The ACB Sing-Off Power Rankings, 2011: Round 7

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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 (1) The little engine that could kept on running this week, turning in arguably their best performance of the season with “Let’s Get It On.” Excluding a total meltdown next week, I don’t see any way this group doesn’t go to the finals. Given the way in which the judges have pushed them since they first appeared on the show, and the way the group has delivered in recent weeks, the competition as a whole is truly Pentatonix’s to lose.

2. Urban Method (4) Anyone who has followed The ACB’s coverage of The Sing-Off knows I’ve never really been sold on this act. Nonetheless, with the judges behind them, and with the female contingent clicking into place in the late stages of this competition, the group does have every opportunity to do what looked all but impossible for them two or three weeks ago—arrive at the finals. How much of the viewing audience is going to vote for them over Pentatonix, though? Let’s just say I don’t like their chances.

3. The Dartmouth Aires (3) One of the really interesting things about The Aires is how they’ve never been in the bottom two this season, but I would suspect they were on the verge of it plenty of times. Independent of the standards of Sing-Off competition, The Aires are an exceptional a cappella group. In this competitive context, though, they’ve been a bit middling and considering their entire body of work, are quite arguably the weakest group left in the competition. I say all of this to arrive at the point that, despite never directly facing elimination, The Aires remain entirely vulnerable on the penultimate show of the season. If they do fight their way into a finals slot, though, a public vote can get really unpredictable, and a network of Dartmouth students and alums just might carry this dark horse to a photo finish.

4. Afro-Blue (5) It was essentially anyone’s guess whether Afro-Blue or Vocal Point were headed home this week after they were announced as the bottom two. Both group have been frontrunners for much of the season, both groups struggled a bit in recent weeks. Assuming that the judges only eliminate one group next week, and allow for three finalists, the pressure is on Afro-Blue to take hold of its emotional center and deliver performances that are complex without overwhelming the audience. As this past episode’s surprise elimination proved, no one is really safe, so Afro-Blue does have every chance to hang on and survive this last judge-determined elimination. Nonetheless, with more appearances in the bottom two than any other remaining group (and the most recent appearance) you have to believe the Howard University kids are the underdogs.