Dartmouth Aires advance to final episode of ‘The Sing-Off'

by Marina Shkuratov | 11/21/11 11:00pm

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by Maggie Rowland and Maggie Rowland / The Dartmouth

For their second song, the Aires performed "Shout" by the Isley Brothers, a song chosen for them by the judges. The group delivered an interactive performance, mingling with audience members throughout their rendition, dancing in the aisles and even bringing the microphones directly to the judges at one point for them to join in.

Stockman praised the Aires' performance, calling it an "instant party." He added that the group's "Shout" rendition "showed what Dartmouth Aires is all about."

When it came time for the judges to decide which groups would move on, five-member Pentatonix from Arlington, Texas, and eight-member Urban Method were selected as the top two. For the first time in "The Sing-Off," now in its third season, there was an impromptu showdown between the bottom two groups the Aires and Afro-Blue of Howard University to determine the third group. The Aires and Afro-Blue were asked to deliver repeat performances of their most effective song from the season.

Afro-Blue performed Estelle's "American Boy" and the Aires retorted with a dynamic performance of their now-popular Queen medley. The recording of the Aires' Queen medley was the most downloaded song on iTunes' Soundtrack Songs chart the week after the Aires first performed the medley on Oct. 31, according to the Boston Herald.

After the showdown, the Aires were chosen to move on with a 2 to 1 vote, with Stockman as the dissenting vote. Viewers can now vote online, by phone and by text for their favorite of the three finalists the Aires, Pentatonix and Urban Method. The winning group will receive a $200,000 cash prize and a Sony Music recording contract.

The winner of "The Sing-Off" will be revealed in next week's live episode, which airs on Monday, Nov. 28 on NBC.

Now that the group has made it into the finale, its focus is on putting on the greatest show possible, Odokara-Okigbo said.

"We're going to put as much heart, as much emotion and as much energy on the stage as we can, hopefully leaving it all on the stage and making Dartmouth proud," Odokara-Okigbo said in an interview with The Dartmouth.

In order to effectively prepare, the group will rehearse in Los Angeles for the entirety of the week leading up to the finale, and thus unable to go home to celebrate Thanksgiving, Odokara-Okigbo said.

Voting will have already been completed before the live show, removing some of the pressure, according to Nathaniel Davis '14. Voting began after Monday's episode and will end at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27.

"We'll be able to kind of relax and focus on the music more than on the competition aspect," Davis said. "[The finale] is pretty much just like a big party where they reveal the results."

The experience performing on "The Sing-Off" has been "incredible," Odokara-Okigbo said. According to Odokara-Okigbo, the show not only brought the already cohesive group members closer together, but also taught them ways to improve their showmanship.

"[The Sing-Off'] allowed us to understand a lot more about putting emotion into songs and getting the message across," Odokara-Okigbo said.

The show has also played a role in shaping some of the Aires' futures. Performing on "The Sing-Off" has helped Odokara-Okigbo decide to pursue a career in music, he said.

"The Sing-Off' has told me that I want to do singing for a living, and that's one of the greatest gifts that I've ever been given," Odokara-Okigbo said.

The show has also encouraged Xavier Curry '14, Alex Taylor '11 and Nicolas Chuaqui '12 to pursue music careers, according to Odokara-Okigbo.

According to Robert Hoffman '13, Dartmouth professors and students alike have been very supportive of the Aires throughout their journey on the show. Professors have been understanding about missed classes, and students have both watched the show and encouraged others to do the same, Hoffman said.

"You would hope that your school would support you as much as Dartmouth has, but I think the community has almost exceeded our expectations in doing so," Hoffman said.

Odokara-Okigbo agrees that the support the Aires have gotten from Dartmouth has been overpoweringly positive.

"It's really overwhelming how much love we've been given not just by the student body but by the faculty and alumni," Odokara-Okigbo said.

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