We start in Maryland at UMD with the Faux Paz. Mitul reminds us they got second place at quarterfinals, so almost didn't make it to semifinals. David says they want to be the best and right now they are not even the best on campus (given Pandemonium's win at quarterfinals).
Lynique says at semifinals they have weeded out the duds and are left with only the gold. She talks again about how she channels her mom when she sings "Dog Days Are Over". She says her mom was not a singer, but would say that keying into the emotion of the song was the most important part. We see pictures on Lynique's family as she explains her mother held on through the illness for so long but eventually had to let go. In rehearsal she finishes the song and burst into tears. The group moves to hug her. Josh says the emotion they were channeling was so amazing even he stopped for a moment, and they want to do that to win.
In Pennsylvania, Off the Beat (OTB) is rehearsing also. Jasmine wants to focus on the choreography. Rohan reminds us they came in second at quarterfinals and last year the Faux Paz knocked them out at semifinals.
Brian wants to sing a little, is worried they need to get the music down pat. Rohan wants to rest. Brian wants to practice the dynamics too. Jasmine decides those who feel they are in good vocal health can sing softly so as not to wear their voices out. They are practicing in front of a mirror and she asks them to make sure their expressions match the emotions of the song.
Rohan is worried their voices are shot.
Back in Maryland, Lynique is having a family dinner with her dad and her sister. They have set a place at the table for her mom also. Her dad asks if the Faux Paz are ready. Lynique explains that with her mom sick, her dad and sister couldn't be at semifinals last year, but they'll be there this year.
The Faux Paz are on a bus to Philadelphia for semifinals (so they had to travel a little more this round). Apparently the magic of Facebook has alerted the Faux Paz that OTB has changed their set for semifinals and there is speculation as to what they may have done. Josh says the Faux Paz will be fine because nothing could be worse than Rohan's voice crack. (Hmm.) David tells us the Mid-Atlantic region is stacked with nationally known groups.
OTB arrives at the theater. Jasmine likes the Faux Paz but thinks that any group could take this. Rohan says that the Faux Paz, OTB, and Vocal Point all got second in their quarterfinals, the rest of these groups are winners of their round.
It's time for performance order picking. Jasmine says she doesn't actually think it matters what number they get. David picks third for Faux Paz. (Which…is what they got for quarterfinals too. I'm just saying.) Jasmine pulls 7th for OTB.
David asks Rohan if they are ready for them to Off the Beat them down. Rohan laughs and says that joke was a Faux Paz. David says their set won't be. They exchange various high and low fives.
OTB does not get through everything Jasmine wanted in the sound check. Backstage Jasmine reminds them that even though this is a larger theater they need to do the performance the way they've rehearsed it and not try to exaggerate anything.
Meanwhile Josh of the Faux Paz has started losing his voice. He felt fine earlier but now sounds hoarse. His solo is first and he's worried. He doesn't want to be the reason they don't go to finals.
OTB is rehearsing and you can just tell no one feels it's going well. Jasmine doesn't want to screw up the OTB legacy. Rohan is getting nervous about his voice. He is stage whispering that he has never done four full rehearsals on a performance day in his whole life. Jasmine reminds them that whispering is just as hard on your voice as singing. She tells the camera she thinks some of this is misdirected nerves.
As I adore a list of a cappella groups here are the ones we see snippets of:
University of Maryland's Pandemonium sing Gallant's "Weight of Gold"
University of Delaware's Vocal Point sing Sia's "Alive"
Wagner College's Vocal Synergy sings Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You"
And the University of Delaware's Meludees are also there.
The Faux Paz go on stage right after Pandemonium, and Josh feels the adjustments they've made to their set (and group) are going to get them past Pandemonium this time.
Again, the sets in this episode are interspersed with talking heads and we don't see any full songs. But starting out Josh sounds okay. If you didn't know better, you might think Josh just had a gravelly kind of voice. As the tempo picks up, it seems more obvious that he's having issues, but again, I know what he should sound like, as do Rohan and Brian who are in the audience. Brian says it sounds like he wore out his voice. Josh is giving a great performance, but by the end I think even if you thought he was gravelly, there's still rough spots. We next see "Dog Days are Over" and Lynique is killing the solo. Rohan whispers that they might be screwed because the judges will not forget Lynique's solo. Lynique's dad and sister have been given prime box seats that are visible from the stage. Lynique says she could see them as she sang.
Backstage the group all comforts Josh that he sounded good. Josh says the judges don't know what he normally sounds like.
OTB goes on stage. "Ain't No Sunshine" starts them off. "End of an Era" has a tough note for Rohan, so he's worried. He nails it. Again, we're only seeing snippets, but Rohan is doing the very note slidey thing that Shams warned Sam about. It's consistent, so I assume it's a stylistic choice, but, in my opinion, Shams is right, it sounds like you don't think you can hit the note, so you slide up to it. There are very popular singers who do this, this is just my thought on this. Rohan does seem much more confident in this performance, and Jasmine has a moment with the male trio and is pumped that they nail the moment.
Offstage they are very happy with their performance. They thank Jasmine.
We get a little moment of Rohan and Brian fixing their hair.
While waiting for results, Rohan tells the group that he thought picking such a serious school meant giving up performing and they were just part of one of the best performances of his life.
It's time for the results.
3rd – Pandemonium
2nd – Vocal Synergy
1st – Faux Paz
The Faux Paz are thrilled. OTB is sad, but congratulates the Faux Paz. Jasmine says it sucks to work so hard, but she knows that performance was great. Brian says he'll be back. Lynique hugs her family. Faux Paz are going to the finals.