Fannin Family are eliminated
Cat’s Pajamas are eliminated
The Sing-Off is bigger and better than ever. The talent level tonight was sky high. Even the two groups that left tonight, had their strengths. Nevertheless, the judges picked the right groups to go home. The Fannin Family just weren’t ready for primetime, and the Cat’s Meow sang like soulless automatons.
New judge, Sara Bareilles passed the test with flying colors. She’s smart, quirky, kind and knows her stuff. She’s adorable. Ben Folds is back with his incisive and smart critiques. Shawn has heart and knows his stuff. The judges take NOTES Y’ALL NOTES during the performances. The critiques are detailed and constructive. Ben, Sara and Shawn are THE best singing show competition judges’ panel on TV right now. And no, I doubt X Factor is going to change my mind.
Delilah, The Yellow Jackets, Kinfolk 9, Vocal Point are my favs at this point. What are yours?
I’ll be live blogging the Sing-Off right here. Join me, will you?
- Read bios of the Top 16 HERE.
The first 8 groups perform tonight: Kinfolk 9, Urban Method, Deliah, Vocal Point, Cat’s Pajamas, Afro-Blue, Fannin Family, Yellow Jackets. They take the stage to sing Pink’s “Perfect”. And it sounds fabulous!
Nick Lachey is back as host. The groups will compete for a 200K prize and a Sony Music recording contract.
Nick introduces the judges. Ben Folds can’t wait to see what happens since the show introduced a’cappella music to America! Shawn Stockman is excited for the expanded field of contestants. 16 y’all. New judge, Sara Bareilles is so excited to be a judge. Yes, the panel. The word is EXCITED.
Two contenders will be eliminated tonight.
Yellow Jackets – “Wavin’ Flag” – From the University of Rochester. I love the college groups! They began in 1956. Some are jocks, some are music students. They did a musical exchange in Kenya. They will share the message of hope with millions of people. Every single lead vocal in this group–and there were about 5 are rock solid. Very nice presentation. Tight vocals. Great start to the show. Their yellow blazers, however, are blinding. Shawn “This is ridiculous. Really powerful. I felt that you believed the music. It had range. Awesome.” Ben: “It was a group effort. It really made you feel it on the chorus. The tempo was a little fluctuating. Aaron, I really dug your lead.” Sara: “I see a brotherhood here that’s very special.” She enjoyed the apex of the performance where the guys really seemed to be feeling it. At first she thought maybe the harmonies needed some more counterpoint, but then she wondered if the song really called for that. She apologizes for her fluctuating opinions, “I’m new here guys!” So far so good, Sara.
Fannin Family – “Who Says” by Selena Gomez – 8 singing siblings! They come from a family of 11. Personal inspiration is their parents…of course. “C’mon Get Happy” they sing. The soloist is the youngest. She’s 14. Kinda like the Jacksons. There are definitely some pitchy spots and missed notes here. The kids have a beautiful tone. I wasn’t as impressed with Maria as the judges. But taking her age into account, yeah she did pretty well. Ben: “You guys are lucky growing up singing. You all have similar voices, you bunch up in a certain tone.” He was impressed with Maria. He thinks the bassist is singing out of his range. Fine first delivery. Sara: “I was sucked in like tunnelvision by Miss Maria. Amen girl. You sure did it. There’s a few pitch issues here and there, but I was really moved.” Shawn: More compliments to Maria. There were some little harmony quirks here and there.
Afro-Blue – “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Baily Rae – From Howard University, which is traditionally an African American University. The lead singer seems a little nervous and lacks charisma. But the background is gorgeous. They’ve got an old school jazz vibe going. When they go full out, it sounds a little messy. But, beautiful tones. Ben: I really love your sound. I really love your name.” He loved the lead singers presentation, and likes that they make jazz accessible. He also loved the bass work. Sara: I was thoroughly entertained. She wrote down that they were all very attractive. They show promise for versatility Shawn: Class, style, slick, smooth, effortless, fun. You made what was difficult for most singers easy. Lead singers voice is like warm butter on grits. Great first job.
Delilah – “Grenade” by Bruno Mars – Oh. It’s a supergroup made up of contestants from past seasons. I’ll review the tape to get all the names. The catch is that they are all female and are out to prove girls can cover all the bases, including the deep tones. Wow. The lead singer is awesome. The backgrounds are crystal sharp and the bass notes fine. Really really impressive. Whoa I’m digging this lead singer! The dynamics, range, of the backgrounds…sensational. My favorites so far. Standing O from the judges! Sara: Ladies! Hell ya. that was awesome. Girl power. You are a kick ass a’capella roup. Dynamics, versatility, emotion. I love that you switched up the groove in the chorus. Crazy chords. I loved it. Shawn: What boyfriend did you channel to sing that? It cut through my heart. It was strong passionate, sexy. Ben: You’re delivering the song first. There’s no novelty to this. The bass is really great. I was so impressed, I was just writing my ass off.” I love that they judges ACTUALLY TAKE NOTES during the performance.
First elimination of the night. Who is going home? It better be the Fannin Family. They were the weakest.
Moving on: Delilah, Afro Blue are called safe first. It’s between Yellow Jackets and Fannin Family. Yellow Jackets are safe. Thank Jeebus. Fannin Family sing their swan song, shakily, “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie”.
Urban Method – “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna – Denver group mixes hip-hop beats into their sound. They have a rapper. We’ll see if that works. Mike, the rapper is compulsively watchable. He comes off a little over-the-top and self-involved in the video package, it’s that intensity that makes his performance work. Unfortunately, the girl singing the Rihanna part is a competent singer, but she doesn’t match his star quality. The backsgrounds are solid. Like Ben and Shawn, I see nothing novel or weird bout what the group is doing here. Shawn: He’s got hip-hop roots. It’s not far from what he knows. It sounded like a track rather than all voices. He loves the rapper. Sara: Mike, the rapper has star quality and liked the theatrical quality of the performance. Sara had some kind words for the lead girl Ben: He also doesn’t think it’s novel and believes Mike is a star. “The bass was shaking my ass”.
Cat’s Pajamas – “Secrets” by One Republic – “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad – They are working musicians from Branson MO. They are hip, they say. But as hip as they can be singing in Branson. They do a mix of oldies from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s. Cheesy! Look at them dancing with grandmas in Branson. These guys perform 200 shows a year, and it shows. They are pros, to the point that they may have an unfair advantage over their competitors. The crowd is loving it. Ben: That was really strong. He thinks they need to work on the artistry part. Technically they kill, but now they need to allow themselves to be vulnerable. Shawn: Definitely entertainers. How does it translate to the listener? What would they sound like on CD? Looking for them to change it up. Sara: Pitch perfect, smiling, energy. “Super tight package…is that weird?” Ha. Sara is darling. She’s impressed by their business accomplishments. She’d like to see a different side of them too. She can’t quit with the double entendres. The jist of the the judges comments: Technically perfect, but a little souless, and I have to agree.
Kinfolk 9 – Friends and family makeup the LA group, Kinfolk. One of the members ended up living in a friends garage with his family. Oh. Silverlake hipsters for the win! Beautiful. Powerful. I didn’t notice too many technical issues with this group, but that’s because I was so taken by the emotion. That lead singer, performs like he means it. For my money, I’ll take Kinfolk with their “issues” over the technically perfect and robotic stylings of Cat’s Pajamas. But that’s just the way I roll. Sara: She gets the sense there’s a lot on the line. She compliments the front man. The bass? “Wow. it was almost overpowering for me, but you are all powerful singers.” Ben: Compliments the lead singer and the girl who put the group together. Although he admires their emotion, Ben thinks it’s going to take a while to get their blend together. Shawn: Harmony quirks, but I can sense the hunger. Struggle tends to bring out the best in who you are. You can always fix the technical stuff.”
Vocal Point – “Jump Jive and Wail” by Brian Setzer Orchestra – From Brigham Young University. Mormons, and as clean cut as could be. But they’re quick to let you know that they like to kiss the ladies. One of their members had to leave to be with a sick father. OK. Maybe my second favorite. Harmonies were pitch perfect. Fantastic arrangement with lots of color and dynamic. The presentation was energetic and entertaining. Really outstanding lead, and that last high note was killer. Me loves. Ben: The groove was great. The high note at the end–drives it home. Bass lines were wicked. It’s going to be better when Ben’s here. Great job. You modulated very well. Shawn: How much fun was that. Way to sell the lead. That modulation was off the hook. You kept the key. Missed Ben the baritone. So much infectious energy. Sara: You have so much personality. It was really cool. It kept morphing into this new thing.
If I were picking, I’d send Cat’s Pajamas back to Branson.
Vocal Point and Urban Method advance to the next round. Kinfolk9 advance! YAY. Cat’s Pajamas are eliminated. Their swan song is “Bye Bye Love”.