(photo credit NBC)
(SPOILER ALERT: The eliminated group is mentioned at the end.)
Opening Number: Fun.
Vocal Rush: "Gonna Make You Sweat"
I loved that girl solo vocal! My gosh! She was so on and very reminiscent of the original. I was so impressed by the vocal that I didn't really even focus on the BGVs or the arrangement. I loved what Ben said about the group being all girls except for 2 guys. They really do have a full sound for what they're working with. I am team Vocal Rush all the way.
Home Free: "Life is a Highway"
They would pick the most borderline party anthem. The thing they've got going for them is a good lead vocal. He's really strong and really on pitch. On the other hand, I'm kind of over the bass guy. In general, the arrangement felt empty to me and just had a good a cappella feeling. Not a party vibe.
Voice Play: "Play That Funky Music"
I liked their arrangement and choice of lyrics for the BGVs. They were very tight. I also loved the bridge when they did some cool 3 part stuff in front of the BGVs. I'm still not a huge fan of her solo voice, so I think that's my one hesitation with this group. She's definitely good and soulful, but there are moments when I sense uncertainty in her voice. We shall see!
Street Corner Renaissance: "Do You Love Me"
I appreciate their desire and willingness to learn something new with the beat boxing. Man, guys, I just can't get into them though. They're staying very doo-wopy and not venturing out into anything else. And as far as this song and this arrangement is concerned, it was very basic a cappella stuff. They're doing a fine job, but it's not impressive. I want to be impressed.
Element: "Raise your Glass"
Pink! My favorite artist! Ahem. Anyway, let's give it up for the bass. Gah lee. She provides such a great foundation and does it in a way where you really think you're listening to a male bass. It was a really fun arrangement and I loved their last chord. I'm definitely into them.
AcoUstiKats: "Hey Ya!"
This is a small detail, but I could've used more on the "2-3-4." Maybe at least clapping? It's such a distinguishing part of the song that I felt they needed to emphasize it. I liked some of their other sounds though. There's still an issue with rushing, which just makes it feel sloppy. I don't feel like they settle in quickly to their arrangements. I liked that cool "polaroid picture" part. I didn't love the ending. It was fun, but not solid.
Calle Sol: "Livin' La Vida Loca"
I didn't love the beginning starting out at that slow tempo. I really liked their vocal parts. They were adding in some extra notes to make some really hard/jazzy chords that aren't necessarily in the original recording. It was an ambitious arrangement all around. I know the judges weren't crazy about it, but in this competition, I'd rather have a creative arrangement with a few holes than a boring arrangement that's tight. Maybe that's not "correct" of me, but I think that's what makes this show fun, exciting, and challenging.
Ten: "Hot in Herre"
Awesome lead vocals. I do love the fact that there are several strong solo singers in this group. I mentioned how I was hesitant to give them my support in the last episode just because of that "all that" attitude that was going on in the intro video. But, musically? They're good. They're really good. I definitely agree with the judges in that they have more to give and we just haven't seen it. With that much talent and ability, there is some crazy creativity that is hiding away somewhere.
The Filharmonic: "This is How We Do It"
They had some issues with rushing the end of some measures, which made for a rocky start. The stacked chords into and out of the bridge in the middle were really great. And I loved their breakdown! I'd love to see more of that - more creativity.
I didn't really love either of the arrangements from the AcoUstiKats or Calle Sol in the sing-off. But I was really wanting to hear more from Calle Sol. I think that was a poor decision to let them go. I would've much rather have seen Street Corner Renaissance hit the road. It's really too bad. Bye, Calle Sol.
Like many of you, I compare every group to the originality, creativity, and perfection of Pentatonix. It's safe to say that none of the groups this season have yet to come close to that. But I'm trying to hear these groups with fresh ears. It's hard though.
Right now, these are my top 4:
1. Vocal Rush
4. The Filharmonic
Who are you guys loving right now?