The ACB Sing-Off Power Rankings, 2011: Round 3

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Welcome to the ACB Sing-Off Power Rankings! Before we get to the list, a quick review of what these rankings are all about:

•The Power Rankings are concerned with a group’s likelihood of a) surviving for another episode and b) winning The Sing-Off. While overall quality of a group will certainly have an impact on a group’s ranking, it is not necessarily the primary consideration of these rankings.
•The Power Rankings are, in a sense, cumulative. While the most recent performances will affect movement in the rankings, we still have to keep an eye on the bigger picture of how a group is doing (for example, if a group that was previously in last place gives the best performance this week, it doesn’t mean they’ll shoot to number one, but it is likely that they will move up).
•The Power Rankings will be based largely upon my personal opinion, but may also take into account judges’ on-air input, live audience reaction, and Internet buzz. Please note that I have not heard any spoilers, so the content of these rankings is purely conjecture.
•The Power Rankings will only consider active groups—that is, groups that have not yet been eliminated from the show.
•The Power Rankings will appear following each round of competition. A round will be defined as one full cycle of each active group performing.
•The number in parentheses after a group’s name indicates where the group ranked in the preceding round’s list.

1. Pentatonix (3) This week, Pentatonix put forth its most fully imagined Sing-Off performance to date with “Video Killed the Radio Star.” They’re filling out their sound nicely. The percussion/sound effects guy is getting bolder. Perhaps most importantly of all, the judges are eating up everything Pentatonix does with a spoon. This group has, quite arguably, become the front runner to take the competition.

2. Afro-Blue (1) Despite another top-notch performance, and earning heaps of praise from the judges, Afro-Blue somehow still wound up in the bottom two this week. Granted, with double eliminations, that isn’t as dire as it sounds, but it still makes the audience question if the group really does have a chance of going all the way.

3. Vocal Point (6) The best thing going for Vocal Point is the group’s versatility. No two performances have sounded quite the same from them, their energy has been explosive, and the guys set themselves apart from the pack this week by taking their guilty pleasure seriously and going all out to deliver a memorable performance. Now that the group is complete again, look for them to really start turning heads down the stretch.

4. Urban Method (4) By the judges’ accounts, Urban Method should probably be ranked higher, and hip-hop week certainly favors them. Furthermore, we saw something new and encouraging from the group this week—an ability to let loose and actually have some fun. I still question the longevity of an act this gimmicky, though, and while I’m quite confident they’ll be safe until at least episode 7, I’m very skeptical rappella will make the final three.

5. The Collective (10) Out of the shadows and into the light, The Collective has figured out how to work as a unit at just the right time to make them viable contenders in this competition. No, they don’t have much of a shot at winning The Sing-Off, but against the odds, they’re no longer clear-cut favorites to go home after another episode.

6. The Dartmouth Aires (5) The Aires fell into the guilty pleasures trap this week, settling for a lame performance that befits the lame theme, rather than making the moment their own. Pair this lackluster performance with the judges’ first serious criticisms and the group is looking more vulnerable than it has up to this point. Hip-hop tends to serve all-male groups well, so I expect they’ll be OK for next week, but things could get dicey from there.

7. The Yellow Jackets (8) The YJs dug deep into the collegiate a cappella humor treasure chest this week, combining a cross-gender pop selection with over-the-top choreography, funny accents, and mostly good musicality to remain vital for another episode. It will be interesting to see if the mostly classically-trained musicians can find their groove in hip-hop week. I would rate them higher on this list, but as the field gets smaller, comparisons between The YJs, Vocal Point, and The Aires are only going to grow more inevitable, and I don’t see the boys from Rochester surviving a shoot out.

8. Delilah (7) The ladies returned to the brink of elimination this week and, indeed, a lot of the viewing audience seems to have been in agreement they should have been sent home, rather than North Shore. Hip hop week could be huge for Delilah—if they can pull off the butt-kicking swagger of a Divisi or Noteworthy, this could be an opportunity for them to shock the competition and vault themselves back into the top five. After two straight weeks in the bottom two, though, and an uninspired effort on “What A Feeling,” I am not liking their chances.