Despite what judges called a “stellar” performance by Danielle Withers, team Afro-Blue still found itself in the nail-biting bottom two Monday on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”
This is the third time in four weeks the Howard University-based group has found itself up for elimination. But its members say they aren’t ready to give up the fight.
“Music is my life, it’s what I love to do,” said Withers, 27, of Mason. “It’s so amazing that I get to share this with the world.”
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The weekly series hosted by Nick Lachey follows 16 a cappella groups from across the country as they compete for a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000 cash prize.
On Monday, the top five teams were challenged to perform two numbers: a contemporary R&B song and a classic Motown track.
Afro-Blue first performed what judges called an emotional rendition of Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.” The group, which has been criticized by judges for “over-thinking” their arrangements in recent weeks, broke through and earned kudos for their mix.
“I think you guys are starting to understand the method behind arranging. That is what it’s all about: Not owning the song, but letting the song own you. You guys did that,” said judge Shawn Stockman.
Withers, a 2002 Mason graduate, took the vocal lead in the group’s second performance of the evening, “Best of My Love” by The Emotions, earning rave reviews by judges for her sound and presence.
“Danielle, when I think about you, I think about personality,” gushed judge Sara Bareilles. “You are a little bright shining star on stage. It’s been really fun to see you at that.”
Judges Ben Folds and Stockman admired the group’s signature Jazz style and said they delivered a “solid performance,” but said the group had holes in their chorus and that the number came undone in certain spots.
“It wasn’t exactly percolating like I know that you can do, but it was a lot of fun and you grabbed onto the groove and never let it go,” said Folds.
In the end, Afro-Blue found itself in a familiar position alongside Vocal Point in the bottom two groups considered for elimination. Judges eliminated Vocal Point, saying the group played it too safe and had toning issues.
Afro-Blue will advance as one of the final four teams to perform in the last taped show on Monday. Voting will be opened to the public after next week’s performance. The finale airs live on Monday, Nov. 28 (8 p.m., Channel 5).
View videos of Afro-Blue’s performances after the jump.
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