The Sing-Off has switched up the format again for last night’s and Monday’s episodes, offering one-hour editions where four of the teams will compete and one team will go home. No one is safe!
Last night’s Sing-Off featured Ten, acoUstikats, Street Corner Renaissance, and the Filharmonic singing songs that reached Number 1 on the charts. Each team received some coaching from judge Shawn Stockman. Rather than a ranking, let’s just go through all the performances as they happened.
This group takes on Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” with the advice that they need to take everyone to church and do vocals that will give the audience the shivers. Ten does not shy away from these instructions. The song opens with an ever-so-slightly slowed down version of the song, taking the track to a sexier church than expected. At the bridge, the tempo shifts into high gear and the performance turns into a gospel choir. Even the boys of Filharmonic are getting into it. The sleeping giant is starting to wake up. The only major note they receive from the judges comes from Jewel, who suggests the “band” is not quite at the level it could be in supporting the vocals, but it’s the distinction between an A- and an A.
Fun trivia: the song “Amazed” by Lone Star was originally offered to Boyz II Men. Shawn advises the boys to pick someone in the audience to sing to as it will help maintain focus and encourage confidence within the performance. The group’s rendition of the song is pure a capella: no beatboxing or instrumentation, just harmonies and lyrics. Although it was choir-like in performance, the guys execute some complicated layering which works really well. This was their best performance by far. Then one of the guys had to muck it up by proposing to his girlfriend. Stop making it difficult for me to like you, acoUstiKats. I wish the couple joy, but public proposals should be subject to Hammurabi’s Code.1
Street Corner Renaissance
The doo-wop group will take on the Song Otherwise Known as “Forget You” by Cee-Lo. What I like about this group is that they have been rotating who takes on the lead vocals for each song, demonstrating the group’s versatility. What concerns me is their approach to choreography is almost claustrophobic, as if they had to hold all their rehearsals within an elevator. Their movements could be bigger and not as confined to a portion of the stage. However, the group has a great sense of humor, adding the line “don’t say that, brutha” after one of the self-censored “shit” sections. Although the panel likes the group, both Ben and Shawn urge the group to step out of their comfort zone in their song selections. Jewel suggests taking on a rock song at some point, which I would also be interested in seeing.
The boy band chose “One More Night” by Maroon 5 by virtue of the “Ooo-ooo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oh” hook. They also remixed the arrangement, giving it almost an ’80s New Wave feel. The tempo seems not quite right and there’s an intensity missing from the lyrics. The guys are hitting their marks and look good on stage, but there is something about this performance that isn’t meshing. There a lot of ideas, but nothing seems to be fully executed. That’s a shame.
Ten and the acoUstiKats are declared safe, which means SCR and The Filharmonic have to do battle. I agree with those choices. Their song is “Na Na Hey Hey” by Steam. There’s a mutual respect between the teams, as shown by the absence of the obnoxious taunting that happened in the previous two battles. Also unlike previous bouts, it felt more like the teams were taking turns instead of transitioning, though that may also be due to the structure of the song. In the end, the Filharmonic were asked to stay in the competition. I agree with that decision as well.
Next time on The Sing-Off: Element continues to make excuses as they, VoicePlay, Vocal Rush and Home Free take on songs that appeal to people of all ages.