Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DO NOT TAUNT THE ANGRY LOOKING WHIFFENPOOF. OR THE ONE WHO LOOKS LIKE YOUNG HODGMAN:  Ah, yes.  "Modern" (or Buble) songs done a capella tonight on The Sing-Off, with one easy and one surprising elimination.  Full discussion below the fold.

[Also, wow: Kathy Bates' new show lets her litigate against a two-armed Rocket Romano?  Awesome.]

Whiffen... POOF!   Yeah, that was a bit of a shocker, but, really they weren't going to win this -- and as I always say with Idol, it's important not to sweat the order of the early eliminations as long as the ones worthy of winning the whole competition are around towards the end.  What the Whiffs were doing just wasn't that interesting, and this may have been their worst day since the "French Mistake" melee.  To me, there's only one obvious elimination remaining -- the jazzy teachers -- and from there I'm not sure where this goes.

Once again, Committed won the night for me, and once again I'm going to shut up and listen to you guys rather than play the Scherzinger on a blog full of Foldses.


  1. Dan Suitor10:50 PM

    I can't comment on the technical aspect of the singing, mostly because so much is lost not being there. The songs sound good, for the most part, but there are almost certainly sub-harmonies or other little things that get lost in the mixing or the audio fidelity of my television.

    That said, I think I'm going to be ALOTT5MA's first Sing Off hipster and say I preferred last season, at least presentation-wise. The Yale Fighting Ascots and Persuasions 2.0 stand out as different, but the rest come off as pretty same-y. At least on Season 1 there were only 8 groups, but they were far more distinct. The Beelzebubs had the 'Poof role as the mainstream perception of collegiate a capella, Nota had a Latin-culture flavor, Maxx Factor were all middle-aged women. Plus, we still had the Mormons, the Christians, the blue collar guys, and the young impressionable kids.

    Now? There's not anywhere near the dichotomy of personality. As someone who can't begin to appreciate the music at the same technical level as the other commenters, I miss the different flavors of a capella represented in Season 1.

  2. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Dan, it's not just you. Being in high school isn't different enought from being in college from being just out of college to distinguish most of these groups. That said, there's a lot of talent here, and it's not nearly as obvious who is going to win this year (I pegged Nota as the winner from the first ep last year, and it wasn't even a hard call). And at least the three 6-guy groups sound WAY different from each other.

    Neither elimination surprised me - the Whiffs can't expect to stick around on pure arrogance, and no matter how many times they say it, Buble isn't "out of the box" for them at all, especially if they're going to turn it into a dull choral anthem. They'd have been better off sticking with their first soloist all the way through - he was a much stronger singer than the other ones, and fit the material better. Not a strong outing for them. I'd have been ok if the Backbeats had gone home as well - they MUST stop yelling, and they have to stop relying on a single soloist who goes flat every time she goes into her high range. Eleventh Hour has some very talented singers and a lot of potential, but they're too young to have a fully-formed, well-rounded sound (especially in the lower register) that can compete with these other groups. They'd have a better shot in a competition like this if they added 4 more male voices to beef up the bottom of the sound. But not a one of them is going to have difficulty getting into a college group when the time comes.

    Committed won the night, as the group that (a) wasn't yelling (b) did something fun and unexpected with the arrangement, and (c) sounded awesome. I don't agreee that Groove for Thought is an obvious elimination - vocal jazz is DAMN hard, and they do a great job with those tight, weird harmonies. The thing about vocal jazz is that every singer is almost always the only one singing their note in those complex chords, and it's so easy for it to go horribly wrong - an so, so obvious when it does. To be as tight as they are on new-to-them arrangements is very impressive. And they're really versatile - they can showcase everybody at some point during the song. They're not as crowd pleasing as the goofy guys, but they killed it tonight. I ranked them #2 tonight.

    Talk of the Town will be fun to watch next week when they have to do something way outside their usual - tonight's song was squarely in their wheelhouse. It's interesting that they are clearly a lead singer and a backup group - it's not how things are usually done in a cappella these days, and the Backbeats are going to get nailed if they keep using the same soloist. But somehow, because it's clear upfront what TOTT is doing, it ceases to be a problem. I would happily watch an hour of those guys just working through an arrangement - it's like that scene in American Hot Wax where Laraine Newman teaches the doowop group how to sing her song. Magic coming together.

    Assuming the songs are chosen for them, On the Rocks got hosed. Don't make 15 white singers from Oregon rap. Please. Never again. I do not watch a cappella to see these guys talk their way through a song. They got lucky being in the bracket with 11th Hour or they'd have been gone with this song. What kills me is that these guys can probably do a fabulous job singing a song straight, but they get all bollixed up in the goofy.

    Most controversial thing I've ever said on this blog: I like "Hey Soul Sister" just fine. It ain't brilliant, but it's catchy and fun and I like to sing along with it. So there. Street Corner Symphony did a fine job with it, and the arrangement was very good. I like them, I'd buy their album. Can't WAIT to hear "Come on Eileen" next week.

    I think that's everyone. I FF'd through Nick, Shawn, and Nicole this week and [...]

  3. Marsha11:14 PM

    Dammit, that was me. Which should surprise absolutely no one.

  4. How much of this was taped in advance?  How long ago?  Are the finals even live?<span> </span>

  5. Dan Suitor11:27 PM

    I hatehatehate the previews. I understand why they're doing it ("Hey, I like that song. I will now watch the next episode of The Sing Off to see a song I like."), but I sort of liked the surprise factor in Episode 1 of not hearing the song till the group was on stage.

    As for your second question: I don't think it's cheating for them to have repeat competitors. It's not like they're stars who swapped out their supporting vehicles. The groups aren't scientifically chosen, and there's a good chance the competition aspect of the show is a total sham, so I'm not too worried about it.

  6. The shows were all taped over the summer in front of live audiences.  The final is actually live (I went last year and hope to go again this year.)

  7. JIM BELL10:16 AM

    Saw this for the first time last night. Thank you ALLOT5MA.  Thank you Adam Bonin.  Fun.  Fun. Fun.

  8. RandomRanter11:10 AM

    I agree on the preview hate.  And honestly, if you're only tuning in to see them sing "Hey, Soul Sister", I have to imagine you'll give up and channel flip anyway.
    As for the Backbeats containing prior contestants, I am okay since they aren't winners and also since last year they had a group that was newly formed just to be on the show, so it's seems in a similar vein to me.

  9. Yeah, I knew that was you. :)

    I also hate the previews of their next songs. I like knowing the theme, but I'd rather be surprised at the song. I also hate the clips of the groups practicing the song just before they go on.  I'd rather just hear it in full when they start.

    I'm really enjoying Committed and The Backbeats, and my husband is a big fan of Groove for Thought. The Oregon guys are fun to watch, but I also could have done without the rapping, which was a big ol' mess. (See, I learned such technical terms from my sister.)  

    I totally have a crush on Ben Folds now.

  10. isaac_spaceman2:33 PM

    Marsha, there was a 0.01% chance that somebody wouldn't have known that that comment was you, just because that person might have assumed it was me because of the "don't make white people rap" comment.

  11. tortoiseshelly2:50 PM

    I really liked Committed, Groove for Thought and Street Corner Symphony last night, probably in that order. I thought the Backbeats kind of miffed it, but I was fine with the Whiffenpoofs leaving. 

    Agree, Marsha, on the teaser v. Nicole jokes, though I don't mind the teasers as much as I do the pre-performance clip showcasing the same damned song the group is about to sing.

  12. Marsha3:21 PM

    I have much less problem with the clip package showcasing the upcoming song when it shows early rehearsal, as they did with Talk of the Town last night. When it shows something about their process, it's interesting to me. If it's just "let's hear a clip of the song they're about to sing" it's both pointless and annoying.

  13. Heather K10:06 PM

    I am really just blown away by the performances this year.  Just wow.  But if you are going to knock the Poofs for staying in their wheelhouse with Buble, can't you sort of apply similar logic to Talk of the Town doing that Duffy song?  It is their style it just happens to be contemporary (as is the Buble song to the Poofs).

  14. Heather K10:45 PM

    Also twitter handles for some @committed6 @kendallsmusic

  15. Heather K11:02 PM

    That was committed and the lead singer for the high schoolers

    @courtj08 is the girl beatboxer who is in backbeat and was on the mormon girl team last year

  16. Genevieve10:28 AM

    Marsha, I'll join you on liking Hey, Soul Sister just fine.  And I thought Street Corner Symphony's arrangement of it was really interesting and well done.

    Committed had my favorite arrangement of the night.  I didn't love the slightly flat falsetto on "it's too late . . . " but otherwise thought they blew it away.

    I just skip the teasers, cause yeah, they're annoying.

  17. Genevieve10:29 AM

    Yep, I'd also knock TOTT for that.  They need to try something else and see if they can do it.

  18. Marsha11:25 AM

    I did watch the previews, so I can say that it looks like at least one of their songs on Monday is pretty far outside the wheelhouse.

  19. Heather K11:33 AM

    I personally have no problem at all with people doing what they do best, even if it means they search out a song choice that technically fits the (probably lame and kind of arbitrary) theme but still lets them shine with their own technique.  Especially because half the "younger" teams will have virtually every single theme given to them on a golden plate of their own wheelhouse.

  20. Heather K11:34 AM

    Not that I don't enjoy when someone does something new and unexpected and awesome.  I just don't require.