Well, today is the beginning of the new television season and, in the past, i’ve tried to talk about the new and returning shows… this year i’m going to do things a little differently and launch my latest “live blog commentary” for the show, The Sing Off… similar to what i’ve done in the past with American Idol and maybe even replacing my Idol commentary because, frankly, i like this show better… Anyway, they’ve kicked it off with Pink’s Less Than Perfect and it was absolutely phenomenal… i’m excited for this season…

now playing: Motownphilly by Boys II Men
The Yellow Jackets are singing Wavin’ Flag from the World Cup, or Copa as it’s often called… they really are wearing yellow jackets… i think it’s kind of an obscure song for this type of competition, but it is pretty catchy and the arrangement is pretty solid… the chorus is a little loud and crowded vocally, but they did a great job on the solos and getting the crowd into it… Shawn says it was ridiculous and powerful… Ben liked the group effort and the chorus, but the tempo fluctuated a little, and Sara sees a special and unique brotherhood, she enjoyed their spirit, but wanted a counterpoint to the arrangement… maybe… she’s new and unsure…

The Fannin Family sings Who Says and yes, they are all brothers and sisters… eight of the eleven total kids in their family… they harmonize well, but the solos are a little on the shaky side for my tastes and the performance is very, very mellow which keeps the audience from getting into it… it was alright, but paled to the first performance… Ben says they’re lucky to grow up singing together, but it limits their range… a fine, first delivery… Sara was sucked into the 14 year old Maria who sang the lead… she loved the message and the wholesome innocence of the group… Shawn continues to encourage Maria, good performance overall despite some quirks…

Afro-Blue tackles Put Your Record On originally by Corrine Bailey Rae… and i wanna say that once again, i’m more drawn in by the background vocals than by the lead, but this isn’t so bad, really… it’s a nice fit for the tune and i like the arrangement… it’s a very good blend of sounds and i really dug the breakdown there leading up to the ending… Ben says they made some jazz things sound really good and he loved their sound… Sara says they are all attractive and they sound good, too… she looks forward to everything else they bring… Shawn says it was classy, stylish, and effortless, like warm butter on grits, sliding around the stage…

the girl power of Delilah decides to re-spin a Bruno Mars hit, Grenade… a little background, all these girls have lost before on this show as part of other groups… i can’t say that i’m a big fan of this arrangement, very slow and dreary… and the all female range makes it less dynamic… i’m just not that impressed… Sara says they were great and girl power rules and she’s very proud of them… Shawn shines the spotlight on Amy (lead) and says it was passionate, sexy, and he loved it… Ben said they delivered the song well and they made him write a lot of notes, all positive…

and now comes the first elimination… of those four groups, i’m guessing it has to be the Fannin Family… they just didn’t have the oomph of the other groups… i’d rank the rest (worst to first) as Delilah, The Yellow Jackets, and Afro-Blue… Nick announces the safety of Delilah and Afro-Blue and we draw out the fates of the other two… finally… it is… the Fannin Family singing their swan song and saying goodbye… Tomorrow… and we’re halfway through the first show…

now playing: Love Song by Sara Bareilles

Round Two begins with Urban Method the first group with a bonafide rapper in the mix… hailing from the streets of Denver, they’re taking on the Eminem and Rhianna smash hit, Love the Way You Lie… a little theatrics as she opens with the hook and he stalks around behind her before the song explodes with energy and Mike? lays into his best Marshall Mathers… well, she’s no Rhianna and he’s no Em, but the group as a whole is really solid and the performance as a whole really works… definitely a fresh sound for the show… Shawn recalls the early days of hip hop and says it was cool… the background sounded so good it was hard to believe it wasn’t a track… Sara says she won’t beatbox (Shawn did), but she loved the theatrics and how the group gelled as a whole… Ben wouldn’t have thought it was a novelty act, but Mike is a star and it was a great group effort…

the next group is called Cat’s Pajamas which totally doesn’t date them at all… they’re Cruise Ship and theater performers from Branson… singing Some Kind of Wonderful which also doesn’t date them… well, they definitely have their harmony down and the choreography is simple, but appropriate… the lead seams to have a bit of trouble keeping his breath the whole time, but it’s not a bad performance, just not the best and not much to write home about… Ben says it was strong and they are technically amazing, but could use some work expressing themselves through the song… Shawn says they’re definitely entertaining, but it doesn’t translate well to a non-live setting… Sara says it was a tight, um, performance…. but she would like to see more versatility…

the self-proclaimed underdogs, Kinfolk 9 promise to take on a rock tune maybe… studies show that adding a number to the end of your name makes you more memorable (has nothing to do with the show really, but it’s true)… they’re singing Secrets… this is one of the strangest acapella lead vocalists i’ve ever heard – one of those quirky artsy types… the group sounds pretty good, but he’s very distracting… i guess it was pretty good, but that’s gonna take time to grow on the audience… Sara got the sense of the emotion behind the performance and it was almost overpowering, but they are all powerhouse singers… and from one quirky singer to another, Ben compliments Moises, but notes that it will take some time to make the blend mix better… Shawn says he felt the struggle and they can fix the technical issues but they should keep the hunger…

the final group of the night is Vocal Point from BYU and apparently they felt the need to explain that they like kissing girls… i’ve got a good feeling about them as they launch into Jump Jive and Wail… they use the whole stage well and they have a great coherence about them… the only complaint i have – and it’s because they’re mimicking horns i think – is that there is a bit of a nasal to the background vocals… lots of energy, lots of fun, good performance… Ben was dancing under the desk and the groove was great and he had a lot of nice things to say about the group… Shawn said it was a lot of fun, and echoes the praise for the modulation that Ben added to his comments after his time was up… Sara says they have a lot of personality and it was an awesome ride… classic, collegiate, doo-wappy acapella…

okay, one must go, three must stay… this one’s a little tougher, but the two that are safe are Vocal Point and Urban Method…we can start there… i can see either of the other two, but i’m guessing the judges see more potential in Kinfolk 9 (plus the number thing)… so, i’ll guess the cats get nipped… Nick is back and the first two groups that are safe are Vocal Point and Urban Method… shocker… now the hard part… we recap their critiques and we wait… and Kinfolk 9 stays, Cat’s Pajamas sing Bye Bye Love, another old song…

now playing: Gone by Ben Folds

and that’s a wrap for the first live blog of The Sing Off, season three… next week we meet the other eight groups compete… these are long, but it’s a good start i think… how about you?

peace… love… bdg…