamond but he was awful) and the announcement of the winner. And if it is not Pentatonix, there will be blood!

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