Sing Off – Halloween Night

Each week after the show I download my favorite songs from the previous night’s episode and listen to them while I run. That not only gives me some great motivation music, it also lets me review the performances. Last week provided a lot of high-point moments (and a great running soundtrack!). As we move into the deeper rounds, I believe that the top twogroups are Pentatonix and Afro Blue. These groups have performed at a consistently high level for all the weeks.

Tonight is Medleys Night, which is a challenge for the groups as they have to string together three different songs in one performance. I believe a successful performance tonight depends as much on artist/song choice as on delivery. Looking forward to seeing how the groups do. Let’s get started!

Opening number – Very entertaining! The singers really seemed to be having a lot of fun, and some of the best voices were featured. A great way to kick off the show, and I especially liked the creepy “Werewolves of London” rendition.

Urban Method – Rihanna medley – This is a challenge because last week the judges were critical of the female leads. Can they deliver more oomph with these powerhouse songs? This group has a great bass/beatbox foundation, but the judges’ criticisms of the female vocals was still valid this time around. The girls still seem to be reserved (especially the blonde). Too bad they didn’t feature Mike (the rapper) or the guy with the mohawk, who can sing the chrome off a bumper. Strong performance, but I don’t think the girls can compete with other groups.

Vocal Point – Elvis – Really liked their take on “Falling In Love with You.” It felt the least like an imitation and more like a tribute. They covered a lot of emotional ground in this medley, which is one of Vocal Point’s strengths. They are probably the most versatile group left in the contest and also feature quite a few capable lead singers. These guys seemed to find their groove again after last week.

Afro Blue – Janet Jackson – They seemed to get off to a slow start with “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” but were able to bring in their own jazzy style when they transitioned to “When I Think of You.” That song fit so much better with their style, and they carried that into the third song, “Miss You Much.” A strong finish that really showcased Afro Blue’s strengths. They more than made up for a lackluster start, but after standing out early they seem to be coming back to the pack a bit.

Dartmouth Aires – Queen – These guys seem to pick great songs that highlight their strengths. The Aires are excellent showmen, so Queen’s theatrical style is right in their wheelhouse. But taking on “Bohemian Rhapsody?” That’s truly ambitious. And they killed it! Great job on “Bohemian,” and Michael (my favorite vocalist on the whole show) really brought it home. The way they built back up on “Somebody to Love” was incredible. Such a fun performance! These guys are getting stronger each show.

Pentatonix – Britney Spears – I’m enjoying re-listening to this group’s songs more than any other, which says a lot to me about their talent and enduring sound. This medley required the group to feature their female lead, which I believe is their weakest part (but you can’t put Scott out front every time). But their bass and beatbox is so incredibly strong, they can carry any part. I love how this groups seems to take huge risks every week. I’m still amazed that they can make such an incredible sound with five voices. While this wasn’t my favorite performance of theirs, they still were great and they are making a sound no one else can even touch.

Delilah – Alicia Keys – This is another great selection for this all-girl group, because their passion and femininity fits great with Keys’ music. But this group has also been the most inconsistent of all the groups. They nailed the first song, and the opening vocal and beatbox join was a terrific moment. The middle song took a step back, but Amy really drove it home on the last song. I really love her passion and delivery (I still count “Grenade” as one of my favorite performances this season). This medley didn’t have a real standout moment, but the upside of that is that it was consistently good all the way through.

Yellowjackets – Billy Joel – As the number of acts gets smaller, groups that share similarities start to become redundant. With three all-male college groups left, at some point the judges will start to whittle them away. Of the three, the Yellowjackets are standing out the least. This performance lacked energy and had zero theatrics, relying solely on the group’s vocal delivery. But with a group this big, they simply can’t compete with the smaller, more progressive groups. While I always enjoy this group, nothing in this performance wowed me.

Committed!! Love these guys. I still listen to a lot of their songs from last season, and their album is an amazing blend of their different styles. Plus they all really seem like genuinely nice guys. They stood at least year because they had delivered on some risky arrangements and weren’t afraid to push their talents. In fact, their weakest performance was also their safest (“I Want It That Way”). Which group from this season is following that same pattern? Pentatonix.

Bottom two this week for me are Urban Method and Yellowjackets. I’m not sure Urban Method’s female leads can keep up with the competition, but I send home the Yellowjackets this week. There’s no way three all-male college groups make it through to the final six. This saddens me, because the very first song of this whole competition, their version of “Wavin’ Flag,” is still one of my favorite performances. But the judges agreed with me. Ironically, the playfulness of their swan song was exactly what was missing from their medley. This competition is getting really tough!

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