Friday, December 17, 2010

Vote for Your Favorite Sing-Off Group!

Wednesday December 15's episode of the Sing-Off was split into two parts. In the first segment, Round 4, each group performed a medley of songs from one artist, utilizing at least two lead vocalists. Although I felt that On the Rocks gave one of the most entertaining performances of an Elton John medley, they were eliminated by the judges. The four remaining groups proceeded to Round 5 and performed a song picked for them by the judges.

In Round 5, rather than eliminate a group as planned, all four groups were pushed through to the public voting round, so that all have the possibility of winning the grand prize: a SONY recording contract plus $100,000. To vote for your favorite band, call the phone number below their name. Voting closes on Sunday morning at 9 AM, EST (Orlando time).

When voting for your favorite, I always use the "would I buy a C.D from this group for $10?" test. If the answer is "yes," then ask yourself, "would I pay $35 to see this group perform?" If you cannot answer yes to both, perhaps the group you're voting for isn't the right group to win the competition. This isn't a popularity contest – its business.

Here's my thoughts on Wednesday night's show.

Text 1 to number 97979

Medley: Songs by Usher
Judges review of their performance

Committed performed an extraordinary Usher medley, opening with "DJ Got Us Falling in Love." The lead singer was backed by a mixture of harmonic vocals, a hot emulated "wow-wow-wow" guitar part, and what seemed like a perfectly matched doubling of the lead. However, the backup vocalists made the song in my opinion, with a funky bass beat. Their second song, "You Got It Bad," was intensely romantic and the third, "Love in This Club," which I hear played at the beginning of every Orlando Magic game, added a soft "ch-ch" percussive sound. What I loved the most about their arrangements is that they seemed to improve on the songs. It was ear candy. Judge Ben Folds called it "harmonic badass" and Judge Shawn Stockman said, "The transitions were so sick!"

Judges' Choice: "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green
Judges' review of their performance

Committed utilized each and every member of their six member group by trading leads, showing that "there isn't a weak link amongst them," noted my friend Geoff who watched with me. Each person sang one line while everyone else sang a simple harmonic background rhythm. The transition was seamless and as smooth as silk.

Text 2 to number 97979

Medley: Songs by The Beatles
Judges review of their performance

Street Corner Symphony performed a medley of "Eleanor Rigby," "Help," and "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, showcasing their beautifully cascading harmonies, pleasant arrangements, and excellent lead vocals. Each of the first two songs were performed flawlessly, with "Help" being the more phenomenal of the three. However, the arrangements were not as stellar as usual. The transitions between songs seemed rocky, if you could even call them transitions. After singing "Help," they simply stopped singing dead in their 'tracks', and started up again with "Hey Jude." "Hey Jude" was the only song which didn't soar, since the song climaxed in the middle, and sadly petered out on their final notes. To me, their song choice was a little odd. "Eleanor Rigby" is a dark and moody song, while "Help" is upbeat, and "Hey Jude" is a very sad song indeed. "Help" being the best of their performances, should have been combined with two happier bits, and God knows, the Beatles wrote tons of those.

Judges choice: "Down on the Corner" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Judges review of their performance

Street Corner Symphony's performance of "Down on the Corner" by CCR was brilliantly arranged. The first verse started off beautifully and built slightly, soared into full harmony during the chorus, then quieted down again for the next verse – a dynamic arrangement. Perhaps their most spectacular moment was when they surprised the audience by performing a break down where they incorporated the name of their group: Down on the Street Corner Symphony. The ending finale blew me away – it really rocked.

My only nit picky criticism is that the backup vocals were a wee bit too loud during parts of the verses.

Text 3 to number 97979

Medley: Songs by Lady Gaga
Judges review of their performance

It's probably no surprise that TVgrrrrl is a giant Lady Gaga fan. Gaga's got pipes, writes her own songs, and plays an instrument (shock) – very well, I might add. I was extremely disappointed with The Backbeat's performance and I'm not sure what happened. They started off on the wrong foot, singing too fast, and having Kelley, one of their sopranos attempt to sing the lead on "Poker Face." I'm sure she must have been awesome, but we at home could barely hear her as she was drowned out by the male backups until she hit the higher notes in the chorus. Plus, the vocals were slightly out of sync, making it sound a bit messy. I would have liked to have heard the lower parts, the verses, sung by one of the many male leads. Just because Lady Gaga is a woman doesn't mean a guy can't sing the part. The transition was wonderful into the ballad "Paparazzi," sung by their most powerful female lead, Joanna, a contralto. Backed by their rich blend of backup vocalists, it really was the highlight of their performance. Their final song, "Just Dance," was a complete mess and fell apart, was performed too fast, with the backup singers once again singing too loud, not performing in sync, and drowning out the lead in places. One bright spot is their arrangements were good, just poorly executed.

Judges choice: "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac
Judges review of their performance

Ballads are where the Backbeats shine, and the judges thoughtfully chose a song which could be sung best by a female lead with a lower range. The beginning was beautiful with Joanna singing lead while the backups danced vocally behind her, each performing slightly different parts, which when melded together, created a vocal symphony. Judge Shawn Stockman said, "I saw the sound... It was that beautiful." Judge Ben Folds said, "Emotionally, you delivered it."

Text 4 to number 97979

Medley: Songs by Otis Redding
Judges review of their performance

When Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town performed a medley of songs by Otis Redding, it was awesome, like watching the pros perform at a concert, or as my friend Geoff noted, "It's like going back to the Apollo in the '60s." Their performance of "Dock of the Bay," was seamless and emotionally heartfelt. They followed with "Try a Little Tenderness," utilizing Paul on lead, to great success as the backup singers' "ba ba ba bop's" climbed perfectly up the scale, occasionally screaming out the words for emphasis, and entertaining everyone's derriere's off. Their third song, "Respect," was well sung and meaningfully portrayed. Judge Nicole Scherzinger noted, "I think that it was very fitting that you all ended with 'Respect,' because I think it kind of represents your journey on this show and in your lives. And I think it's just wonderful to be able to watch you all finally get the respect and the acknowledgement that you deserve."

Judges choice: House of the Rising Sun by the Animals
Judges review of their performance

"House of the Rising Sun" was by far the best and most moving performance of the night, excelling in phenomenal vocal arrangement. The judges told the audience that they had purposely attempted to get Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town out of their comfort zone by assigning something different from what they usually performed. Undaunted, the veteran a cappella group created a uniquely interesting and complex arrangement of this old classic, which can seem monotonous when performed in the traditional way since the melody repeats throughout in consecutive verses with no real chorus.

Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town performed four verses. For the first verse, the backup vocalists ooo'd throughout, slowly introducing a bass beat, then an echo. For the second verse, the backups created an "arpeggio" behind the lead. (I learned this term from Judge Ben Folds and had to look it up -- it means broken chords, where you play the notes in a chord as individual notes). The third verse was the most spectacular. While Jerry vamped the lines, "Mothers, tell your children, Not to do what I have done. Well, well. Don't live your life in sin and in misery in the house of the rise, rising sun," the backups sang each line of "Amazing Grace" behind him, managing to blend into the background, creating a thought provoking arrangement. For the fourth verse, the group brought the arrangement back full circle, with the backups once again singing a vocal wall of sound of "Ahhh's" and echos behind the lead, finally coming together for impact on the last phrase, "And God, I know I'm one."


No comments:

Post a Comment

What's your opinion?