Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sing It On Episode 4: South Quarterfinals

Andie tells us most people think of football when they think of Florida State University (FSU), but they also have three a cappella groups: All Night Yahtzee (ANY), the Acabelles, and the Acaphiliacs.
Michael, ANY music director, says that group camaraderie shows up in the performance, so it's great that they all get along, but too much fun in rehearsal can be bad.
He also mentions that he has an edgy plan to not include a ballad in their set. They have seven seniors so next year they'll be in rebuilding mode.  

In Boston, Isaac of the Nor'Easters tells us they only won their quarterfinal by four points so the choreography needs to be stepped up.  (Quick note: I did not mention it before, but No Comment indicated that they won by forty points.  Since no totals are mentioned for the Nor'Easters, it's impossible to tell if that's a difference in regions or if No Comment actually did significantly better.  And there will be new scores at semifinals.)
Isaac and Jessie meet with Ty, who is another Nor'Easter alumnus who won two choreography awards. Ty tells the camera he has an idea what this meeting is about.  
What follows is a supes awkward meeting.  Let me speculate wildly here. I imagine that at this point, what Jessie and Isaac want is to tighten up the choreography, rather than reinvent it.  Ty is either busy or has graduated or, I suspect, doesn't want his name attached to choreography he didn't, well, choreograph.  Eventually, he agrees to the suggestion to come on in a consultant capacity.  

Back in Florida, the Acabelles tell us they have never won the ICCA, and as an all female group they are an underdog.  But Tatiana tells us the Belles have girl power and sass.  Amanda says she's enjoying being a Belle, even if she had originally planned to be in ANY.  

Dani is the choreographer for ANY.  During a rehearsal, where they are using water bottles and smartphones as their mikes, Christian and Daniel in particular are having trouble with the choreography.  Andie finds this adorable.  Michael, you'll be surprised to hear, is not pleased.
Dani holds a special rehearsal for just Christian and Daniel.  They demonstrate their seriousness by showing up in sleeveless shirts, sport shorts, and sweatbands, like a workout video parody.  

In Illinois, No Comment (NoCo) is doing a little fundraising, since they have to pay for things like party buses to semifinals. They are performing at a firehouse, which Max tells us they do a lot throughout the year.  The audience seems to skew a little grey-haired and the relative quiet seems to indicate they aren't sure about this performance.  Most of the songs are of the more classic variety not from their ICCA set, although they do break into a rousing rendition of "Bang Bang".  

In Florida, roomies Amanda and Michael are throwing an a cappella party.  Amanda, for reasons that will become clear, declares that Britanny can sing lower than Michael.  Britanny says no she can't, clearly wanting no part of this competition.  But finally they harmonize against each other using "The Star Spangled Banner" and Michael does seem to sing a little lower than Brittany.  This leads Michael into a spiel Amanda has clearly heard before about how it is "factual" that you need male voices to have a good sound.  Amanda suggests that female a cappella is it's own thing. Michael says they are in the same competition.  Amanda counters that then it would be more impressive when they do well.  Michael says no.  
Amanda tells the camera all female groups hear this kind of crap a lot.  In many ways I think they have neatly summed up the issue, all female groups are accused of being unable to sound as full, and yet, get little to no credit when they sound good or better than other groups. 

ANY does a preview performance, Michael tells us, "If your preview is lame, your ICCA will be the same." Dani feels Christian and Daniel's dancing was much improved so that extra session paid off.  The audience seems, if you'll forgive me, very aca-savvy.  One member gives a very specific note about a missed piece of the choreography, and another asks why there was no ballad.  

In Boston, Ty has come to the Nor'Easters rehearsal.  He tells the camera he is not worried about people's feelings.  This seems like a good point to note, there is no mention of who was officially in charge of choreography for the group, prior to Ty's consultancy.  

In Florida, ANY has a party bus and a spirit stick.  (Don't they know that's a different teen movie?) Michael is a little worried that the bus rowdiness will tire out their voices.  Christian decides now is the moment to make the official ask to Andie to be his girlfriend.  She tells the camera that the bus is not her "ideal romantic location" but she does agree.  Most of the ANY members express happiness for the couple.  Michael, you'll be surprised to hear is unhappy that his "aca-dating" rules have been broken.  He also seems surprised she kept it a secret. While Andie and Christian do mention they had been keeping it secret, it really seems that most of the group was in on this, so I'm not sure if they intentionally kept Michael out of the loop, or if he was just not noticing the evidence.
Michael tells us the ICCA South is super competitive.  Andie is worried about their lack of ballad.  They draw for order of performance, ANY is nine out of ten, Acaphiliacs get eighth and the Belles get seventh, so the judges and the audience are in for an FSU stretch.  
Andie and Christian have embraced their outness and are sitting holding hands on the floor backstage, being an "aca-couple".  
Michael and Amanda meet backstage to wish each other luck.
The Belles go on and while they're singing their hearts out, the audience seems to be, well, texting and generally not paying attention.  It's hard to tell if the audience is just at their a cappella fill or what.  (Six groups before them with twelve minute sets, these audience members have been here a while. Sounds like a great afternoon to me, but still.) Caroline is proud of their performance. Backstage the general consensus is that they thought they did really well, but felt like the audience energy didn't reflect that.
Michael can hear the Acaphiliacs as ANY moves into place backstage and says they sound meh to him.  Caroline leads the group in a somewhat non-denominational prayer. Angel, their beatboxer kicks them off.  Amanda has snuck into the audience and notes that ANY gets a standing ovation.  Backstage ANY is giddy and Michael tells them he's proud. 

The results are in.  ANY gets an Outstanding Choreography award.  In third place, the Acabelles.  In second, All Night Yahtzee.  First, the Acaphiliacs.  (An FSU sweep.) Amanda and Caroline are bummed the Belles aren't going on.  Andie is thrilled ANY gets to go on, Michael is shocked they got second.  He decides the judges weren't edgy enough to "get" his innovative set.  
So, three quarter finals, two out of five groups sent home, one second place, and two winners.