The Sing Off
Night Three (Superstar Medley, Judges’ Challenge & Songs of Hope)
Original Air Date: Dec 16, 2009
Farrah Kaye – Associate Staff Writer
My new favorite show starts with a cast song, everyone dressed in a rainbow of colors, singing ELO (Electric Light Orchestra)’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” It was such a bright, vibrant song and a great way to start off the night! The groups will each sing a medley of songs from a group of their choice followed by a song chosen by the judges. Elimination will work as it did the first night. After part one (medleys), one group will go home. The remaining groups will then sing the judges’ choice song and another group will be voted off, leaving the three final groups. The fans will then choose the winner of the competition, which will be announced during the live finale on Monday, December 21st (more about that later). For now, let’s see what our favorite a cappella groups have for us this week!
NOTA: Coming off a great night, they have chosen to sing a medley of songs by the Jackson 5. I was a bit skeptical of a Puerto Rican-flavored Jackson 5, but they do have a similar range, especially with David as their lead singer. They bust out the J5 moves and David sings lead for “I Want You Back.” They transition to “I’ll Be There” with Ludwig (aka Luda, their normal mouth-drummer) singing lead. Another smooth transition into “A B C” with several different members taking a line or two. Overall, a solid NOTA performance! Shawn is impressed with their transitions and with Luda’s voice. Nicole is impressed overall and Ben is happy they didn’t take it to the higher range, as well as concurs with Shawn about their transitions and ranges. He gives them one piece of advice, and that is for David to push himself a bit more.
Beelzebubs: The cooky brotherhood from Tufts chose “The Who” for their medley. They chose them to show everyone another side of The Bubs. Another solo from Matt, singing “Behind Blue Eyes” gets us started and I’m glued to my TV as the rest of the Bubs stand completely still behind him. But that doesn’t last too long as they bust into full rock’n’roll mode with Eric as their lead for “Who Are You” before a short version of “Teenage Wasteland” with Matt again at the helm. No vans, no cookiness, just all the boys lined up on the front of the stage. Super impressed, I think this may have been their best performance yet! Nicole is first up and says their stillness and “less is more” moved her. Shawn says they showed their deeper side and congratulated Eric for showing his rock star side. Ben liked the lead vocal driving the song, which is the essence of old songs. Matt and Eric get props for being rock stars. They are definitely my rock stars! I still call them to be the winners.
MAXX FACTOR: The barbershop-quartet style group of moms choose The Beach Boys as their medley. I wonder if the Bubs even know who The Beach Boys are? Just kidding – I hope! They are doing Beach Boys songs for the harmonies. Starting it off is the song made recently popular by being in the movie Love Actually, “God Only Knows,” followed by “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” But the song they spend the most time on is “Good Vibrations.” I would’ve rather have seen an evenly split mix, or maybe I was just imagining it, but I felt their first two songs were shorter than the last. They end with a barbershop-type harmony. Ben says their sound is strong (“the strength of ten men”) and likes Leslie’s voice. Nicole is proud of the only female group still standing and loves the “sunshine pop” feeling. Shawn says it took a minute for him to get into it but once it got going, it was good and Valerie’s bass is “sick.”
The SoCals: When Nick announced last week that Journey was one of the medley groups this week, I called The SoCals singing them. And I was right! They are totally sticking to the Glee comparison, but will it work for them? Their first song is “Any Way You Want It” with Danny on lead. They seem a tad off, but I’m hoping they can recover. Next up, David and Kellie take the lead for “Open Arms,” one of my childhood favorites which is rarely heard anymore. And what Journey medley would be complete without “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Danny again takes the male lead with Lucy (yay!) on the female lead to finish off The SoCals’ medley. They even give us an air guitar performance! You can tell these guys have been at this a LONG time. Shawn says their harmonies gave him a feeling he hadn’t gotten from them yet. Ben says they found their voice and loved the guitar solo by David, and called them a “joy to listen to.” Nicole says they keep improving every night. I put them in the top three with NOTA and the Bubs. If they aren’t, I will be shocked.
Voices of Lee: The future GAP ad of America kids chose to use songs of The Beatles for their medley. They open with “Paperback Writer” with Mark on lead quickly followed by Candice with the solo for “Oh! Darling” and close with “All You Need Is Love.” You can tell they’re having fun, but definitely don’t have the chops to win it all. Nicole says it was awesome (although I felt it was a bit sarcastic) and the Beatles were large shoes to fill. Shawn says they “brought it.” Ben said Candice was amazing and they are refreshing because of their integrity. I vote for them to leave sometime during this show.
First through are the Bubs and Voices of Lee, followed by NOTA. The last ones through are The SoCals. In classy form, MAXX FACTOR leaves to Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” They had a good run but their style could only take them so far.
NOTA: Shawn says NOTA is soulful and effortless. So to challenge them, the judges give them Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” The guys have never heard of it before. It has a lot of percussion and Ben can’t wait to see what they do with it. I’ve never heard the song either, so I’m just going to see how the performance goes. There’s a lot of percussion going on in the background and David on lead, as usual. But then – surprise – Jose comes up front for a verse! Luda mouths the marrocas and I feel like these guys can do it all. Seriously, what CAN’T they do? Ben said they nailed it and loved their initial reaction. Nicole said it showcased their talent. Shawn could tell they were uncomfortable for the first time but they still did their own thing. I still see these guys in the top three.
Beelzebubs: Nicole says they are fun and playful. So what do they get? The most fun bar sing-along song, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” However, Ben reminds us that at the end of the day – and the competition – it’s all about making a record. They want to make sure they make this is a good a cappella song more so than a sing-along song (but you know they’ll do both). We have a new Bub on lead – Penn – and he’s just a great as the others. They start off slow and stay calm but throw in a bit of their Bub-style. Penn brings roses to Nicole for brownie points and they end with the song becoming a bit sing-alongy. Okay, how much are tickets to see them perform? I want front row right now! Nicole wonders if there’s a cult where they breed Bubs, all cute and talented. She loves them all (as do I!). Ben gives props to the maturity of the group for this song. Shawn says he can hear it as a record. After this performance, I 100% call the Bubs to win the entire competition. If I’m wrong, well, I don’t what I’ll do. Maybe a letter of apology to the winner or something, but seriously, I don’t see how any of the other groups can beat these guys.
The SoCals: Nicole likes the musical theatre side The SoCals bring to the competition. They are given “Hazy Shade of Winter” by the Bangles because it tells a story and they could break it down. Another song I have never heard, so I just have to go by what they give me. The girls do a three-part harmony for the lead and I enjoy it. Lots of percussion in the background. Ben says the song got lost (I agree – I have no idea what it’s about…). Shawn likes that they are taking chances but didn’t seem impressed with the arrangement although he was impressed with Brian on bass. Nicole says something nice like usual. UH OH – I’m scared they just lost the competition. 🙁
Voices of Lee: Nicole likes their big, beautiful, soulful sound and they are given Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Ben says it has a good message which is why he thinks it’s a good choice for them. The group wants to make sure no one goes one-on-one in comparison with MJ. Mark opens up the song on lead and it sounds nice, but before I can even finish my sentence, that’s over and everyone is taking turns singing and then the whole group is singing as one. Shawn calls it an “interesting” arrangement, and “Man in the Mirror” is one of his favorite songs and he didn’t get the effect of the song from them. They brought the sound but not the feeling – and Nicole agrees. She would’ve liked to have seen Mark continue the lead. Ben disagrees with the other two because he doesn’t really know the MJ version and said he was moved by their performance. Shawn and Ben debate a bit (which is a bit uncomfortable to watch but I like it a bit). Ben looks at it more from a technical view than a feeling view.
The judges final three are: Beelzebubs, NOTA and Voices of Lee. Seriously?! I would’ve put money on The SoCals being in the finale. It’s a good thing I don’t gamble. They leave the stage singing “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake. I love these guys. I can’t wait to see Danny in Rent. Oh wait, that’s just a dream I had last night. 🙂
So now the fans will vote and choose the winner to be announced at the finale. What’s so special about this finale? Check out the lineup: Bobby McFerrin, Natasha Bedingfield and Smokey Robinson, as well as judges Ben Folds and Nicole Sherzinger joining the groups and Shawn Stockman bringing his fellow band-mates from Boyz II Men to take the stage.
Well that’s it. The competition is over. Who do you think will win? Is your favorite group still in the running? Leave your two cents below! And don’t forget to vote for your favorite group at http://www.nbc.com/sing-off/index.shtml.