10:09pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Sing-Off': Dartmouth Aires and North Shore Hold Their Own
The second group of contestants hit the chopping block on Monday’s episode of NBC’s The Sing-Off with their own takes on today’s radio hits and 60s classics. The judges were extremely critical of the groups when it came to pitch issues. There were two groups, though, that kept in tune with the judges while the others struggled.
I can’t say that I loved the Dartmouth Aires’ brand of frat-capella at first. But, they won me over this week. The energy level on their radio hit, “Animal” by Neon Trees, was infectious. Their lead singer was nervous about the performance, but I thought he pretty much hit it out of the ballpark. Shawn felt it was a perfect song choice for them and that they exemplified youthful energy.
When it came to the 60s, they once again brought the requisite energy to The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” from the musical Tommy. The choreography was dynamic and really utilized their numbers well. While the judges thought there were some pitch issues, they were willing to overlook them for what they believed was an “exciting” and “inspiring” performance.
North Shore also showed the kids they could hang when they sang a version of Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song.” I still can’t believe how quickly their lead singer switched from whistling to singing. Sarah Bareilles just fell for the group, saying, “Give me more” and “You’re so lovable.” And Ben Folds said that he couldn’t find anything wrong with their performance.
The guys were happy to do the 60s performance as they’re the only ones in the competition who actually lived in the era. They sang “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers and once again it was tough to pick apart the performance. Shawn Stockman and the audience gave it a standing ovation. Ben found some pitch problems (but that's the story of night), but said that was just him trying to find something wrong with an otherwise perfect performance.
In the bottom two stood The Collective and Sonos. The two groups have something in common. They’re both outside of their comfort zones in this competition. The Collective formed for the expressed purpose of being on the show. As solo artists, they’re strong individually. But, the group dynamic needed to win this competition is something they’re still struggling to find.
On their radio hit, “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement, the judges felt they had improved on their blend, but Shawn felt their rhythm was off. On their 60s song, “Hold On, I’m Comin’” by Sam and Dave, Ben told them that he felt they were holding back and should have come out stronger from the top of the song.
On the other hand, Sonos has the group dynamic down. The problem is they're accustomed to using pedals to provide the voices they’re missing. As a small group that lacks a true bass voice and full sound, they sound thin in this context. They impressed the judges with their take on Coldplay’s “Vida La Vida” with the women filling in on the male voices they’re missing at times.
It was in their 60s performance on Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” where they fell flat. I enjoyed their stripped down take on the song, but it didn’t register with the judges. Ben and Shawn didn’t think the arrangement worked while Sara said she liked it, but felt they should have included more from the original song as a respectful nod.
Frankly, the decision on who would go wasn’t a tough one in my opinion. Sonos’ style just wasn’t a fit for this competition and they struggled without the crutch of their pedals. So, the group sang their swan song. It just happened to be Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” which made the departure tough for Shawn to watch.
Did you think it was Sonos’ time to go or was there another group you would have sent packing? Tell us in the comments section below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro