Monday, June 08, 2015

Sing It On: Episode 1: Auditions

I know I already talked about "Sing It On", but I looked around the interwebs and no one seems to be recapping it, so, I decided to do that.  I'll catch up the four that have aired this week and then get to weekly. 
So here we go. 

Episode 1, "Auditions"

We get introduced to the show with an explainer, references to "Pitch Perfect", a reminder a cappella uses no instruments, just voices. ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A cappella) is the "superbowl of a cappella" and uses a bracket system to narrow things down from 300 groups to one final winner. (Don't worry, they will mention the process a lot.)

We start in Boston at Northeastern University with the Nor'Easters, who are crazy if they think I'm going to keep typing that whole name. Isaac, their music director, is wearing a fabulous hat as he explains that he did his freshman year at college in Florida and found things "conservative", discovered the Nor'Easters, and decided to transfer to Northeastern so he could become a Nor'Easter. And last year, they won ICCA. 
Sam, who has long red hair, explains she and Isaac are super best friends. Auditions begin, they will later explain that over 125 people auditioned. We see quick cuts of singers auditioning with, shall we say, varying levels of success.

And now we head to Florida State University (FSU), where we meet Michael, the music director for All Night Yahtzee. ANY (which is how I'm going to abbreviate that) we are told is attractive and sassy.  Michael is a sophomore and he tells us it's particularly amazing for him to be a music director as a sophomore. 
Andie, their president, tells us they need 3-5 new members and we get some quick cuts of various auditions.  Andie gets a little overheated at the hot singing boys.  (Note: One could consider this foreshadowing.)
We meet Amanda, who is blonde, and is Michael's roommate and friend who is auditioning for ANY. 

Then, we meet the Acabelles, an all female group also of FSU. (Later, we will see a glance of a third group at FSU, so they are not kidding when they mention FSU has a vibrant a cappella scene.) The Acabelles mention they had a video of their arrangement of "Royal" go viral last year which probably annoyed the other groups.  Caroline is their president and we learn they need 4 females. 
Let's take a moment, because this will come up a lot. Female groups are often viewed as lesser, particularly in the a cappella world, because potentially, a group of female voices could lack percussion and/or deeper notes and listeners tend to be trained to find the sound thinner without, well, the bass.  Now of course, it depends on the arrangement, of course there are many wonderful female percussionists, and there are females who can sing very low.  But, this is a persistent thing that dogs all female groups, it comes up whenever there's a female group on "The Sing-Off", so when this keeps coming up on the show, it's a thing that these groups are constantly being told.  Okay, moving on. 
We see snippets of auditions, including Amanda.  Dun, dun, dun,

And now we go to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for No Comment (who will later reveal that they often go by NoCo, and I am lazy so I am going with that).  They are all about sound, but also consider all their fellow members their family.  They have made it to ICCA finals two years ago.  (Later they will mention that last year they did not progress past quarter finals.)
Jessica, their blonde music director tells us they really need a bass and soprano.  It's unclear if they emphasized that in the audition notice, but they end up also seeing a some people in other parts.  In typical reality fashion Max, states that he would have to "die" or "crap his pants" (he may not have used the word crap) to agree they need an alto or a tenor.  Cue Trent the tenor and Maddie the alto.  There is also a guy who Lizzie apologizes to the others for, after an off key audition.  He had apparently told her he had choir experience.
They end up discussing that if they take four (assumedly the bass and soprano, plus the fabulous tenor and alto) that this would be a shift in their numbers which affects arrangements, choreography (or choreo as they all seem to call it) but they all seem to agree it's doable. 

And now, for the other groups we are at callbacks. 
ANY, Acabelle's, and Nor'Easters all put them into groups by sections.  ANY and Acabelles seem to have called back about 20 whereas Nor'Easters seem to have a larger group.  I know you are shocked, shocked to discover that both ANY and the Acabelles want Amanda.
Nor'Easters has brought in Shams, their music director from last year to help provide feedback.  Jessie references the Nor'Easters use of what they call "sex breath", the ah exhalation at the end of certain words.  (Now seems like a good time to mention that yes, there is a Jessie and a Jessica in this show.)
And now we get to the barter part of the audition process for the two FSU groups.  (I assume that since the other FSU group(s) are not participating in the show, those conversations happened separately.)  There are three women who have auditioned for both ANY and Acabelles, and they both want them, one of whom is Amanda. They have asked those auditioning for both groups to write down a secret preference which Michael says is stupid, which initially sounds like bluster from Michael, but given that they clearly ignore it when convenient, he's not wrong.  Molly and Amanda have indicated preference for ANY, Kelly for the Belles and well, no one wants to give on Amanda. 
Andie, ANY president is clearly worried that things are reaching a point of serious contention (and possibly, aware that this is all on film) and suggests they take a break. 

Back at the Nor'Easters they run the potentials through one more song and then let them go, telling them not to sleep because they'll make calls once they've decided.

Back at FSU, there is various bitching about how the other side is not negotiating (they are not wrong, partly because both of them seem to think they should get exactly what they want). Back at the table, one of the ANY members also mentions that there was one female who only auditioned for them, plus they lost slightly less female voices than the Belles, so basically, the Belles will get Amanda. 

The Nor'Easters are having a huge debate, because after all their talk about the number of people they've weeded out, they still have a huge list, such that one member mentions that many newbies creates a lot of work, leading to Isaac accusing him of being "afraid to do the work".  I will note that for all the back and forth going on here, they are still being pretty nice too each other considering it's now the wee hours of the night.  (In a later episode, the Nor'Easters will note that they have eight new voices, which is a large amount.)

Lists are posted at FSU.  Calls are made to tired new Nor'Easters. And we are done with the first episode. 
(There is one more group, we'll meet later, Pitch Please.)
Edited to fix names.