Monday, December 06, 2010

After a long break

Yeah, I'm back after a bunch of slacking. I skipped blogging DWTS because I broke up with the show. But I'm back for the Sing-off. I'll fill you in on the various boring things going on in my life as this show and Idol unfolds.

First up is Eleventh Hour, a Glee-like assemblage of high schoolers. They were okay, especially for going first. At least "America" won't have a chance to hold that against them. It's too bad I can't stand their song. Overall, I liked them. Ben has nice things to say, Shawn is kind of patronising.

I'm so glad this show is back. It was the highlight of my reality season last year. Can you believe that the Beelzebub's rendition of "Magical Mystery Tour" is still at the top of my iPod's playlist.

On the Rocks is from Oregon and apparently people on YouTube like them. Probably not as much as the Boone County Ninja, though. I'm not fond of this song either, and I have a hard time taking 15 guys singing Lady Gaga seriously. They were entertaining, if a little creepy. Did Ben just use the word "pitchy"? I thought Harry Connick, Jr. educated everyone that "pitchy" isn't a word. Shame on you, Ben!

Going in the three-hole is Groove For Thought from Seattle. I like they don't seem like semi-professionals as some of the groups are on this show. I like their jazzy sound that's not as overpowering as we've heard o this show before. They remind me a lot of Manhattan Transfer, which is good. Their harmonies are solid and they don't spend too much energy on non-singing performance.

The funniest name of the night is Pitch Slapped from Berklee (not Cal) College. They're entertaining and technically solid, but there's just too much going on. This reminds me of the over-produced second album that an artist releases after their small-budget and critically acclaimed debut. The female lead is über-hawt. The "pretty pitches" line was very funny.

Wrapping up the first half of the show is Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town. Unlike last year's token AARP group, they're not boxed into the barbourshop genre. Plus, they're really good, in the tradition of a 50s do-wop group. They don't waste time dancing or distracting us with shirt skirts; they just sing. I don't think they'll win because they will probably sound the same every week, but in a pure singing competition, I think they'd wipe the floor with the other nine groups of kids. It seems a little unfair that they're allowed to compete, since Jerry is a professional a cappella singer.

What I like about the Sing-Off is that the judges actually get to judge. They don't leave things up to "America", so there are no Bristol Palins or Sanjayas hanging around because they have a "compelling" sob story, the VFTW crowd or they got a lot of face time when others got Melinda Liara'd. I also appreciate that on this show the judges often get it right.

After the first half of singing, they're going to eliminate one group. It's kind of crappy to get kicked to the curb after only 1 performance, but that's how these shows go, right? I would have actually liked all five of these groups to be moved on since they were all pretty good (some better than others).

After a short deliberation, the first group to get canned is Pitched Slapped. And they get to sing their way out with "Kiss Him Good-bye". I'm going to miss their überhawtness.

Carrying on the New England elite university tradition are the Whiffenpoofs, who have been around at Yale since forever. I'm sure they'll be good, but while the Beelzebubs were fun, they seem stuffy. . . . And they are. Technically, they're always on-pitch. And very gay. I didn't care for it.

Men of Note are from New Jersey, but I won't hold it against them. They like to pick up girls with their singing. They bring us one of the few a capella songs I can remember hitting the pop charts. Like the Whiffenpoofs, they do away with the mouth drums and just sing. They lack the polish of some of the other groups, but that's kind of refreshing. They get some tough, but constructive, criticism. I think they're only 50/50 to make it until next week.

Next up is Street Corner Symphony, which reminds me of last year's first-related group, Face. It's a shame they didn't go in the first round, so Pitch Slapped's hawtness could have been kept around for another week. Their performance song is better than anything that was in their introduction short. Their very "breathy", but at least they're not oversinging. Not great. Not awful.

In the nine-slot are The Backbeats can pick up where the SoCals left off last year. In fact, they picked up someone from the SoCals and another girl from Noteworthy, which seems a little disengenuous, but if the show lets them, more power to 'em. At least they'll know what to expect. The lead singer shouldn't try to sing bass. She's no Beyonce (but then again, who is?). They've also got a lot going on. It's good that they're going in a heat against people who are inferior. I think if they were in the first group, they would have been eliminated.

Over on ESPN, the Pats are kicking the crap out of the Jets.

Wrapping up the show are Committed, a group of 6 guys who sing gospel music. Like JL&TOTT, they have a very stripped-down basic sound, which is good. It's too bad I don't like this song. They sound more Boyz II Men than gospel, which might not be a good move in the long run. I like that there aren't 30 people on stage all trying to be the #1 voice (cough . . . Backbeats . . . cough). I think they'll survive this show, but will probably be eliminated on Wednesday. The final harmony was fantastic.

Shawn says this show is the best show of pure, unadulterated talent, and he's right. It's much better as a singing competition than Idol has ever been.

There's another short deliberation and Men of Note get the axe. They're not who I would have picked, but they didn't have a chance at winning.

My rankings for the night--in honour of our friend Jennifer--from worst to first:

The Whiffenpoofs, "Grace Kelly"
The Backbeats, "If I Were a Boy"
On the Rocks, "Bad Romance"
Pitch Slapped, "Good Girls Go Bad" (eliminated)
Street Corner Symphony, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Men of Note, "For the Longest Time" (eliminated)
Eleventh Hour, "Baby"
Committed, "This Love"
Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town, "Save the Last Dance For Me"
Groove for Thought, "I Wish"

At a couple of points in the show, I was wondering if I was hearing the same show as the judges. But I think overall, the right groups got eliminated.

I'll be back on Wednesday night for more of The Sing-Off.