The Sing-Off 2011: Episode 8 – Rockin’ Out and Goin’ Country

Photo by Kentra Norton

Howdy, Pardner, I am Zin! Tonight it is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll!

First we rock!

“Wake Up” by Arcade Fire is the group opening number; nice!

Pentatonix – “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf. Scott is solo. Kirstie has been sick.
Me: Nice motorcycle! I like her red furry jacket too! Terrific percussion, good lead. With five people they have as much power as the groups three times their size. Great job!
Sara: incredible. Kirstie does not seem sick. Great lead by Scott.
Shawn: amazing what comes out of the five people, big and strong. Avi and Kevin are the driving force, sounded full and powerful.
Ben: always have a couple of tricks up their sleeve. The lyric “heavy metal thunder” in this song is where the term “heavy metal” came from. I did not know that! This is why I love Ben Folds!

Dartmouth Aires – “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. One of the basses had to leave for Grad school. They are nervous about performing with “only” one bass! Hey! There are groups that do not have fifteen members, deal with it!
Me: Michael seems off. I like that they sing “here comes the bridge,” that is fun. But not their best.
Shawn: they are having too much fun, ha ha! Justin, good rock in voice. Michael is very natural,a great performer. Could have used more cowbell, ha ha! Good performance.
Ben: Loads of fun. Made the song one more step ridiculous than it is. He said, “I know you hate to see Jack off at the airport” and I was startled – what? Did he do that on purpose? He liked that they pointed out bridge was coming, but then the pitch kind of fell apart, until the Broadway ending came back. Nice work.
Sara: injected with versatility. Blended. Theatricality. Brendan good on percussion. Great job.

Afro Blue: “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbrakers. They do not know the song. Hey come on, have you never seen Silence of the Lambs?
Me: Meh. Nothing wrong, just not really engaging. I liked “land of the free” thrown in there.
Ben: top was especially good, with harmonies. They need to keep an eye on the song, throwing in the national anthwem did not have anything to do with song really. Danielle sounded great. He likes that the do not dumb things down, but they need to not underestimate the power of a simple song. Be complex, but let people not realize they just heard that. I do not know – they are super talented jazz people, that is what they do, if they have to dumb it down for competition, this is the wrong competition for them.
Sara: some of the most talented singers of the show, enjoy, but did not see them in it. Technicality is great, but did not feel it.
Shawn: he loves hearing them sing. Voices are amazing, this particular song seemed intimidated by it, like it did not relate to them.

Delilah: “Dream On ” by Aerosmith. They are very tired, it has been an emotional ride.
Me: Lead opening starts weakly but picks up. Then the lead blew it away. I did not like the arrangement of ending.
Shawn: that was rock n roll. He saw Amy as a female Steven Tyler. Buildup worked, convincing, wahat it was supposd to be.
Ben: Amy, handled the fan blowing – gotta know how to handle the fan! Great dynamic to take it up to the stratosphere, good for this group. But it seemed like it hit the peak and had to fingure out how to stay there.
Sara: Amy, great lead. Conviction. Voice translates to rock. It was not her favorite performance. Not sure why she was not into it. Maybe what Ben said about peaking too early. Their strength is emotion.

Urban Method – “Here I Go Again” by Whitensnake. They are not a rock group, but they have to sell it, this is their last chance.
Me: I liked the beginning, I did not love the rapper this time. It was ok.
Ben: Really good. They nailed it. Took a big chance, almost rewrote the song but brought out the song in a way he could understand. They made him like the song.
Sara: they are tenacious. Really strong showing. Glad they take risks, came out swinging. Really met Katie tonight for the first time, amazing.
Shawn: loved arrangement, added rap, rhythmic changes, kept the original flavor, entertaining, strong. Richard, props for getting the beat right.

Vocal Point: “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks. They are going to school one day a week in Utah. Wow, that is hard, commuting!
Me: I love the opening. The lead sounds completely stoned, with weird changes in timbre of the backup chorus; it is terrific! I could do without the occasional show choir aspects but it was pretty good.
Sara: how adorable are they. Gift of stage presence. Ross released his inner bad boy. Proper rock n roll.
Shawn: is that how they do it in Provo, Utah? Tanner, great simulated drums. Love that they took rock n roll seriously, showed a little bad boy. Manage to put Vocal Point stamp on it, enjoyed watching them perform. They come through every time.
Ben: always loads of fun. Hair metal thing was a choice. Not sure it was a choice he would have made but it was entertaining and good. He was not sure he would want to hear the record, and wanted a little less Vegas, but that was an artistic choice.

And now the Country hour! Everyone is worried! Some people have a little bit of background in some aspect of country, like driving pickups and line dancing, but none of them are really big on country music.

Dartmouth Aires – “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich.
Me: I am not following this. There is too much going on! I do like the rhythm change at the end, but overall it was very messy.
Ben – that was fun. Michael & Will, great. Love the octave thing, very uncomfortable commenting on tightness of bottom end in this case, oh ha ha. Theatre is great, but it was a little loose.
Shawn – closest thing to country club bang up. Enjoyable to watch, some little flubs, in part because there was lots of choreography. Entertaining.
Sara: [They take their hats off when Sara talks, which is cute]. This is their challenge, when they take on a big song and energetic challenge, things get a little loose. [I am not sure that came out right.] They need to harness their energy.

Afro Blue – “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum.
Me: ok. I do not like the song. I did not know it was a country song.
Sara: she got emotional watching them get emotional. Really special. Triumphant. Deepest level of connection between them and between the music and the listener.
Ben – transcendent. Reggie, bass player, great. Kristie and Trent, great vocals. Not much to say when it is done that well. They are out of their comfort zone every week because there is no jazz week, they have been generous and fantastic.
Shawn, could tell it connected. Emotional. Nothing better than to see singers connect so deeply with a song.

Urban Method – “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood.
Me: Great opening. Lead did really well. They did a very country version! Not sure it is enough.
Shawn – Sassy Katie. Nice to see her come out of shell. Troy held it down on the bass and Tony, the Mohawk brothers. They captured the sassy attitude of the song.
Sara: She just learned Katie is nineteen, she has a terrific future as she grows. Incredible range and power in high register. Fun performance.
Ben: They worked through a slump, found gift. Dignified song. They attacked the song. Nice work.

Delilah – “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry.
Me: Pretty song. I think they overcomplicated it. Terrific lead, especially at the beginning.
Sara: Like the song, lots of emotion and thought into it. Pitch problems, took a minute to find pitch when the harmony came in.
Shawn: Ingrid on lead was beautiful. They never lack emotion. It is hard to connect when I heard so many waves, hard time connecting harmony-wise. Not locked, technically not sound.
Ben: Emotionally compelling, Ingrid nice, but first four chord was “whoa,” technically under what he is used to from them.

Vocal Point – “Life is a Highway ” by Rascall Flats.
Me: glasses do not go with country music. First part felt confusing. Sounds like something went wrong at the brigde. But after it came back well. I would have expected them to do better. It was ok though.
Ben: A lot of fun. Legitimately country. Sounded right. Keith as lead has an identifiable timbre, you know who is singing. Oh, that is important to him, I am not sure why.
Sara: Sometimes felt rushed. Blend was great, energetic, entertaining, nice range of dynamics.
Shawn: He liked the car starting. Good performance, the beat did get rushed a bit.

Pentatonix – “Stuck like Glue” by Sugarland.
Me: I loved the rhythm shake up in the middle. Loved the opening lead. Kirstie is so appealing.
Shawn: simplest arrangement they have done, and even that was fly. Loved the reggae breakdown. Did everything right.
Ben: Kirstie’s lead made me happy. Voice quality so pure, it made him smile. Bass was great. Percussionist great. Great to reel it back and give a relaxed performance.
Sara: sweet, great choices to keep it simple. [Sara seems to be repeating other people a lot more than usual tonight]

It is tough to tell who will be in trouble because there was a big difference in the first and second numbers! Delilah did well on first though they did not seem to like it as much as I did, but blew the second; Urban Method was ok on both but they seemed to really like them this week; Afro Blue had some issues in both but has been very strong. I would guess Urban Method and Delilah will be in the bottom with Delilah out. But maybe just because I still have hopes for Urban Method.

Pentatonix and Urban Method advance. Wow, UM were called sooner than I thought!
Dartmouth Aires and Vocal Point are safe.
So it is down to Afro Blue and Delilah. It must be Delilah.
Afro Blue is in, Delilah is out.

They do “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child as their swan song, and they do a terrific job of it!

Next week, R&B, Motown, and soul. That should work for everyone! But the previews sound like it does not work for someone at all.

3 responses to “The Sing-Off 2011: Episode 8 – Rockin’ Out and Goin’ Country

    • You have not heard? They have worked through their slump and are on an upward trajectory! 😉

      Actually, I thought they were wildly overpraised this week, I expected them to be in the bottom two. The first song was ok but nothing special, and the vandalism song, well, I love that singer but she did not have a good low end for that song.

      I think Vocal Point is at the biggest disadvantage for next week because first their schedule, and second R&B – I think they can do it but the others will do it better. I am surprised that Dartmouth Aires are doing so well, they have some things that are really great but others that are not.

      It does not really matter, because Pentatonix is so far ahead of everyone, it would take a catastrophe for them to lose! I like all the other groups about equally now for different reasons, it will be hard to see anyone go home!

      But mostly I wish this was still run during the Christmas hiatus!

  1. Agree on Pentatonix, they’re takin it home, and deserve it as well. And don’t worry, there will be a christmas album this year.

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