(Note, the exclamation point is the show's, not that I'm not excited.)
Our previouslies are all Faux Paz - reminding us that they had auditions, placed 2nd in the quarterfinals, 1st in semifinals, and now are headed to finals in New York.
It's 3 days to finals and the last rehearsal. Lynique says they have four alumni sitting in to provide critique, including Michael who we have seen before. Josh is still having
vocal issues. He later mentions it was bronchitis, and just as a note, while the Fauz Paz had an early quarterfinal in January, their semifinals were in March, and the finals
were in April, so it has only been a few weeks. And a few weeks where I'm guessing he has not really been resting his voice as much as might be recommended.
They do a run through and the alums cleverly ask them what they thought of their performance first. The group has some concerns about key and tempo. The alums all agree that
Lynique's solo is incredible, but agree that there are some tempo, key, and dynamics issues in the set. Chris says he had to look away during "Dog Days", it was just too emotional.
David says hey are thrilled "Dog Days" is working, but are worried about the rest of the set.
Mitul tells the group NYC will be a lot, look out for each other, self care. Lynique says they need to remember there are folks who have never seen this set, who need to feel
the pain, the emotion., the journey, that this set can bring.
Later, Mitul and Lynique are gathered for our grooming portion of this episode - they are getting manicures. Lynique reminds the camera that this is her last ICCA's. She asks
Mitul if he's worried about Josh. He's worried that Josh might be worried about Josh. Mitul asks her about "Dog Days". She says she's had a tough week, missing her mom a lot.
She would rather not cry on stage, she wants to be in control of the emotion she delivers. Mitul says Lynique is strong, but its tough to watch her go through this.
One day to go - and the party bus is here. David is hyped. Shanto asks them what if they won and there is a lot of-oh, shush, don't say that, don't jinx it. Josh says last year
they made it to finals and "pooped on stage''- they weren't ready. Mitul says the soloists were great last year, but the rest of the group was not ready. Lynique agrees it was
not a good performance. Josh is feeling good, tells the camera he is nervous, but knows that half of this is a mind game. David says he's heard Josh practicing in the shower, leading another member to ask if they shower together. They laugh and say no. Ah. Communal dorm showers. Do. Not. Miss.
They arrive in NYC. Josh tells his phone camera he is nervous. Lucas-brushing his teeth pops in to indicate he is fine. Todd has had four dreams that they won and seventeen
where they lost.Todd and David, having been to finals before, aren't too nervous. Lucas' calm seems to be freaking Josh out.
On the morning of - Lynique and Mitul are calm. They make their way down to the theater. ICCA Executive Director Amanda Newman says its a special year because
so many groups are new to finals. They introduce all the groups and the Faux Paz tell us a little about them.
Central winners, Carnegie Mellon University's Originals - Mitul says they are all male, known for unique arrangements and robotic choreography.
Wild Card winners, Florida State University's All-Night Yahtzee (ANY) - Lynique says they used to go up against each other in the South region, and ANY usually won.
Northwest winners, University of Oregon's Divisi - Lynique says "Pitch Perfect" was based on them. They are an all female group.
Great Lakes winners, Oakland University's Gold Vibrations - Josh says they are new kids but already have a global record deal.
Mid-Atlantic winners, University of Maryland's Faux Paz. Hey, I've heard of those guys!
Midwest winners, Washington University of St. Louis' Mosaic Whispers - Mitul says they have high energy solos and hot choreography.
Southwest winners, Chapman University's SoundCheck - Lynique says they have jazzy fusion sound.
South winners, University of Central Florida's Voicebox - Dave says they are a triple threat having won awards at their semifinal for arrangement, choreography, and solos.
Northeast winners, Boston University's BosTones - Josh says they are from the most competitive region.
United Kingdom winners, Imperial College of London's Techtonics - Lynique says they have come a long way for this. They are also an all male group.
It's time for order picking-Dave picks 5th for the Faux Paz. Michael from ANY picks 3rd. And the gentleman from the Techtonics picks 1st.
The Faux Paz head to their dressing room. Suffice it to say that they all will mention a few more times that they want to redeem last year's performance.
It's sound check time. Josh has asked Michael to get there early enough to hear sound check. They are still worried about Josh's solo. Post soundcheck, Michael talks about checkpoints, make sure not to push too sharp, too loud, too fast. Josh mentions that Michael noted he was pushing his voice too hard at points and pushing the group sharp, that watching their dynamics might help with that. The quieter the quiet parts are, the less loud the loud parts can be in contrast.
And it's time. Amanda introduces the emcees Cooper and Courtney. And while, we get to see a little more of each group this time around, it is still snippets, knowing that most of these groups are doing three to four songs, we're not even getting snippets of the whole set.
The Techtonics sing Queen's "Bicycle Race" which seems energetic and playful. They also sing Sam Smith's "Lay Me Down" which is more emotional. (Also it looks like they went all British thematically.)
Mosaic Whispers sing Sia's "Elastic Heart".
ANY sings Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabelo's "I Know What You Did Last Summer" which is very high energy.
Divisi sings Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl".
Lynique takes a moment. She knows her mom is with her. They gather up, and do some chanting led by David to get in the zone. Time for the Faux Paz.
We see Josh's solo in Panic! At the Disco's "Emperor's New Clothes." He sounds much stronger than he did at semifinals, and the group overall seems to be less tentative on the song. They do "Mad World" by Tears for Fears. Mitul says in one of the quiet moments he could hear an audience member say, "Holy bleep" so he knew it wasn't just him feeling like they were killing it. And then Florence and the Machine's "The Dog Days Are Over." Lynique says she could feel the audience's surprise and attention, as she starts the song. Lynique sounds as strong and amazing as she has each time we've seen her do this solo. Michael is seated near her dad in the audience, and they are both looking emotional, her dad lifts a praise hand. Michael and Lynique's dad both jump to their feet at the end, and it looks like a lot of the audience joins them.
Josh says they could not have done better.
SoundCheck sings Fall Out Boy's "Centuries".
The Bostones sing Ella Eyre's "If I Go".
Gold Vibrations sing Tori Kelly's "Expensive".
The Originals sing Demi Lovato's "Stone Cold" and Nick Jonas' "Levels".
Mitul is noticing that if the Faux Paz had a weakness, it was innovative choreography. Lynique is feeling like their chance of winning is dwindling as she watches the competition.
And it's time for our video message from John Legend, who thanks all the groups and all the a cappella fans.
And now we have the results. They start with the special awards. There are two outstanding soloist awards - Ramsey Papp of the Originals and Lynique Webster of the Faux Paz. Lynique is freaking out that her dad got to see this.
And the top three groups.
3rd - Faux Paz
2nd - Originals
1st - Techtonics
I just want to note that the Techtonics went first. So I think we can dispense with some of this order picking superstition.
Lynique says over 400 groups competed and they got 3rd. Mitul kind of thinks they should have gotten second, but 3rd is so good. Josh has so many emotions. Backstage they note since England won, they are top two in the US. Mitul has family there. He is proud of adding to the Faux Paz legacy.
All the groups gather on stage and sing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with somebody" with Lynique and Ramsey and several other soloists in a giant group number. And that's it for this season.
If you want to see the numeric scores, or the other special awards not mentioned in the episode, you can go here
There is a wonderful recap of the finals here
, by someone who got to see the whole thing, not just the TV version, if you want a more detailed look at the performances.