Tomas Hertl and the Cautionary Tale of Petr Prucha

 By: Michael Abitabilo

With his highlight reel goals and million-dollar smile, San Jose Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl has taken the NHL by storm this season (while agitating some hockey purists along the way).  His Czech pedigree and rare combination of size and skill have led to more than one comparison between Hertl and his boyhood idol, Jaromir Jagr. (Of course, Hertl’s blatant imitation of Jagr helped feed that beast.)

The Sing Off Season 4 Finale! Plus Season 4’s Top 10 Performances

By: Brian Mangan

(Ed: I will be updating this post with reviews and updating the Top 10 List with videos and links as the night goes on.  Stay tuned!)

Prior reviews:  Episodes 1 & 2Episode 3Episode 4, Episode 5, and Episode 6!

Before I get into the review of the finale, a few words to everyone reading.  Thank you!  It’s a pleasure to read and review a cappella and to have gotten feedback from so many people over the last two weeks.  Special props in particular to the members of Vocal Rush, who linked us on their official facebook page (www.facebook.com/osavocalrush) and to the members of the Filharmonic who were nice enough to add us on facebook!  Now, @benfolds, answer my tweets!

Finale Recap!

The Sing Off Season 4, Episode 6: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Home Free

By: Brian Mangan

Prior reviews:  Episodes 1 & 2Episode 3Episode 4, and Episode 5

Episode 6: Movie Night

Only four groups remain!

We noted last episode that, rather than distinguish a group or two as the cream of the crop, the groups all put up good performances that served only to bunch them closer together.   The Filharmonic dropped back to the pack, Home Free continued in their own style, Ten finally launched a hit which made them serious contenders, and Vocal Rush came back from a lackluster week to show that their Episode 1 powerhouse was not a fluke.  All the groups here in the final four have definitely earned it.

Before getting into the reviews, one observation.  I, like many people, have been waiting all season for a group to make the leap that Pentatonix took in Season 3 (and Committed took in Season 2) to emerge as a group clearly destined for stardom.  However, after five episodes of competition (before tonight) it appears that none of the remaining groups are poised to do that.

The Sing Off Season 4: Episode 5 Recap and Reviews

By: Brian Mangan

Prior reviews:  Episodes 1 & 2, Episode 3, Episode 4

All six groups will be competing in this episode, and two will be eliminated.  As of last episode, we had the groups ranked as such:

Strongest Contenders: Filharmonic (A+, A), Acoustikats (A-, A+)

Wild Cards: VoicePlay (A-, B+), Home Free (B+, A-)

In Danger: Vocal Rush (B-, A), Ten (B+, B+)

Edit: This ended up being one of the strangest Sing Off episodes I’ve ever seen.  The individual performances this week were all very good, but none were great, and they did nothing to really help distill my understanding of what these groups can do.  The group sing off’s at the end were also entertaining, but as one of the judges mentioned (I think it was Jewel), there were no clear winners or losers. At least they were fun — this season of the Sing Off has actually done a great job showing how fun the art form can be in general.  In any event, on to the individual performances:

The Sing Off Season 4: Episode 4 Review

By: Brian Mangan

Prior Reviews:  Episode 1&2, Episode 3

Episode 4

(Before getting into the episode itself, I’ve had a few people ask me about my bona fides to judge an a cappella singing competition.  See my by-line at the bottom for a quick CV)

Last time these groups performed, we noted the following:

Home Free is a Top 3 contender with a lead and bass combo that might be unparalleled in the competition. Austin Brown might be the breakout star of the competition, even if Home Free fails.  Vocal Rush had a great first performance but an underwhelming second performance, and I’m worried that the young kids lack the horses to compete.