The Sing-Off Episode 2: Who Was Your Fave?

You’ve got to hand it to Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, and Shawn Stockman: Where most reality-show judges wouldn’t be able to resist the backstory potential of a group of Liberian refugees living in Minnesota or a high-school glee club from small town Oregon, The Sing-Off‘s panelists always put talent first in their decision-making process. And thus, in Week 2 of competition — featuring the eight a capella acts in Group 2 — we lost Messiah’s Men and Soul’d Out, heartwarming tales of overcoming the obstacles be damned.

That said, while Messiah’s Men were the obvious choice for eviction among the evening’s first four acts, I thought Soul’d Out was marginally less of a mess than Nashville’s The Collective when it came to the second set of four groups. Shawn praised the “quivering alto” of the latter act’s lead singer as rich, thick, and full of depth, but I’d have gone with tremulous, unsteady, and borderline unpleasant — and the cacophony of voices behind her never once gelled on “Rolling in the Deep,” a song that may need a vacation from the world of televised singing competitions. Luckily for The Collective, though, they landed in what was easily the weakest of the four Season 3 brackets: Really, did the Deltones’ nervous “Feels Like Home” or North Shore’s perfectly fine “Runaround Sue” make you feel like you were hearing from the show’s eventual champ?

Nope, for me, the episode’s strength came from the opening hour. Sonos’ “Wicked Game” was perhaps more interesting than excellent, but you can’t fault ’em for lack of originality. (Anyone wish they’d thrown in a line from “Toxic,” which they sang in their pre-performance package, during their live performance? “No I don’t wanna fall in love…don’t you know that you’re toxic?“) And the clearly commercial Pentatonix did the impossible by stopping me from hitting the mute button for Katy Perry’s loathsome “E.T.”

Still, for me, no one was quite able to top the evening’s opening act, the Dartmouth Aires (pictured), whose scorching cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” featured a gravely good lead vocal, winning dynamics on the bridge, and a sense of rhythm that pulsated from beginning to end. As Sara noted, the Ivy League fellas displayed a “wonderful marriage of physicality and breath control.” I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re among the last acts standing.

What do you think? Take our poll and tell us which of Week 2’s remaining acts was your fave, then hit the comments to justify your vote. And for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Denise says:

    Glad you are recapping this show! I really enjoy this show!

    I think Episode 1 had more talent. Last week I downloaded the Yellowjackets song from itunes and Delilah was great. This week I don’t really have a strong feeling for any of them. I did like the first act.

  2. Davey says:

    Pentatonix were my faves though Dartmouth won the fashion prize.

  3. Corinne says:

    I agree completely with the review for The Collective. She started off ok, but by the 2nd verse her voice was getting on my nerves and I couldn’t help but wonder why with so many soloists in the group, should she really be heading them up? Pentatonix was amazing to me, I never though I could enjoy a Katy Perry song so much.

    • Liz says:

      Totally agree. They pointed out that the chorus should have swelled and it didn’t while placing the blame on the background, but I think that should have been placed on the lead singer. While I did like the roughness of her voice, I didn’t think she had the power to continue with the rest of the song.

      Liked Dartmouth and Pentatonix for this episode, but definitely have to give the edge to the groups from the first episode. Many of those songs have been in my Sing Off rotation on Spotify :)

  4. Taylor says:

    I thought the Dartmouth Aires did well, I just didn’t get chills from it. None of the groups last night really had the spark we saw in most of last week’s groups.
    Loved Pentatonix!! I really hope they do Telephone or Sweet Dreams next time they’re on. Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie did them both as a trio, and they was AMAZING!
    Sonos really impressed me, but I was hoping to see White Winter Hymnal from them.
    Deltones and North Shore were good. VERY disappointed by The Collective. I think they’d do better if they picked a country song.

  5. Ian says:

    Totally agreed with Slezak. The Collective was a hot mess with an actively unpleasant lead singer, and I was almost horrified when they were put through instead of Soul’d Out, who at least showed some really lush harmonies before breaking down.

    Pentatonix gets a prize just for making me enjoy that awful Katy Perry song.

    I really enjoyed Sonos, although they were better in the clips with the effects pedals. That was actually kind of innovative, I’m going to have to track down their old albums.

  6. John says:

    I’m with everyone else that last week’s groups were much more engaging and polished. Sonos intrigued me the most, but I really enjoyed Pentatonix and Deltones. Honestly, Dartmouth Aires didn’t do it for me…just felt too over the top.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Definitely Pentatonix! I can’t stand that song but I would listen to their version anyday!

  8. NanCeE* says:

    So I’m the only one who didn’t hate The Collective? Haha. Listen, the lead singer lost air in the last half of the song, and the whole thing was a bit off, but I like the idea of these independent musicians coming together. I think they could come up with something really special (kind of like I thought Haley Reinhart could be interesting in the long run), but we’ll see if they pull it together. I liked Sonos, too. Can’t wait for next week!

    • William says:

      “I like the idea of these independent musicians coming together” is fine and dandy but that fact that they absolutely stunk up the place tends to sink the “idea” of it.

  9. Dana says:

    Pentatonix were awesome!!! They stuck out to me in the opening number, and then from the very first note of their performance they had me hooked! I loathe Katy Perry and I still thoroughly enjoyed that performance. The lead singer is amazing and the beats were just unbelievable. Awesome group. My favorite in the competition so far (Delilah is a close second)!

  10. ASL says:

    Definitely the Dartmouth Aires!!! The lead was amazing, the energy and dynamics carried through really well all the way to the end. And they had style! I think some people don’t like their back-story very much, after all it’s hard to empathize with Ivy Leaguers. And they put them down for that. But the Aires were technically excellent, definitely the most engaging, the most fun to watch, and they deserve credit for that.

  11. Brittany B says:

    Who saw (and loved) episode 3 tonight? I couldn’t resist; I headed straight over to iTunes immediately after to download all my fave. tracks :) too good!

  12. Rusty says:

    I wish you would continue with recapping this show, Michael. Your recaps make watching these shows so much more fun, and your opinion is missed when you’re not around. At least continue watching for the judging–it may give you some encouragement and a nice break before you have to start listening to the eighth millionth “In it to win it” or “beautiful” critique. Just my suggestion.