The 3 Gs of The Sing-Off: Season 3, Episode 11

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In addition to full reviews of each episode of The Sing-Off, this season we will offer extended coverage most weeks via the 3 Gs format.

Great: Represents my thoughts on the best performance(s) of the night—these are the star-makers, the tearjerkers, the ones we’re all going to remember.

Gone: Represents my thoughts on the final showings from the group(s) we’re seeing for the last time in a given week.

Give it a second look: Represents the act(s) you might not remember, or that we might not have expected much from, but which delivered just the same, and deserve another listen.

Here are my thoughts from this week’s episode:

Great
NBC gives Pentatonix just one night with Nick Lachey. Early in the season, I knocked Pentatonix time and again because I didn’t think they sounded full enough in the middle. Lo and behold, with Nick on the solo mic, the bass and perc well in place, and the other three vocalists freed up to harmonize, the group delivered its surest, fullest sound to date on “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche).” Couple that with a perfectly sultry Spanish interlude from the female lead and you have yet another elite selection to add to the Pentatonix canon.

The Aires want to sleep on it, but Amy needs to know right now. As good as The Aires have been, and without trying to disrespect the Dartmouth boys, I just can’t imagine they would have reached the finals without Michael’s solos. So how do you take the group to the next level? I know! Pair your existing male lead with arguably the most scintillating female soloist in Sing-Off history and let the two of them riff off one another on a Meatloaf classic. My only problem with this performance? The mere taste of what Michael and Amy might accomplish in a permanent a cappella partnership, just as the show is ending. More, please!

Gone

Urban Method is going home. Like so much of The Sing-Off viewership, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Urban Method, recognizing their moments of brilliance and balking at their shortcomings. The debate will surely continue for some time about whether this group was truly innovative or if rap-appella was gimmicky and far less original than the judges made it out to be. Just the same, it was cool to hear the group wind up its run with “Coming Home”—a song that highlighted the group’s female contingent that came into its own in the late stages of the competition, while giving their rapping front man plenty of room to ply his trade as the crew walked off stage.

The Aires finish second. Who would have thought The Aires would go this far the world’s most-watched a cappella competition? The guys had quite a run, in the process developing the truest solo star in Sing-Off history in the form of front man Michael, and solidifying their niche as a top notch rock-n-roll-infused musical theatre company that happens to perform without instruments. Not a bad legacy.

Give it a second look

Afro-Blue has really got a hold on Smokey. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t like Afro-Blue’s performance of “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” but let's step back to think about what just happened here—Afro-Blue… got to sing… with Smokey Robinson. How cool is that? Better yet, apparently no one informed the Howard U kids of the concept of phoning it in, because they more than held up their end of the bargain on what could have been a throw-away number, layering their harmonies and delivering what was quite possibly the prettiest sound of the night.

Presenting… the natural women. Sure, the guys may have had a little more firepower on their tribute to “The Boss,” but take a minute to consider what the ladies of season three accomplished on their ensemble number. With all due respect (and with a few notable exceptions) when I hear an all-female group is going to sing “Natural Woman” I tend to roll my eyes, if just for the sheer cliché of it. But when you have the collection of talent and raw strength evident in this collection, the result is an altogether different song. Excellent performance.