Before I get started, I’d like to congratulate all four-and-a-half million of you who were able to figure out the answer to the the burning question:
“Wait, when is The Sing-Off on again?”
In an attempt to answer numerous questions regarding why the format was changed for episodes 3 and 4, I did a little mind reading and came up with the following:
It makes the competition a little stiffer. Think about it: half of the groups on the episode had to battle, which makes for good entertainment.
Two-hour episodes are long… This is ‘Murica, ain’t nobody got time for that three nights a week.
Mark Burnett said so.
To the music:
If you didn’t notice, the show opened with the first ballad of the season, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” I had never heard it to be perfectly honest, and I still can’t stand the original to this day, so kudos to us for making that bearable.
I personally remember this as the first time that we as performers came together as an individual ensemble, not just different groups singing on stage together. Now I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy doing the whole flock of different soloists from each group stepping out to show just how many riffs can embellish a melody! I just needed a little vanilla in my life. (Albeit, we still riffed a bit too.)
The theme for the episode was ingeniously labeled #1 Hits. Now, I’m not saying I don’t like singing popular songs, but I try and stray from the most popular songs of all time when I select music. Why you ask? Because chances are, if it was a #1 song on the charts, it’s hard to make it any better than it was in the first place.
Take our pals Pentatonix for instance. The majority of songs they choose to cover are close to being on “top of the chart” but not quite there. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’m pretty sure most of their YouTube videos hit a million views before they finish fully uploading, so it’s safe to say they’re doing something right.
I’ll give you an extremely brief description on my personal feelings of each group’s number, and then we’ll move on to things I actually have real concrete information about.
TEN: You’re insane, I don’t know how you do it, just keep doing it.
Street Corner Renaissance:You have more class and swagger than I knew was possible. The ‘Kats learned a ton from you and Cee-Lo could even take some notes.
Last seen, we were up for a cappella execution, and none of us really wanted to go back to college on time, so we figured we might start putting in a little extra effort this time around. This episode was obviously approached a little differently by the ‘Kats. We went back to our roots and decided to show what we do best: choral music.
For the ladies who are in love with Ross Hill’svoice, he’s had the same girlfriend for about half his life, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up. However, window-shopping is still legal in Kentucky, so don’t be completely discouraged.
For those of you who might have gone to the bathroom or fell sleep or didn’t watch the episode completely, you might not have noticed that part about Mike getting down on one knee in front of America.
As precious and emotional as that particular moment was, there was some serious planning that had to go into that very special moment and a lot of back story you might not have caught, so here goes my personal recapitulation.
Mike Owens wanted to ask his girlfriend, Maggie Blair (or Margaret Augusta Blair because that’s how a gentleman says it) to marry him for months prior to this moment. When he found out we had made the show however, he got the idea that maybe he should wait for just the right moment.
Side note: Maggie and Mike met while she was in charge of the female a cappella group at UK Paws and Listen. (Yeah, I know, we’re really good with the puns in Kentucky.)
When the group decided we were going ahead with “Amazed,” the first ballad/love song an individual group had performed this season, Mike brought up the idea to the group, and I don’t think I have to tell you just how excited to we were to have a bachelor party help out!
But here’s the thing: this is television. You don’t just get to insert proposals because it’s a cute idea. Mike didn’t officially have clearance to pop the question until two days before the recording. I haven’t crossed the “I’m going to ask my girlfriend to marry me” bridge in my life yet, but I’m assuming it’s not exactly a casual decision. And moreover, I’m sure the “this may or may not even happen” thing didn’t help.
Not to mention the following obstacles:
He didn’t have the ring in L.A.
He didn’t have any actual confirmation she could even make it to L.A. for the show.
The ‘Kats fumbled through 5 completely different arrangements and almost had to change the song because fitting a ballad into a minute and 40 seconds, is not easy.
That being said, we figured it out. (You’re welcome, big fella.)
So while normal rehearsal days were in full force, I went with Mike to the nearest Tiffany & Co. in Santa Monica (yes, Mike is actually perfect), where he bought the ring he had already picked out months before.
I’d love to say the sole reason I went with him was to support him in one of the biggest moments of his life, but honestly, I was really sick of rehearsing, needed a haircut, and hadn’t been to the beach yet… so I killed a few birds with this stone. (See what I did there?)
Mike approached me in one of the rehearsals before the performance and asked me if I wouldn’t mind learning the bass line for the last section, just in case he got caught up in the moment and couldn’t sing the last few notes. (Crying and singing bass is actually impossible — try it sometime.)
The day of performance we could all tell he was nervous, and if you know Mike at all… you would be nervous for him, too. Fully grown red-headed basses aren’t exactly known for an abundance of swagger.
However, right after we finished our warm-up routine of running around acting like complete idiots backstage, he came up to me and looked me dead in the eye and said, “Hey man, don’t worry about singing my part at the end. I’ve got this.” And he was right.
As far as I’m concerned the song and proposal were emotionally beautiful, and there isn’t a single thing I would change.
Since the entire show is prerecorded, and we couldn’t talk about any details, Mike and Maggie have since been hiding the engagement from all of their friends until the episode aired. So, you can imagine, Thursday was quite the surprise for many people.
If you haven’t already found your way to iTunes to buy the music from the show, please do so now! Needless to say, after Sony, NBC, publishers and iTunes take their cut and hand us the last 24 cents or so to split 12 ways, we’re all well on our way to paying off that college debt. Seriously though… we appreciate the support, and we wouldn’t be here without you all, so thanks for buying.
As always, it’s a pleasure to let you all in what goes on behind every performance. I’ll be sitting in the box on Monday, but I promise you DO NOT want to miss this throw down.
Not to brag on my season (no wait, completely bragging), but if the Princeton Footnotes were the lowest mark on our totem pole, we’ve got quite the season to look forward to. Adam Hyndman and Josh Lavinecarried a talented crew to an impressive appearance that is undoubtedly helping the Footnotes stay booked for the foreseeable future over on the East Coast.
Since we’re on the topic of talent, and I’m writing the blog, here are a few opinions on what I loved watching last night. Starting at the top: Vocal Rush.
You know what was wrong with Vocal Rush last night? NOTHING.
Does everyone understand the average age in that group is like 17 years old or something…? I’m trying to remember what I was doing at 17, and the only things I can recall would assuredly give my mother heart palpitations, so just use your imagination.
Jordan Holly is going to be a star, so if you haven’t become her fan by now, do it before she’s too famous to pretend like she cares if you follow her. I don’t remember the comments about them from the judges, because I didn’t care, something about rushing… I stopped listening when Kyana Fanene (VP) served face for the world. I knew they weren’t going anywhere.
Shout out to all the moms who raised this group of young stars: YOU DID WELL.
Let’s chat briefly about this whole phenomenon accurately titled “Bass in My Butt.”
Be as it may, I used to sing low bass before I had a double tonsil/adenoidectomy a few years ago and my range shot up a fifth overnight. (Also the worst 2 weeks of my life; I’ll choose death if they grow back.)
If anyone out there is wondering, Tim is not a bass. Tim is also not a baritone or a tenor. Tim is a gift from God himself to bless the world with his own category. Let it be known: Mr. Foust can drop bombs that will blow any cannon out of the water, and he looks great doing it too. The only thing more sizable than Tim’s talent is the humility in his response to Jewel’s inquiry.
Speaking of things that God has sent from above this season: TEN.
The Kats’ best friends from the show by far were these 10 soulful musicians. Let me point out something that personally wasn’t articulated quite enough on the show last night: That was their first performance together folks. WHET?! Do y’all understand how hard a cappella is? You should, it sucks. Honestly I’ve hung out with these swangers for quite sometime now and Ben Folds nailed it, if I could sing like that, you would NEVER shut me up (Stop, I heard that.). Chelsea “Peaches” West and Deonis Cook have put together something that will undoubtedly go down in history as a musical breakthrough.
So now that I’ve chatted about a few of the the first nine opening acts, (I’m only serious people) The acoUstiKats:
If anyone is planning on waking me up from this dream I’m currently living, don’t.
If you didn’t catch their names, Ron Wilbur (@itsaRONsworth) and Ross Hill (@rosschill) put their stamp on what is the beginning of the newest legacy in Sing-Off history. No collegiate crew has taken the gold home before on this stage, but I promise you, we didn’t come to Los Angeles for second place. If you haven’t had the chance to catch up on your Kentucky history by now, we’re good at hanging banners, why stop with basketball?
On a more humble and realistic note, however, that minute and a half helped form a bond with eleven other guys that I will never forget. If we had gone home last night, we would have been completely satisfied and fulfilled because we went on the stage and did exactly what the acoUstiKats have always been known for: Bringing the party to you.
A few quick shout-outs to some people who, if you get a chance in the next day to YouTube and enjoy their background careers: Honey Larochelle, VJ Rosales, and Craig (Range) Cacciola. I would talk about their individual groups, but no one likes to read novels and — I promise you — they’ll get their moments on Wednesday night!
Thanks for reading and, as always, let me know if you have any particular questions, and I will make sure and include them in the next addition after Episode 2!
Oh… and I’m on lead next episode — want a preview? 😉
Is everyone as excited as we are about the upcoming Season 4 of The Sing-Off or what?! For those of you who don’t know, The Sing-Off is a reality show competition for a cappella singing groups, and it’s kind of been in limbo since Pentatonix won Season 3 in 2011. But this December, it’s BAAACCKK!
Enjoy the Princeton Footnotes performing Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” —
6. HOME FREE
Home Free was formed in 2000 by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp. Billed as the world’s first country a cappella group, Home Free also comes to The Sing-Off as the only full-time, professional group in the competition.
The Street Corner Renaissance EPK is kind of fun to use to get to know them better —
10 professional singers in the music business from Dallas who got together for the show. Why the name Ten (besides the obvious)? According to the group, “The number 10 means completion and perfection of God’s divine order.” Having seen them perform, we say: “Awesome gospel vibe.”
9. VOCAL RUSH
We’ve been fans of Vocal Rush pretty much since they started in 2011. Based out of the Oakland School for the Arts (California), these high school students (!) have been the ICHSA (International Championship of High School A Cappella) champs the past two years they’ve been in existence. Go buy their debut EP, The Beginning, and do it now.