December 23, 2010 01:00 PM by Shayla Perry
From Ben Folds‘ Blog:
Congratulations [to Committed]! These guys are top-notch musicians who take their music and their faith seriously without taking themselves too seriously. They were great sports on The Sing-Off, constantly testing themselves and pushing their boundaries. They all started out together in 2003 while attending Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m not sure what’s in the water there, but that’s where Take Six began as well. They stand a very good chance of taking off where their fellow alumni left off and placing a cappella music in the charts with all the other pop music out there.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Let’s Stay Together” (“Apologize” was close though!) Watch here.
And of course we got to hear Neil Diamond, Sheryl Crow and my bud, Sara Bareilles perform with a cappella groups. I had various opportunities to make an ass of myself tonight, including a beatbox drum solo, a bad Neil Diamond impression, and my song “Gone” from the album “Rockin’ The Suburbs.” Shawn and Nicole sang their asses off as usual with little or no effort involved.
PLUS Nine Acts That Won’t Turn into Pumpkins After Season 2
Here’s a bit about each group and their time on the show, along with links so you can follow your favorite group(s), even if they didn’t walk away with The Sing-Off Smackdown Golden Belt Award 2010. These are really all fine groups and they don’t turn into pumpkins when the season’s over – here’s to their time on The Sing-Off; it’s just the beginning (glasses clink).
Street Corner Symphony
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Down On The Corner” Watch here.
These guys made it to the finale. Although they’d played around in different configurations, all having been in plenty of bands with real instruments as well, Street Corner were essentially formed to compete on this season’s The Sing-Off and obviously aced the auditions. They are Nashville-based. I heard they had a guest singer tonight (also Nashville based), but he’s going back to his day job, so we’re all safe. Their attitude and methods aren’t that different from a rock band. I think that taking the instruments out of the picture for these guys has given them a refreshing perspective on music. I hope they hit the rock club circuit – they’ll have less heavy lifting to do than my band did when we started out…
During our commercial breaks people are encouraged to come up from the audience and grace us all with absolutely a cappella solo performances. It’s something I wish the public could see. Some are amazing and some are so bad they get ironic standing ovations. It’s a good time. Kenton Chen got a standing ovation last season but there was no irony involved there. That man can sing his ass off. So he formed a Southern California all-star a cappella group and came to take over Season 2. Some familiar faces from last season were tapped. Funny thing, the only time Kenton stepped up to sing this year, he did a Fred Schneider impression! A humble man, because he’d have been competitive as a solo artist with no accompaniment. Anyway, Backbeats carried the torch to the finale for what I’d call the conventional modern a cappella sound. They also grew as a group quite a bit during the brief five episodes.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Landslide” Watch here.
Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town
Jerry Lawson was the lead singer of the Persuasions, a legendary a cappella group that made 22 albums over their 40-year career. He came back into the spotlight with already established a cappella group Talk of the Town. These guys compliment each other well and are of the old school method of treating their live performances as if they’re records and vice versa. Check out their 20-track CD (recorded analog) “Jerry Lawson: Talk of the Town.” Never did I ever detect they were in a competition during their performances. They were simply musical and generous performances.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off (someone put this on vinyl for me?): “House of the Rising Sun”(as an extra note, I didn’t know that “House of the Rising Sun” wasn’t an Animals original. Sorry. It’s even before MY time! But a quick Google will set us all straight – Leadbelly even did it!) Watch here.
On the Rocks
From University Of Oregon, these fellows got national attention with their YouTube video of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” For such a big group they were impressively tight. Add to that they managed to stay pretty well on even when bouncing around the stage like they were on pogo sticks. I did a lot of talk about artistry with these guys. I didn’t mean they had to get all serious and bare their souls or anything! I just wanted to make sure that when we closed our eyes we were just as entertained. They stayed quite a while because… well, they’re good. I was always happy to see them featured in the all-group opening numbers this season too.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Kyrie” Watch here.
Groove for Thought
It hurt me to let this group go, but there’s a lot to consider, and it’s a testament to the quality of the talent this season that the decisions were so tough. They’re a jazz group with loads of facility, a couple star vocalists, and a beautiful blend. Peter and Amanda were two of my favorite soloists in the competition. These teachers added class (can’t keep up with Nick’s puns but I do try) and craftsmanship to this show, and I hope they keep rockin’ Seattle.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Cooler Than Me”
Whiffenpoofs of Yale
As if there are Whiffenpoofs everywhere and we need to distinguish them from the rest! These guys could have stayed longer too, but they were in a competitive block and someone had to go. Anyway, no need to bum out about it! They got some fine coverage and even tried to establish themselves as the creators of a cappella, but Shawn addressed that eloquently enough already. Anyway, they weren’t serious. They brought a school of a cappella to the show that was really refreshing and they were very rich in their sound. Totally entertaining.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Grace Kelly” Watch here.
High school! That was so impressive on every level. I did my first television when I was 27 and I did not hold myself together nearly as well as these guys and girls. They were competing on the same level with singers with twice and four times the singing experience and they held their own really well. A pleasure!
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: “Baby” Watch here.
Men of Note
When we have groups like these who are leaving in the first episode, it’s obvious that we’ve gone up a click this season. I expect to see more of these guys. They’re great singers. They certainly didn’t get sent home because they offended the ear. They were just up against some heavy groups.
Personal favorite live performance on The Sing-Off: Actually their contribution to the first night’s opening number (“I’ve Got the Music in Me”) was some of my favorite and most passionate singing of the season! Richard was killin’ it! Check out his solo in this one! Watch here.
Berklee students, great musicians. Yes, they went early and I’m a broken record – the competition was stiff and somebody had to go. Whether they stay together in this form or not after they’ve all graduated, I have a feeling these kids will be popping up in different places. I hope their experience on the show helps round off their education. I said it before in my blog, these are my people. Students of music, learning it from the inside out. Watch here.
Photo Credit: NBC