Rihanna Medley - "What's My Name"/"Umbrella"/"Only Girl in the World"
I think the group as a whole and the concept is fantastic. The girls sing great; they really do, but so far, in this context, they're not shining. They each might in other situations - I can imagine that. But to win, this group has to stay focused. Their production is a star; Myke is a star when he's cradled well by the group. The girls should step out at the right times, and I believe this is the responsibility of the group as a whole. I see them get it right and I know it's there. I also know that those girls sing their butts off and are always a joy to watch and hear. They just need to be cast correctly. Too good not to move on, but they can do better.
Elvis Presley Medley - "Don't Be Cruel"/"I Can't Help Falling in Love with You"/"Jailhouse Rock"
These guys are slick! Such a strong drummer and upper range in this group. And they engage completely and own everything they do. The transitions in this medley and within the medley are seamless and effortless. There's not a lot of low end going on in this band; but the bottom that's there grooves, and it's so very clean sounding. They're proving to be a powerful show band. You know how I feel about bridging that into being a recording artist. They're TV stars no doubt, but I wanna know why I'll be buying their records.
Janet Jackson Medley - "What Have You Done for Me Lately"/"When I Think of You"/"Miss You Much"
Have I mentioned how much I love this group? Christie's scat was sooooo good! And Danielle has one of the smoothest voices on the show. Reggie IS a bad man (Stockman quote). What we're telling them is that we want them not to over think. That's tough because they do really well in a gear that's over most people's heads, and this is mainstream television. However, I'm finding that when they follow our advice and make it simpler, they're not themselves. When they do what they do naturally, they often get criticism that it's too complicated. There IS a sweet spot, and in my opinion, it's when they're being themselves musically AND connecting to the song. Sometimes vocal jazz groups are about the music and not the words. You can feel you're getting one long vowel sound. That's actually alright with me except when it comes to pop songs which should be propelled by the lyric. In their case, they have the big IT. They're interesting as people and just need to find the sweet spot, but their challenge is one of the biggest in context of this show as they navigate complexity, musicality, brains, heart and communication while keeping their beautiful selves in tact!
Queen Medley - "Killer Queen"/"Bohemian Rhapsody"/"Somebody to Love"
Well, they just showed they're not lightweights with this one! It was the perfect showcase of what these guys do. It doesn't need to be flawless when it has this much impact. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is like Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto 3" for a cappella groups. Damned impossible to do but guaranteed a standing ovation if done well. Standing ovation was deserved. But that's not all! They drove it home with Michael and showed us why they're still in this. This is the new standard for all-male university a cappella groups! Well done, boys!
Britney Spears Medley - "Oops, I Did It Again"/"Toxic"/"Hold It Against Me"
What can I say in a blog? You have to see them and hear them to believe it. They're so very unique. They're freakishly talented and they're being inventive... on a hard schedule. I've waited for a group like this on our show, and I hope each season yields more. We're seeing the art form progress on prime-time TV. It's a golden little moment. Thanks Pentatonix! The hard work is paying off, and they're getting a massive sound with five people. Each of them is a star, and each is also capable of support. I know we're supposed to keep suspense going, but seriously we all know this is the group to beat (which makes a reality show that much more dramatic should they fall off the horse!...) No pressure, kids.
Alicia Keys Medley - "Fallin'"/"A Woman's Worth"/"If I Ain't Got You"
I thought they were on it this time. They're hit and miss because, to give them credit, they're pulling off something that all-female groups almost never do. When they miss, the all-female range challenge is usually at the heart of it. When they hit, it's because that challenge forced them to be creative in a way that most of the other groups have never been. So I cut them slack. Not for being chicks! But for surmounting their challenge creatively. I'm a broken record but they have several stars; and I find that their supporting members are stars in those rolls. So much personality and talent. The long haul is going to be hard for them, but I know they have it in them. They really can't slip anymore, so I'm hoping they keep it at this level. Rock on, Delilah!
Billy Joel Medley - "The River of Dreams"/"She's Always a Woman"/"Uptown Girl"
Look, each week is gonna be tough from here out because someone we have become attached to will leave. Them's the rules. One can't help comparing the apples to the apples when it's presented, and there are two other all-male college groups. YellowJackets are nearly as tight as Vocal Point, and they nearly have as much personality as Dartmouth. That sucks for them. They're strong in most departments, but they're not standing out anymore. I love that they brought their music school sensibility to this show. They're gracious, humble and total class. We'll miss them. This medley was fine; it really was, but it needed to be killin' - that's all. Supporters of YellowJackets unite and keep them in the spotlight even when they're not on NBC every Monday. They've got a website, ya know!!