In honor of this week’s episode of The Sing-Off, here are my top twenty performances from the first two seasons. The major take-away here: Season 2 blew Season 1 out of the water, which is good news for Season 3 if that trend continues. I provided videos for your listening and watching pleasure.
20) I’m Yours – Nota (Season 1)
This performance, one of the first viewers ever saw, starts out rough, but the minute the guys in Nota kicked in that Latin flair, the magic of The Sing-Off became apperent. With talent and imagination, these singers could do anything to these songs, and no one added in their own flair quite like Nota.
19) Sweet Caroline – Beelzebubs (Season 1)
This is not remembered as one of the Beelzebubs better performances, but give credit where credit is due. The guys had livelier tracks, sure, but they were never this pitch perfect or goffily sincere. A flawless performance of a silly song.
18) Live Your Life – On the Rocks (Season 2)
No one ever had as much fun on the stage as these guys, and that’s saying something considering this stage has seen the likes of legendary goofballs like the ‘Bubs. On the Rocks was consistent but never had a “steal the spotlight” moment. However, I would be remiss if I did not include their most light-hearted, rockingest performance.
17) Down on the Corner – Street Corner Symphony (Season 2)
Street Corner Symphony was well-established as a front-runner by this point, but unlike Commited, they didn’t rest on their laurels. Note their signature here: they insert their name into the lyrics.
16) Come Sail Away – Beelzebubs (Season 1)
Not the ‘Bubs greatest performance, but it was their most ambitious. You try cutting Come Sail Away down to a minute and a half!
15) Grace Kelly – The Yale Whiffenpoofs (Season 2)
These guys did not live up to their pedigree, but it was fun while it lasted. Off-stage they seemed cocky and off-putting, stiff, but during this cover, they were legit as can be.
14) Hey Soul Sister – Street Corner Symphony (Season 2)
This cover announced Street Corner Symphony’s arrival and told Committed that they would not simply be walking away with the title. A nice groove, a killer breakdown, a fresh take on an overplayed song.
13) Journey Medley – The SoCals (Season 1)
They were so theatrical, so cheesy, so Glee… and I kind of like them. This was their best performance.
12) Love Shack – The Backbeats (Season 2)
The judges worried the ballad lovers in The Backbeats would never be able to loosen up and have some fun on stage. Proved them wrong, didn’t they?
11) Down – Nota (Season 1)
This performance is considered Nota’s signature moment. I like it less then others, but you have to give in when that dance-break gives in.
10) The House of the Rising Sun – Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town (Season 2)
Jerry Lawson was pretty much just resting on his legacy until this performance basically exploded my brain. These were some classy dudes, and it translated into one truly memorable moment for them.
9) Creep – Street Corner Symphony (Season 2)
I just love this song. If they sang it in tune, it would have ranked this high. They did so much more than merely sing it in tune.
8) Magical Mystery Tour – Beelzebubs (Season 1)
This is the song which introduced us to The Sing-Off. A giant bus on stage. The guys acting out an acid trip. Random flailing and funny-faces. And Sing-Off fans said, “Yep, I’m in.”
7) Jackson 5 Medley – Nota (Season 1)
This was Nota’s best performance. Eeverything I didn’t like about them worked here. Their take on “I’ll Be There” is beautiful.
6) Cooler Than Me – Groove for Thought (Season 2)
For one shining moment, Groove for Thought was the coolest thing to ever sashay across the Sing-Off stage. They pretty much disintegrated the following week, but I have to give credit where credit is due: this cover was the bomb.
5) The Who Medley – Beelzebubs (Season 1)
The best performance from Season 1, riding the back of a really emotional “Behind Blue Eyes.” And the ‘Bubs showed they could really rock out.
4) Apologize – Committed (Season 2)
This performance had Shawn throwing his arms up in the air. Nothing to comment on. It’s true. This take on OneRepublic won them the competition in Week 2. They never had to put on a performance this great again – and unfortunately they didn’t.
3) Fix You – Street Corner Symphony (Season 2)
My favorite Sing-Off moment. The other contestants coming out was a surpise. A surprisingly moving surprise. I know I had a little dust in my eye during this performance.
2) This Love – Committed (Season 2)
The best arrangement on this show, ever. Period. (The performance starts at 1:40)
1) Landslide – The Backbeats (Season 2)
And yet… I had to give the edge to the Backbeats for “Landslide.” The Backbeats were late bloomers, but they hit a grand slam when it came time to vote for the winner. They got my vote on this performance alone. It is the most starkly beautiful thing I have heard come from an a capella group. not just on this show. Ever. It’s that cello, man. That is some good cello.