"The Sing-Off" hit a spooky note this week with a Halloween-themed group number that had the contestants howling. Seven groups were back this week to sing their hearts out and compete for the ultimate prize: $200,000 and a Sony Music recording contract. Although the group number might have been fun and games, their challenge this week was daunting: Each group performed a three-song medley from one of the most acclaimed artists in music. As always, the contestants had only their vocals to rely on as they reimagined classic tunes by artists as legendary as Elvis and Queen.
This week, it was Rochester University's Yellow Jackets, who were sent home after failing to impress with their Billy Joel medley, despite their being one of the largest groups left in the competition. Although they were consistently energetic and uplifting, they couldn't stack up against fellow all-male college groups Vocal Point and the Dartmouth Aires. This was also rap-heavy Urban Method's second week in the bottom two of their bracket, after the female vocalists in the group disappointed the judges in the last episode. They improved for this week but still failed to harness the confidence they needed to really blow Ben, Sara, and Shawn away. They are still in the competition but have a lot of work to do if they want to make it to the finale.
Last week's hip-hop theme threw most of our groups off their groove, but this week's superstar medley theme seemed tailored to bring out the best in our performers. Here are our top five songs from Week 7:
(5) Afro-Blue, Janet Jackson Medley
Janet Jackson's R&B style was perfect for this jazzy group from Howard University, notorious for their intricate arrangements. We got to see the spotlight on a few of their stunning female singers (who paid homage to Janet with their hairstyles), including the captivating Danielle, who stole the show. The re-emergence of their signature scatting was also fun to see. Despite how great a fit this artist was for them, Afro-Blue once again confused the judges with their overambitious arrangement and received their old critique of having overthought the song. It would be a shame to see these genius musicians leave the show, but it's very easy to get lost in their interpretation of the tunes.
(4) Pentatonix, Britney Spears Medley
Pentatonix put a primal, futuristic spin on three tunes from the Princess of Pop, making for a remarkable performance. Their medley sounded like a club remix, which suited their style perfectly and was a great fit for their middle song, "Toxic." They lost us towards the end with a highly synthetic-sounding mashup, but the judges appreciated their elaborate interpretation. There's no doubt that this five-member team has the talent to hang with the larger groups.
(3) Delilah, Alicia Keys Medley
Delilah continued to pull out of their rough patch this week with an emotional, rousing mashup of three Alicia Keys tunes. The all-girl group stayed firmly in their comfort zone with strong, dramatic vocals and the opportunity to rotate their powerhouse soloists (and once again, percussionist Gina stood out). Despite seamless transitions and superb harmonies, Delilah took no risks this week. It's hard to say whether they'll be able to stay on top once they have to leave their element.
(2) Vocal Point, Elvis Presley Medley
These BYU college buddies were challenged to balance paying tribute to Elvis through imitation and by adding their own style to the songs. After receiving criticism for their having pitch problems last week, Vocal Point had a lot to prove. Luckily, their Elvis assignment lent itself to the energy and enthusiasm that is their forte, and they were back with a vengeance. Their medley was consistently interesting, with major mood and genre changes -- the beginning was doo-wop heavy, and there was a dash of reggae in the middle, which Ben loved. Jake, their designated crooner, channeled his Week 3 ballad success with Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight" by taking on Elvis's "Can't Help Falling in Love." The highlight was the exuberant performance of "Jailhouse Rock" that closed their medley.
(1) Dartmouth Aires, Queen Medley
The Dartmouth Aires is the only group in "The Sing-Off" that could have been entrusted with a Queen medley, and they blew us away as expected. Even Sara, a self-professed huge Queen fan, proclaimed it her favorite performance of the entire competition. Shawn said it was like watching a play on Broadway, and Ben said he didn't think about Freddy Mercury for a second. It was speechlessly well done, and we could have listened to their "Bohemian Rhapsody" all night. Michael, our favorite frontman, once again displayed his superstar chops by closing the medley with a heartfelt rendition of "Somebody to Love." The Dartmouth Aires wins our hearts every week, and it's starting to seem like they're winning the competition.
"The Sing-Off" fans got another treat this week when last season's champions, Committed, stopped by to show off with a Chris Brown medley and remind us all why they dominated last season.
Tune in next week when our remaining contestants will try to avoid elimination by performing a rock anthem and a country hit in an exciting double challenge.
"The Sing-Off" airs Mondays at 8pm ET on NBC.
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