Friday, August 12, 2016

Sing it On Season 2 Episode 3 Acappellooza

We start with members of the various groups explaining the ICCAs to us:

-There are thousands of a cappella groups.
-Three hundred participate in the ICCA's
-There are ten finalists
-And one winner.
Glad we cleared that up.

At University of Maryland (UMD) a chyron tells us that the Faux Paz have two weeks to semifinals.  They grab the judges scoresheets from their quarterfinal, which you may recall they came in second, getting them to the next level, but causing some concern.  Although they did also get an outstanding arrangement award.  So, I am going to assume that this conversation just now is to recap the discussions they've been having for six weeks. 

Lynique doesn't understand why the judges dinged them for not having enough depth.  Josh thinks some of the depth had to do with them not having enough dynamics.  (Dynamics, as we will see, become a bit of a recurring theme this episode, and were also something mentioned last week.) Mitul tells the camera that there are two types of scoring, some technical, some subjective.  Lynique says some of the suggestions seem contradictory.  Josh feels the consistent comment is that the balance was towards the guys.  They show a clip of "Mad World" and while it was a compelling performance, there's something too that comment in that, if you had your eyes closed and had to guess how many guys were singing, and how many girls, you probably wouldn't guess there were four female singers.  This isn't a knock on the female singers, it's just, as the judges have said, a note that the balance is off, and if their arrangements are counting on female parts, that's potentially an issue. They could also eliminate a guy or two, or alter the arrangement, but none of those ideas seem to be on the table.

Todd says it would be a lot to add people this late.  They would have to be great, already up to speed newbies to make this help more than it hurts. Mitul is super sad as he realizes they would all have to relearn the choreography if they add more people.

It is asked, could they just stick with what they have? Mitul is in favor of that, but Lynique thinks the set will really rock with a few more people.  It is mentioned that they had more people last year, so I think that is also their comfort level.

Over at UMass, the S#arp Attitudes are getting ready for the Acappellooza that we get our episode title from. Archie explains it's an annual gathering of UMass a cappella groups. Sam is still mad that Linnea left the group, but thinks the S#arps are stronger now. And because apparently this is another theme of this episode we are going waxing.  I have no idea why group grooming is a thing that "Sing it On" has decided we all want, but here we are.

Melinda explains that she is not really into waxing or shaving, she thinks body hair has a purpose.  She however, is also not willing to say no to Sam, so has agreed to come.  I'm going to say, that while I know this was a thing that the show suggested (given it's appearance last season also) I found this whole segment very uncomfortable, and not just because waxing hurts (although that too).  These people are adults, who do know how to say no, and whatever, no one made them do this, they could have gone for smoothies as a group instead, but Sam appears to be telling people what parts of their body they need to wax, and no one seems comfortable to be waxing for an audience much less the cameras.  But in the end, Melinda gets her underarms done, Taryn her eyebrows, Archie her upper lip, and then Sam, who consults the aesthetician, gets her eyebrows and upper lip done.

In UPenn, Off the Beat (OTB) has arrived to discover a TV screen set up in their rehearsal room.  Brian, it turns out, has 'secretly' gone to the quarterfinals at UMD and come back with footage of the Fauz Paz.  Now again, I'm assuming show intervention, not because I don't think this is a good idea or anything.  Rohan expresses surprise at Brians's crazy, but really, it's not that crazy.  Where I call shenanigans is that, first, Brian could maybe scout a team that they're up against for their own quarterfinals. Now I know they made it to semifinals last year (and, ahem, the Faux Paz won) but they also have to get through this year's quarterfinals.  Also, Brian appears to have stayed long enough to determine they came in second and yet, does not seem to have brought footage of the winning group.  Okay, I'll stop with my conspiracy theories, because OTB does sit down to watch it, and Jasmine encourages them to pay attention to the Faux Paz musicality, to see how powerful it is that all of their expressions look completely in the moment. Brian tells the camera he wants the ICCA's more than anything, so maybe in his head it is just the Faux Paz in his way. OTB agrees that was a great performance that only got second place, so they all need to step it up.

Back at UMass we are now at Acappellooza and S#arp Attitude is in a dressing room getting ready.  Archie says it's a fun event  Sam says it's the first performance in front of an audience (with the new members). Archie reminds them these are the groups they'll compete against in the ICCAs. They move out into the hallway to practice their blocking. They mention they want to make sure to watch the Hexachords. They go back to the dressing room to grab their stuff and the Hexachords are in there.  Dun, dun, dun. Things are weird.  It's hard to tell how much it's because there are cameras there, or it's just awkward to see your old a cappella group while you're hanging with your new a cappella group, or it's just weird to have your pre-performance routine overlap someone else's. Anyway, S#arp Attitude clears out.

Linnea, now of the Hexachords says it was so awkward.  Craig says they have to leave all that behind on the stage.  Linnea thinks they should dedicate "Bad Blood" to S#arp Attitude.  There are awkward ha's and Brandon tells the camera that he didn't want to tell her how to handle her stuff, but it really seemed like it was going to cause more drama than it would help. Linnea's thinking is that acknowledging it will let them move on, which, oh dear, sweet, Linnea.  I get what you're saying.  But, no, dedicating a song called "Bad Blood" to people you haven't talked to since you left their group, will not get you closer to moving past it.

Back at UPenn, Rohan tells us they have been having six hour rehearsals as they hit hell week.  They have brought in an alumnus (ding, I should have made bingo cards) to help.  Jonah Platt who is now on Broadway, has also brought along his, as he says, much more famous fiancee Courtney Galliano, to help.  (What a great fiancee. I love a cappella, but I'm not sure this is how I would choose to spend my day. Helping my fiance's college group.)
Jasmine says their set tells the story of a breakup. Jonah and Courtney provide tempo and choreography suggestions.  Brian expresses concern that his hips don't move the way Courtney is suggesting and gets pulled out in front for remedial hip wiggling. Jonah emphasizes that dynamics are what set you apart. (Ding!) Overall Jonah and Courtney feel the group is in good shape, this is all just tightening up. OTB is happy they came to help. They chant, call and response style, "Who are we? OTB!"

In UMass, Sam of the S#arp Attitudes explains that Acappellooza is a great way to scope out the competition. Sadly for me, since I love a good list of a cappella group names, we only get a see small snippets.  One of the groups is called Dynamics!  (I told you it was a theme!) They sing Marvin Gaye's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". The Vocal Suspects sing Clean Bandit's "Rather Be".

Linnea of the Hexachords says it's a great way to see how the other groups sound, but based on this, she doesn't think there's much to worry about.

S#arp Attitude takes the stage to sing V Bozeman's "What is Love?" which Archie tells us is from the show "Empire".  Archie starts the song, and has the lead.  Off stage the Hexachords seem super impressed with her vocals. Brandon of the Hexachords mentions he and Archie used to be really close.

Linnea explains to the camera that she wants to acknowledge the bad blood and move on. On stage she simply says they want to dedicate the song to S#arp Attitude. S#arp Attitude is listening backstage and it is probably not surprising that they think this sounds more like a call out than a mending bridges kind of maneuver.

The Hexachords, as mentioned, do sing Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood". 

S#arp Attitude, is irritated, one member pointing out that Linnea left them.  Sam explains that S#arp Attitude is cool and the Hexachords are music nerds. One of the newer members says that, all that aside, she thought the performance was really good.  Sensing concern, Melinda explains that the Hexachords are all vocal majors, they are highly trained, and that S#arp Attitude has heart and sass and choreography. Archie reminds us that all female groups are underdogs in the ICCAs.

The Hexachords meanwhile think S#arp Attitude had great choreography, good facial expressions, and a killer solo. Linnea tries to explain this tension is super hard, and I got distracted because there is a cat climbing a table behind her.  Does the UMass theater have a cat?  I must know!  Okay, so essentially, Linnea feels it was hard being a member of S#arp Attitude, but she misses them, or at least wants it to not be weird.  And look, we've all been there, friend groups shift, and re-form, and you have to figure it all out again.

In Maryland, Mitul needs to trim his beard for his picture.  I could explain more, but we really just spend two minuted watching Mitul get his beard shaped. The Faux Paz have decided to call back two girls from their earlier auditions and basically run them through a whole rehearsal and see how that goes. Tiffany and Olivia. Josh warns them he will probably call on them a lot to make corrections and no hard feelings they are just in crunch mode.  (Spoiler, he does). They are working through Panic at the Disco's "Emperor's New Clothes".  Lynique feels a little bad for how much they get called on to change this or that.  In the end they send them out while the existing Faux Paz discuss.  Josh says he gets the choreography concerns, but really feels that the lower alto upper tenor sound they bring is what they need.  David brings them back in and does the tricky thing where he tells them he has bad news, they are going to need so much rehearsal. Lol.  And that's it for this week.

Edited for spelling.