(Sorry, due to some technical glitches, this post got deleted, so sorry for those of you who have already ready this post.)
In Florida, Andie, Dani, and Becca of All Night Yahtzee (ANY) have gathered in the pool to remind us all that ANY came in second at their quarter finals, possibly because of their innovative, non-ballad-having set. The Acaphiliacs, also from FSU, took first place at quarterfinals leaving ANY in second. All three express were shocked since they thought the ANY performance was great, but they lost by 16 points. Andie tells us they all three are seniors and best friends, so this could be their last ICCA performance together.
In Boston, the a few of the Nor'Easters meet up with alumnus Ty. He asks why they think they lost. Sam thinks it was nerves. Ty said they looked too much in their own heads. Isaac reminds us that the Nor'Easters are eligible to participate in the wild card round, which will be held virtually. Rob asks Ty to film their video submission and Ty agrees. Isaac says they are focused, hungry, and ready.
Back in Florida, there is one week left. Michael shows them the video of their quarterfinals performance. Michael has apparently already watched this hundreds of times and likes to freeze it and check out various expressions. This is mostly a visual joke, but he demonstrates for us at home, selections he's found in the performance that he describes as "mad at your boyfriend face", "see your parents in the audience face", and "boy band face". Michael tells us the biggest areas of concern points-wise were "general showmanship" and "stage presence". They discuss the positives first. Then, critique. Generally, they need more emotion.
Four days to go, Michael reminds them to emote with the upper half of their faces since they will have mikes.
In Illinois, No Comment (NoCo) is planning a surprise birthday party for Morgan who is 21. Micah reminds us NoCo still has the wild card round, but first, party! Morgan seems genuinely surprised and touched. She tells us it wouldn't be an "aca-birthday" without someone (meaning pretty much all of them) sucking down some helium and singing "Bang Bang". Oh, kids. There is some suggestion they should do this for the wild card round.
In Florida, Michael reminds us that half of ANY is graduating so this may be their last chance to win. He's hanging out with roommate, friend and Acabelle member Amanda because he has a secret plan to woo her away from the Acabelles. (It will become clear later that the rest of ANY is in the dark about this plan.) He says he wishes she would sing with them. Amanda tells the camera her original preference had been for ANY, and she does sometimes wonder, but she's happy being a Belle. Michael suggests she ride the bus with them to semifinals, since she's coming to watch anyway and she agrees.
ANY are in their performance outfits which Dani tells us is not standard for rehearsal, but Michael has a plan. He has invited several theater majors to come help them workshop their facial expressions and stage presence.
Dani, who you might recall is a dancer and the group's choreographer, feels this is a waste of time because they should work on their staging and choreography.
The theater majors are calling out to them as ANY runs through their set. Most of their comments are about not looking at the floor and when the songs get sexy to, well, act sexy. Angel, the beatboxer, gets kudos for her swag.
On the party bus to semifinals Michael tells ANY that he's invited Amanda to ride with them. They are not clear why a rival would be on their bus. (Although given that the Belles are firmly out of competition this year, I suspect they are less worried about her taking notes and more just thrown by having an extra person on their when they're all jittery.) Amanda notes that she definitely feels out of place. Actually, her plan is to take notes, on being music director, since she's thinking of maybe doing that next year, for the Belles.
ANY, Andie tells us, has two traditions, a "dice or die" cheer, and a spirit stick. Molly has apparently been in charge of the spirit stick. Apparently she took it out for a good time (your guess is as good as mine) and it broke. (Again, this is a different teen movie guys.) Molly was apparently maybe hoping no one would notice? I have no idea, unless this was last night, why she thought finding out on the bus was the best place to have that discussion. (Unless she was hoping they forgot. Which, that did not work.) Michael tells them they don't need a spirit stick. Amanda, meanwhile cannot believe Michael is letting the group be this rowdy.
At the auditorium there are ten groups (although, sorry we're only going to see bits of five of them, I'm sure the other five were lovely too). Only one group advances. Michael brings the spirit stick pieces with him to pick their performance order, and gets ninth, while the Acaphiliacs got fifth, so maybe the broken spirit stick is helping. (Or who knows.)
ANY has a lot of time to kill backstage, but Amanda is texting updates from the auditorium. We see bits of the Beltones, BisCaydence, and VirtuOSO which Amanda declares to be good but a cappella-y. A few of them go up to see the Acaphiliacs. Michael says they have a great blend, but essentially they performance is exactly the same as quarterfinals. (Which they won, but I see Michael's point. All these groups came in first or second, so in theory you should be stepping up your game.) Daniel declares that performance nothing they can't beat.
As they get ready, Michael reminds them to overexaggerate their dynamics.
ANY goes on and sings "Bang Dem Sticks" and "Your Lips Are Moving". (If they did "Bang Bang" again, as I assume they did, we did not see it this time.") The clips are energetic and the audience seems engaged.
They head backstage and Michael declares it their best performance. Andie's heart is racing. Dani agrees best ever. They are all getting happy texts and photos from family and friends in the audience. Amanda texts Michael and he reads to the group that she thought it was energetic and clean. Traditionally, the winning group does a little encore, Michael asks if they want to brush up "Bang Bang" (so maybe they didn't do it?) but Andie declares that would be to "jinxy".
The judges are done, it's awards time. ANY wins best choreography again. In third place, we have All Night Yahtzee. Michael is devastated but smiles as he picks up the certificate. Andie is down. Second place is the Beltones. First is VirtuOSO.
Michael is at least glad they beat the Acaphiliacs. And that's our third group in the wild card round. In case you were wondering if this was rigged. Backstage again, Michael says they are a great group of musicians who didn't compromise. Dani loved the whole set. Jordan thinks it was pioneering. And Michael thinks they are ahead of the curve. Andie reminds them seven groups tonight are all the way done with this year's ICCAs, so at least they still have a shot. Eleven groups are competing for the one wild card spot. The group hugs.
And, before we go on, trigger warning for depression and suicide.
A black screen tells us that the Nor'Easters got some terrible news.
Sam explains that their member Kevin lost his battle with depression Several of the Nor'Easters including Jessie, Sam, Isaac, and Rob gather together to talk about how much they loved Kevin. Rob mentions that Kevin thanked him and Isaac after every rehearsal and that sometimes it was annoying because it had been a brutal rehearsal for Rob, but Kevin was always so positive about it. Isaac says that "music is what made Kevin our family". They decide to put on a memorial concert called We Sing for Kevin to raise money for suicide prevention and depression.
Over clips of the Nor'easters singing "Say You Love Me" Jessie says that Kevin was one of the most wonderful people. They show shots of Kevin from the show, smiling, singing, even one clip where he's talking about how he and Isaac joined the group at the same time and he's watched Isaac grow into probably the best music director they've ever had. Isaac thanks him and says he had a lot of help.
An in memoriam card appears for Kevin Mayer.
And Isaac and Sam, would like to point anyone battling depression or feeling suicidal to reach out to: ASFP.