'Sing-Off': Pentatonix talks album plans
Pentatonix, a funky vocal quintet from Texas, won the third season of NBC’s a cappella competition The Sing-Off Monday night, thereby attaining a Sony recording contract as well as a $200,000 cash prize. EW chatted with the giddy fivesome — which includes Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstie Maldonado, Avi Kaplan, and Kevin Olusola — yesterday to hear all about their exciting week and their future plans. Read on!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling about the big win?
SCOTT HOYING: We’re feeling great. We’re on cloud nine. This has been the most amazing two days.
What was it like hearing your name read as the winner?
SH: It was just utter shock, really. It was one of these things where you just flash back to this whole journey and how far you’ve come. It seems like yesterday we were all meeting, and now we’re sitting here having won The Sing-Off.
You’re getting ready for The Sing-Off‘s special holiday episode now. What can you tease about that?
MITCH GRASSI: We’re going to have a special guest on the holiday episode! And groups from past seasons are coming on the show: Nota, Committed, Street Corner, Backbeats, On the Rocks!
Yes! I love On The Rocks. They completely embrace the cheese when performing.
SH: That’s what a cappella is!
Were you particularly close with any of the groups from this season?
SH: We were really close to the Dartmouth Aires, because we met them on the first day. They were in our bracket, and then by episode 5, everyone in our bracket was gone except for the Aires and us. And we stuck by each other and actually ended up in the final two, which was amazing.
Any groups you wish could’ve gone further?
SH: I think Afro-Blue. We thought they were our biggest competition. At several parts of the show we thought they were going to win. After their “American Boy” performance, we gave up! [Laughs] And I know [Pentatonix member] Avi [Kaplan] — we all — think Sonos should have made it a lot further.
AVI KAPLAN: They are an amazing, inspirational group, just in what they do, and that they’ve been doing it for so long. They should have gone further — they’re amazing. They’re so inspirational to us. We really want to take some of their ideas and just run with them. They helped us out, and we became really close.
SH: And North Shore should have gone further!
What was your favorite of your performances?
SH: I think it’s different for all of us. There are things we liked so much about different performances. I loved “Video Killed the Radio Star” because it was kind of our breakthrough performance that started us off on our path to victory. I think personally, my favorite song was “Love Lockdown” because it was so emotional. It was fun to really get into the heart of the song.
KIRSTIE MALDONADO: I also really liked “Love Lockdown,” and I also liked “Dog Days Are Over.” It was very triumphant for the show right before the finale as a look-how-far-we’ve-come thing. The dog days are over, we’ve all come together, and things may not have worked out the ways we wanted to on solo paths before we all met each other, but now that we have all met each other, this great opportunity has presented itself to us. So it was very triumphant.
Did you get to pick your songs, or were they assigned to you? How did you arrange them?
SH: We worked together as a group to pick our song, and we’d change it throughout the week to make sure it really fit our theme and fit our style. It’s just the five of us. We each kind of throw out ideas and just try them out. Having five people, it’s really easy to just throw out an idea and move on. It was a disadvantage for some of the 16-people groups to have to write it out on paper and learn it, so we had an advantage in that way.
Well, the judges almost always loved what you came up with. Were they as kind off-camera?
MG: We saw them backstage, and they were always so nice and personable. We were a little bit intimidated at first, but they’re so friendly, and they know so much about music.
Did Nick Lachey bring the puns offstage?
SH: Yes! [Laughs] When we worked with him on the show, the first thing he said was, “Now that I’m in the group, we are… Sexatonix!”
Did he wear shirts that were not on the purple-to-gray spectrum?
KM: I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in one!
Looking ahead, what kind of sound do you want on your upcoming album?
MG: It will definitely be an electronic sound and electronic-influenced, but as for picking a direction, we don’t really have one yet. We are still in the beginning stages of planning and composing and arranging. I think we’re going to try and throw some originals in there if we can.
SH: We want to stay true to our sound on the show.
MG: Not a lot of overproduction. I wouldn’t have a problem with a little bit of overdubbing, but as for auto-tuning and layers and layers of sound — people would just be like, “Well, that doesn’t make sense because there’s only five of them.”
SH: I think what really made our group special is the fact that there’s only five of us, and we create a big sound, and I feel like if we produce an album with a million tracks on it, what makes us special will become obsolete.
AK: I think it would be awesome for us to do collaborations and to try to gel with the mainstream. It would be really cool to try different recording styles, so there might be one or two tracks that sound different from the others.
SH: We’re all big fans of electronic music, and we think it would be super cool if a DJ remixed our songs.
MG: Shameless plug!
SH: So if you’re out there…
So I take it you’re excited that Skrillex got a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist?
SH: Yes, we are.
Now that you’re signed artists, will you be staying in L.A. or headed back to Texas?
MG: I think for the holidays we’re all going back home, but in mid-to-late January, I think we’re all going to move out here and begin our lives!
The Sing Off