” purely a singing competition would be wrong. If that were true, Voices of Lee and Nota would have had the competition from day one. This is the TV version of an a capella competition where choreography, style and singing are all important in getting America’s vote.
The show kicks off with the three finalists singing U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” As you can imagine, with Nota, Voices of Lee and the Beelzebubs together, it was kind of magical. Not only because the best talent was on this rendition, but the groups are all hungry for the win and the words couldn’t mean more to them.
The show was packed with stars. “Heroes'” Masi Oka and “The School of Rock’s” Jack Black were in the audience. Voices of Lee sang with Natasha Bedingfield on “Pocketful of Sunshine.” The ‘Bubs’ sang an entrancing and funny rendition of “You Don’t Own Me” with judge Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls). Those boys will never wash those sweaters again. Nota joined Motown great Smokey Robinson on “The Tracks Of My Tears” He, of course, was too awesome to rehearse with the guys, so they kept their arrangement old school. There was a surprise group song with Nick Lachey on “It’s Not Like Christmas.” Judge Shawn Stockman performed with Boys II Men on The Beatles standard “Yesterday” and their mega-hit, “End of the Road” in a capella. Bobby McFerrin served up his usual nutty voice stylings with all three groups while straight-laced members of Voices of Lee looked very confused.
Group 1: Voices of Lee, “Stand By Me” by Ben King
The Voices of Lee sound gorgeous on this song. Its style allows for them to avoid choreography, an area in which they don’t shine. The lead singer is very strong. About 3/4 of the way though the song, though, I began to get bored. There wasn’t really any strong male singing, which I usually associate with the song.
Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) said that at first he didn’t get the group’s style, but now he gets it. He said that they’re definitely strong musically and harmonically. Sean calls them the “breakthrough” group of the competition. He says it was a pleasure to watch them grow. Nicole calls them her “choir of angels.” She feels the group moves listeners and, while they have strong leads, they’re able to sound like one voice.
Group 2: The Beelzebubs, “Where Is The Love” by Black Eyed Peas
Knowing the votes are in, I think the ‘Bubs’ picked something they could just have fun on: Freestyle dance, rap, and maybe not the strongest singing. They were entertaining, though, and isn’t that what the ‘Bubs’ are best at?
Nicole says she loved their song choice. She feels they make people smile. She also says they’re “‘Bub-tastic’ and infectious.” Ben says they’re like “what many people pray college guys are really like.” He adds that if anyone wanted to know why a capella is growing in popularity, the ‘Bubs’ could show them. Shawn said they epitomize what this show is all about. They’re fun and goofy, he says, but they’re also amazingly talented.
Group 3: Nota, “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers
This is the perfect song for the group. Again, they have strong leads, strong background vocals and percussion. The way they put their own swing on their songs was absolutely showcased in this performance.
Shawn says they have a “flava” unlike anyone in this competition. He finds all their bass, percussion, and rhythms amazing for just using their voices. Nicole says they showcase what the voice as an instrument can do. She loves how they incorporate the Latin elements. Ben says they’d make a good band. He thinks they bring a real freedom and generosity to their singing.
First elimination: Voices of Lee are eliminated!!! No surprises there. In my opinion, they just didn’t have the full entertainment package the viewing audience is looking for. Beautiful voices, boring performances.
The remaining groups, Nota and the ‘Bubs,’ then do a really fun rendition of “Why Can’t We Be Friends” with judge Ben Folds. I definitely felt all the judges, even with Ben’s awkward dancing and strange falsetto on this performance, proved why they were chosen to judge a competition like this. They are full package entertainers.
And the winners of the $100,000 and the Epic Records deal? NOTA!!! I’m not surprised. The beat boys from Puerto Rico dominated since day one. It was fun to see Jay Sean surprise the winners on the finale song, “Down”!
Watch their winning moment here:
What do you think? Should the ‘Bubs’ have won America’s hearts and votes? Was Voices of Lee shafted?
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Photo/Video Credit: NBC