Energy and emotions are high as the a capella groups tackle party anthems on tonight’s episode of The Sing-Off.

Ben Folds aka musical mad scientist, how I have missed you. Jewel is a delightful addition and Shawn Stockton is, as ever, one cool guy. Everyone is so sparkly in honor of the party theme. 

The Party Anthem Medley

Straight away the a capella groups get to it by getting the party started with an anthem medley. Each group gets a chance to shine, the judges are wearing silly glasses and everyone is having a blast already.

Vocal Rush (“Gonna Make You Sweat”)

The youngest group in the competition is made up of 12 high schoolers from Oakland, California. Everybody dance now, indeed! They have a huge sound and a ton of energy. Oh, to be young, again. They sound great and are so colorful to watch. The soloist, Sarah, really nails the lead vocal and the beat boxer is awesome. The overall rhythm of the group feels rushed, probably from excitement.

Jewel calls them the united colors of beautiful and gives Sarah props for her solo and is impressed by the polished performance of the group given their age. Shawn tells them they are fun, and realizes that the vocalists weren’t even born when the song came out. Ben says the rest of the group was stepping on the groove, but that they have a full sound for being primarily female.

Home Free (“Life is a Highway”)

As a professional a capella band of five, these southern gents are planning on kicking it up a notch this week with some sweet dance moves. A much cleaner and classic a capella sound to this group. Their bassist is ridiculous! They get the crowd amped and seem really polished.

Shawn comments that the components are all there. Ben compares the bassist to his bass guitar getting up and speaking. Jewel says that she understands that they have to work hard to sound so relaxed, which she appreciates and thinks they sounded great.

VoicePlay (“Play That Funky Music”)

The six guy-one gal group almost got eliminated last episode, so are bringing their A-game this week to prove themselves. They feel that the song choice is a risk that will hopefully pay off. They seem more confident tonight and are really owning the hilarious “white guy moves.” The rap is a bit jarring, but she does a great job. I like this group!

Shawn gives them a standing ovation and tells them they came back with a vengeance. Ben tells them their reinventions are working for them. Jewel comments that their personalities are shining more in this performance which is great.

Street Corner Renaissance (“Do You Love Me”)

These literal street performers are the oldest in the competition and ready to party. It starts a bit slow, but picks up with excellent, classic dance moves. They are a charming and charismatic group of gentlemen with a great sound. It doesn’t seem to compare to the energy of the other performers so far, which is an interesting change.

Shawn appreciates that they prove music is not just a young man’s sport. Jewel comments that less is more and that they did a great job setting a fun tone without overdoing it. 

Element (“Raise Your Glass”)

As a newly formed, all-female group, they feel like they have a lot of work to do to to measure up against the other teams. The fact that there are two simultaneous solos is distracting at the start. They have very shiny dresses but that is the only thing I like about the start of the song. The song really picks up at the break down and gets much better.

Ben comments that the bass sounded great, that their blend is better and that the song picked up at the bridge. Shawn did not like the unison singing either and recommends that they work on finding spots for each soloist to shine individually, which I agree would have been better.

acoUstiKats (“Hey Ya!”)

These 12 college students are a group of goofy guys who like to have fun, which should prove to be good for the anthem theme. There is a lot going on during this song. There are so many of them, there is a ton of different vocal rhythms and elements going on that feel almost overwhelming. They are having a ton of fun, but it is a lot. The polaroids are a great touch, though. 

Ben finds them very entertaining, but feels that they rushed the tempo a bit. Shawn points out that arrangement is key and they have to work on that. Jewel throws out a bunch of technical terms about what she liked about it, but agrees that the groove was off. Nick Lachey calls the choreographer mom an acousticougar. Amazing, Lachey. Amazing.

Calle Sol (“Livin’ La Vida Loca”)

This group from Puerto Rico are figuring out how to balance their love for dance with singing. They are also switching up the beat boxing responsibilities which is a big risk. The start is rough and takes a long time to get off the ground. I like the dancing, but the singing and tempos are all over the place.

Shawn reiterates how important arrangement is and Jewel points out there were holes in the performance that didn’t bring the tempo changes together. The singers are visibly upset, but I absolutely agree with the judges on this.

Ten (“Hot in Herre”)

As a brand new group of former background singers, this group has to work on their cohesion. As opposed to the rapping in the other performances so far, I really like the way it fits in this song. The tempo is excellent and they manage to make a Nelly song sound almost bluesy. They definitely got the party memo. The best performance so far tonight, in my opinion.

The Ben and Nick back and forth banter is hilarious. They are developing a serious bromance. Back to the judging, Ben loves the lead vocal and wants the band to bring it up to a TEN. Shawn assures them they were cohesive and knows that they will be amazing when they tap into their potential. 

The Filharmonic (“This Is How We Do It”)

This group of Filipino dudes from Los Angeles want to make their performance sexy. More than any other group, they seem like the boy bands of yore. They are fun to watch and I like this performance much more than the previous episode. It is the arrangement that seems better.

Jewel loved how each member was showcased and finds them adorable. Shawn says they started the party from the gate, but that they were a bit off key in points. Ben had a good time and wishes it could keep going.

The Bottom Two

It is Calle Sol going up against acoUstiKats in a sing-off battle. They both had off performances tonight and this is a fair battle in that respect.

The Ultimate Sing-Off: “Stronger”

The general sound of acoUstiKats is warmer and fuller, but that is likely to do with the size of the group. The soloist from Calle Sol is stronger. I like Calle Sol’s arrangement, but they don’t seem to have a chance against the larger group.

The judges save the acoUstiKats, eliminating Calle Sol. 

The groups tackle #1 hits tomorrow, Thursday, at 8pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Eva Des Lauriers

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV