Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Sing-Off Season 3 Finale

So now I'm avoiding Twitter and Facebook in case there are any spoilers.  Because tonight is the Live (on the East Coast) finale!

As you recall, I was torn last week, and decided not to vote.  I held to that only because I totally forgot about it. 

Group Performance: "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson
I like that sexy, slow opening.  I also like how the Aires finally get to sing directly with girls. :)  That was a pretty cool arrangement.

Pentatonix spent their charity time with The Trevor Project, which provides help to bullied kids. 

Pentatonix: "Without You" by David Gueta feat. Usher
I didn't really like that opening.  This is now the time where I wish that they could have done last week's show live, so that we could hear them without any fancy editing to influence our votes.  No, I don't mean that they do their songs over, but sound levels and such make a strong impact on performances.  Here, it's a negative effect for me.  Don't get me wrong: I like Pentatonix.  I just wonder how much of the other shows were more "produced" than tonight.

A little ditty from Vocal Point: "The Way You Look Tonight"
Oh, Will Arnett lookalike, how I've missed you.

Urban Method donated food to the Sickle Cell Foundation.

Urban Method: "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine
I'm again wondering about production, but not as much as with Pentatonix.   

The Dartmouth Aires helped out Saving Strokes.

Dartmouth Aires: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf
Michael's just awesome, and he's a good guy, too!  Awwww.  Wait.  Who's that girl?  She looks familiar.  Oh, that's Amy from Delilah.  How nice of her to join them!  

Now it's time for the groups to sing with the regulars.

Pentatonix with Nick Lachey: "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" by 98 Degrees
I like how NIck said that they were the boy band that *didn't* dance.  I was going to type that they sound great, then I heard a bad pitch, and then a bad chord.  But they redeemed themselves.  

A little ditty from The Deltones: "Edge of Glory"

Urban Method with Sara Bareilles: "Gonna Get Over You" by Sara Bareilles
They're kind of overpowering her sound, and hello, she's the LEAD.  

 A little ditty from Afro-Blue: "Let Your Hair Down" 
I think that Shawn would have sung with Afro-Blue if they had made the finals.  That would have been awesome.  Alas, no.

Dartmouth Aires (with the studio audience), conducted by Ben Folds: "Not the Same"
See?  Shawn's not singing with any of the groups!    Instead, we're being told what to do by Ben, and I heard a bad note from Mr. Folds (ssshhh...don't tell him I said so).    Shawn isn't even singing in this song.  

A little ditty from the Yellowjackets: "And Then It Goes Back" (or something)

All-Girls: "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin
Go, Girls!!!  That was cool.  Except for that last weird chord.  Loved seeing all of the diva-ness.

A little ditty from North Shore: "The Lazy Song"

All-Boys: "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen
Awww. why aren't they all wearing sexy Springsteen jeans?  I would have liked that.  I like hearing the leads together.  Great job!  That was my favorite of the night.

A little ditty from Delilah: "Grenade"  She sang that while siting down?!  Wow.

Folger's commercials without Rockapella during "The Sing-Off"?!  Sacrilege!

Smokey Robinson with Afro-Blue: "You've Really Got A Hold On Me"
See, even Smokey wants to sing with A-B.  That was a nice balance between Smokey and the group.   They could be his new Miracles.  :)

A little ditty from The Collective: "I Will Survive"


3rd place: Urban Method
Can we please lay the "rapapella" word to rest for now?  Or forever, whatevs.  You know, because I'm not the one that coined the word.  ;)

Urban Method's Swan Song: "Coming Home" by Diddy Dirty Money & Skylar Grey
Aw, she's crying.  It's really difficult to sing like that.

Now we get to look back on the journeys for the top 2.

The Dartmouth Aires' Michael needs a recording contract.  If not with the Aires, then some other way, because the man has major talent.  

Pentatonix is just too cool and innovative for words.  So what were they called when they were just a trio?  Did they ever say that?  Kristi looks like she's going to cry no matter what happens.

1st place: Pentatonix

New Champions Pentatonix song: "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

So the Aires don't get a swan song?  Bummer.

Next week:  Sing-Off Christmas, Live

I don't think that I'll be blogging about that one, so until next season...Sing.  Sing a song.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I've been excited about "The Muppets" ever since I heard that it was in production, so this year's choice for our Friday-after-Thanksgiving movie was a no-brainer.  Brady, V, Bro, Linda and I went to the theater near my parents' house to see the show.  There was so much traffic that we ended up late for our first time choice, but since it was starting pretty much every hour, we just waited for the next one and passed the time by walking around the adjacent strip mall.   We were able to get some good seats when we finally got into the theater, and settled in for some Muppet action.  Whoo Hoo!

  • I like Walter.  He's sincere and such a big fan, like the rest of us, and believes in them, like the rest of us.  He also faints like many of us would probably do if we met Kermit.  I agree with another post on a website that he looks like Ted Mosby from "How I Met Your Mother", which cracks me up because his co-star is Jason Segel, just as Ted's portrayer, Josh Radnor co-stars with J.S. on his show.
  • V thinks that Amy Adams is perfect casting for this movie, and I agree.  I just didn't like her songs.   I did like her singing in "Enchanted", so her voice is not an issue for me.  I think it's just that those particular pieces did not resonate in me.
  • The new songs that I really enjoyed the most, though, were Kermit's "Pictures In My Head" (made me cry), and Gary and Walter's duet "Man or Muppet". 
  • I loved, loved, loved the cover songs of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Forget You" and "We Built This City".   "The Whistling Caruso" was very well done.
  • Not really a cover since they changed the words: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by the barbershop quartet was made with awesomesauce.  
  • The classic Muppets songs made me very happy:  "The Muppet Show" theme song made me smile, "Rainbow Connection" had me in sentimental tears, and "Mah Na Mah Na" got me bouncing like it was supposed to do.  
  • The chemistry between Kermit and Miss Piggy is still palpable, and their story was a very current one, featuring Miss Piggy's need for independence vs. her need to be with Kermit.
  • The cameos were perfect!  I loved who played Miss Piggy's secretary at Vogue Paris, I loved who played Walter's human mirror, and I loved the people working the marathon.  And, WHOA!  Dude sitting on the park bench in the opening number!  
  • A-NI-MAL! A-NI-MAL!  I heart him very much, and I loved that he had his own little storyline.  I want those Angel and Devil Animals.
  • I had forgotten how much The Muppet Show loved to tear down that 4th wall, but remembered when I saw them do it again here.  "...this will be a really short movie."  I giggled for a while after that (then started to cry when they started reciting the lines from their theme song).
We all loved the movie.  I need to get the soundtrack.  I need to get the DVD when it gets released.  I need to get those Animal Angel and Devil dolls if they make them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Sing-Off 3.8

It's the Final Four.  

Group Performance: Mash-up of a bunch of songs by Gwen Stefani, The Verve, Katy Perry and The Who

I'm really annoyed by Nick saying that a challenge is "all-vocal".  What the hell else would it be on this show, Nick?!  OK, I know that he's reading a teleprompter, but he needs to say something to the writers of this show, or else I'll continue to think he's an idiot.

First Challenge:  Master Mix of 2 songs with different tempos and styles

Pentatonix: "Forget You" by Cee-Lo Green and "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
The key of the Cee-Lo is too low for the female lead, because she had an intonation problem in her solo.  I don't really like the chord progression of the KC song.  I like the way the lyrics in the mash-up mix, but I don't like the music.  I do agree that the rhythm section was great, though.

Urban Method: "Hot in Here" by Nelly and "Fever" by Peggy Lee

Ooh, those are really differently styled songs.  Let's see how they do.  I like that!  Go, girls with the "I wanna take my clothes off" move!  Sexy.  See?  Sara agrees with me.  

Afro-Blue: "I Believe I Can Fly" by R Kelly and "Fly" by Nicki MInaj & Rihanna
A little trouble with those opening chords, guys.  It got a lot better, though, and turned into the lush jazz that I'm used to from them.  The rap kicked butt, Mariah!

Dartmouth Aires: "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga and "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones
So what's with the palm leaf fans?  Is that a devil thing?  I like the pause before the battle between the leads.  Very cool.  

My pick for this set:  Urban Method

Second Challenge: Judges' Pick

Pentatonix: "Dog Days are Over" by Florence + the Machine
I like how they start the song slower than I'm used to, then the beat picks up.  They did this song really well, and redeemed themselves from the first song.  19 year olds?!  Wow, that's incredible.  

Urban Method: "All of the Lights" by Kanye West
I don't think it's much of a challenge to give a hip-hop song to the hip-hop group.  Oh, they want to combine talents.  I see.  Ooh, what was that spacey sound that they all did together?  That was neato.  

Afro-Blue: "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
That's a great choice of song for them.  Kristi's voice is really smooth and comforting, I just sit back and smile when I listen to it.  Sara, if y'all didn't confuse them along the way, you sure as hell confused me.  Thank you for accepting who they are, even if it's just for today.  

Dartmouth Aires: "Shout" by The Isley Brothers
This should be fun!  But, wait.  If you want them to show that they're not just entertainers but also  recording artists, then why would you give them a song that is automatically entertaining?  I don't get it, but I do love the way they perform this song.  Michael's very bendy.  

This is a diffcult one....my pick for this challenge is Afro-Blue.


Moving on to the finale:  Urban Method & Pentatonix

I'm so tired of Afro-Blue being in the bottom, especially when other groups' pitch issues are brought up, and they don't have that problem most of the time.  

Reprise do-or-die encore for Afro-Blue: "American Boy" from episode 3.2.1
Dartmouth Aires: "Somebody to Love" from episode 3.5
Hmm...both of those were the favorites of the judges...but they're considering that song along with all of the other live performances from the season.

Sara's choice:  Dartmouth Aires (emotionally moved her every time)
Shawn's choice: Afro-Blue (could have a long-standing career in music)
BTW, I'm feeling like this is contrived, but whatever.
Ben's choice: Dartmouth Aires (going with the most consistent)

You all know how I feel about the judges trying to change Afro-Blue's style every frickin' week.  So just imagine how annoyed I am at this moment.  How is someone supposed to be consistent when they're being told that their own style is wrong every week? AUGH!

Afro-Blues' swan song: "We've Only Just Begun" by The Carpenters
Man, how could they let this group go home?!  Stupid judges.  The song was gorgeous.  

So it's our turn to vote.  Hmmmm....I really don't have a favorite out of the remaining 3, nor do I hate any of them enough to vote against them.  So maybe I'll just sit out from this voting session.  Or maybe I just won't tell anyone in this post.  :)

Next week:  The Finale

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DLR LotD 11/19/11

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"We just take the duck fat and spread it all over." -- Valerie, at Catal

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Sing-Off 3.7

We're down to the top 5, and it's R&B night.

Group Performance:Medley of  "I Feel Good" by James Brown, "ABC" by The Jackson 5, "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce

First Challenge: Contemporary R&B

Dartmouth Aires: "Ignition (Remix)" by R Kelly
Uh-oh, they're getting really intense in rehearsal.  I don't know this song.  I like the "bounce bounce", though.  I heard a couple of dissonant chords in there that my ear didn't like, but they're fun, as usual.  Shawn's all tripping out on the sexy stuff.  I'd like to hear them do all of "Trapped in the Closet", too, Ben.  :)

Um, Nick:  aren't all of the groups here an "all-vocal crew"?  WTF?!

Urban Method: "Knock You Down" by Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West
Yeah, I don't know this song, either.  Again we're seeing that Katie has the strongest voice out of all of the women.  Maybe they should force the other gals to sing a power song so that they can get the confidence they need, too.  

Vocal Point: "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown
I thought they were doing contemporary stuff?  I guess that doesn't mean "songs Sherry doesn't know".  ;)  They wear their names on their sleeves.  Some of these chords are just not working for me, guys, probably because people are not in tune.  I like that all of the vocal percussionists get to show off with this genre.  Tanner got to shine in this one!  I love how Shawn is jealous of the bass men.  Is Sara the only one with ears?  How did the other judges get so snowed by all of the dancing?  I mean, the dancing was fun, but the intonation was not as good as it should have been at this point in the competition.  Maybe it's a sound balance thing that's off on the TV and not in the studio.  Or maybe it's because I'm listening more than I'm watching so my senses aren't all distracted.  

Afro-Blue: "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey
Uh-oh.  There are a lot of lyrics to remember.  The tempo is slower than I prefer, but they sound really good.  Ack, except for that one chord.  She has sparkly eyeshadow.  Now Ben feels like they're really getting somewhere.  Oh, Ben.  They were somewhere a long time ago.  Sometimes I feel like the judges' comments on the arranging are being said by the producers of the show who only want something they can control later on with the record company.  

Pentatonix: "OMG" by Usher feat. Will.I.Am
Aw, Kevin is having a hard time with the explicit lyrics.  So they couldn't pick a different song?  I feel like the key is too low for the lead, but they pulled it off well.

My pick for this challenge goes to Pentatonix.

Second Challenge:  Classic R&B

Dartmouth Aires: "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips
A couple of chords were off, but I love hearing Michael sing.  Sometimes there are just too many of them singing and it takes away from how simple the song should sound.  

Urban Method: "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers
There's more strength from the women! Thank you!  

Vocal Point: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations
OK, y'all know that I KNOW this song.  :)  Wait. They don't have a girl on stage to drag around.  They did not disappoint me, making sure that they use Temps moves in their choreography. Where did Ben get the soul for that last run?  And why didn't he use it for the whole song?  Show them how it's done, Shawn!  

Afro-Blue: "Best of My Love" by The Emotions
I absolutely love this song, so I'm glad that it's this group singing it.  Interesting transitions to their jazzy style and back to the original.  That made me smile a lot.  So, what is it, Judges?  Do you want them to do their style or don't you?  Augh!

Pentatonix: "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
Wait.  So Kevin is OK with these lyrics?  That was awesome, and Shawn sure loved it!  

My pick for this challenge:  Pentatonix

Moving on to next week: Pentatonix, Urban Method, Dartmouth Aires, and Afro-Blue

Vocal Point's Swan Song:  "Let Me Go Home" by Michael Buble
Oh, Will Arnett Lookalike, I'll miss you.

Next week:  America gets to vote

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DLR LotD 11/11/11

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day

Friday, November 11, 2011

"That rat just keeps getting me down." -- Jack Skellington, to Sherry, when she asked if he could take off his head to recite Shakespearean quotations, in New Orleans Square

Sally, Sherry, Linda and Jack

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Sing-Off 3.6

Yay!  I have no idea who goes home tonight as I watch!

Group Performance: "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire
That was a lt of guys on that one circle.  They all did that song well together  I'm starting to think that I need an Arcade Fire CD, because I think that's the second song I've heard by them that I like.

I didn't know that Shawn Stockman is an "R&B Bad Boy."  OK, Nick.

First Challenge: Classic Rock

Pentatonix: "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
I feel like Scott needs to have more growl in his voice for this song.  His voice sounds a little too pretty, but I understand the need for keeping on pitch and sounding clear when you're singing a cappella in a quintet, so that you don't lead the rest of the group to the path of unrighteous flatness or sharpness.  The breakdown was really cool, though, as usual.

Dartmouth Aires: "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister
Uh-oh, Jack left for graduate school.  Good luck, Jack!  There's a rock growl!  Of course, with so many of them, they have a little bit of wiggle room to play with the pitch a little, which they didn't need here anyway.  That was fun.  Their shredded leather coats were wacky.  See?  Shawn mentioned the rock growl!  

Afro-Blue: "American Girl" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
If Afro-Blue loses because their harmonies are too complex for the mainstream, then I say, "way to go on staying true to yourselves".  Alas, they've simplified themselves a little bit for this song.  I understand the need to win, but, well, whatever.  I'll get off of my soapbox.  I liked the addition of the National Anthem. Sara, you didn't see them in the song because they're trying to conform to your previous coaching about being too complex.  You judges are making me crazy and confused.  Don't let me step on that soapbox again.

Delilah: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
I think Amy's voice needed to be less breathy at the beginning, because it sounded weak, maybe because it was too low for her.  Later on, she sounds great, being all Steven Tyler screamy.  Cool!  Maybe she was faking the weak thing after all.  :)  I agree with Ben about the fan effect.

Urban Method: "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake
Well, that rocked with the awesome rap!  Since I don't really know much more of the melody than what they did, it worked for me.  Do you see how they didn't compromise their identity for the challenge?  I like that.  

Vocal Point: "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks
I like that opening!  Rocked that high note at the end, too!  That was fun.

My pick for this challenge:  Urban Method

Second Challenge:  New Country

Dartmouth Aires: "Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy" by Big & Rich
Cute props.  I feel like the background vocals were too loud and overshadowed the leads' voices.  How cute, with the hats down for Sara!  

Afro-Blue: "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum
OK, I'm tired of this song, so I hope they get me out of that funk.  They sang that better than LA.  Of course, it helps that the lead voice is that of my favorite gal in the group: Christy.  

Urban Method: "Before He Cheats' by Carrie Underwood
Go, girl!  I like Katie's rockin' voice.  

Delilah: "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry
I don't know this song (from the title), and I've never heard of the original artist.  Oh, wait.  I do know this song.  Nice blend at the beginning, but I didn't really like the ending chords.  

Vocal Point: "Life Is A Highway" by Rascal Flatts
Is the first lead rushing the rhythm, or am I not hearing it right?  They just have so much fun up there! OK, so it wasn't just me: Sara heard the rushing, too.  

Pentatonix: "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland
What a cute song that I've never heard before.  I'm wondering if she was having pitch problems at the beginning, or if she meant to do that whole vocal slide thing.  

My pick for this round: Afro-Blue

Staying for next week:  Pentatonix, Urban Method, Darmouth Aires, Vocal Point and Afro-Blue

Well, that one scared me.

Delilah's Swan Song: "Survivor" by Destiny's Child
Nice way to let most of the gals have a piece of the lead.  I wish they enunciated better, though.

Next Week:  R&B.  You know, they should do jazz one week, just to see if anyone but Afro-Blue can sing that genre.