By Jodi Walker
Updated December 13, 2013 at 07:00 AM EST
Greg Gayne/NBC

The Sing Off

  • TV Show

The Sing-Off doesn’t care if you understand when their show is on, for how long it’s on or if you think it’s crazy that they put all of their best teams up against one another in one episode. When you’ve stared cancellation in the eye and made it back to harmonize another day, you do whatever the F-clef you want! I liked that The Sing-Off went even more rogue than usual Thursday night; the hour-long episode was the perfect palate cleanser after two kind of exhausting two-hour spots this week. Four of the eight remaining teams competed for three spots in the Final Six: Ten, AcoUstiKats, Street Corner Renaissance and The Filharmonic.

The theme is “Number One Hits,” which pretty much means any song that has ever been popular…ever. The Sing-Off’s themes are so hilariously vague; next week’s is “timeless tracks that span the generations.” They’re basically saying, “sing songs, but not the bad ones, OK?” And that’s fine with me because the song choices are almost always fun. More importantly, Nick Lachey is wearing the most Nick Lachey-y suit I’ve ever seen tonight. It’s shiny; it’s maroon; and, of course, it’s paired with a black shirt, no tie. Then, as if I wasn’t already thrilled enough, the host with the a cappella most started rhyming. After a rousing, but not-particularly-unique group performance of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” — “your eyes…YOUR EYES!” – Nick introduced the judges thusly:

“Four-time Grammy nominee and the cutest of the three, Jewel!”

“He’s the master of the do-re-mis and the 88 keys, Ben Folds!”

“He’s the Boyz II Men wiz with the brightest smile in the biz, Shawn Stockman!”

It was delicious.

Ten: “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin

Blazer watch: One member is dressed in a Robin Thicke-at-the-VMAs motif and we’re just going to have to all agree to let it go.

Shawn, who personally mentored the groups tonight, told Ten to drag this song out and make it gritty and grimy and, boy, did they, thanks significantly in part to soloist, Deedee (Yancey-Mackey!). I’ll be the first to admit that I was out on Ten in the beginning — just three days ago, as it were — even though they had all of the elements I’m looking for in my a cappella groups: fierce soloists, fiercer hair and the fiercest names (re: Peaches). But, like Ben said, as the group has continued to connect with each other, they’ve grown from a group of singers into a band.

AcoUstiKats: “Amazed” by Lonestar

Blazer watch: I’m not totally clear on how men should wear cardigans, but I’m pretty sure it’s not with all of the buttons except the bottom two fastened. Mr. Rogers’ usually had zippers, so I have no credible source to reference.

After being in the bottom two on Wednesday night, the collegiate southern gentlemen needed redemption, and it clearly wasn’t coming by way of their lame cardis. Luckily, they decided to nix the frat-star mode they’ve been in during the last two rounds and play their heartfelt hand with “Lonestar,” a truly great song. Jewel said they found their heart with the choral arrangement and Ben pointed out Ross’ stirring solo (which was particularly welcome after a weird bout with falsetto in the Ultimate Sing-Off Wednesday night).

Street Corner Renaissance: “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green

Blazer watch: I love how SCR always stay firmly within the ROY-shades of Roy G. Biv. Tonight, it was fuchsia jackets with — wait for it — leather lapels. You can’t teach class.

I loved watching Tony try to learn the words to this song with closed captions in rehearsals (“err de lipe, girl, err da tarreh…andina that don’t mean nadong no dahh…”) and then nail his lead vocals by the performance. But as Ben and Shawn noted, it was Maurice the Insurance Guy’s manic groove-wailing that sold the song. As charming as their performances are, I don’t think Street Corner Renaissance need to win to keep doing what they do and in that way, it’s hard to root for them over groups like Home Free or The Filharmonic who seem to want to make this a profession together.

The Filharmonic: “One More Night” by Maroon 5

Blazer Watch: Finally, something to get excited about! All in blazers, at least two of the primary colors on every boy and truly the skinniest floral tie I’ve ever seen on VJ. Additionally, they all appear to be sporting fresh fades.

Shawn encourages the boy band to get aggressive in their delivery and they really go for it with a complicated arrangement. Shawn thought it was the tightest they’d ever been, but Ben couldn’t get into it for some reason. As Jewel pointed out, that reason might have been because cute-as-a-button VJ needed some more sexy anger in his solos. Harrumph, I liked it!

It suddenly becomes clear, after four great performances, that this silly ass show put four of its best groups in one night, meaning one would have to go home that could have easily stayed another round or two. Alas, if we were going to have to let them go back into the world of instruments and KE$HA at some point, we might as well make it now. The judges select Street Corner Renaissance and The Filharmonic for the bottom two, and even though they both power through Steam’s “Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” we all know where this is going. Youtube and Pentatonix have made a cappella a young man’s game and the idea of an acoustic, Filipino One Direction is a little too enticing to let go right now. SCR, if you’re ever on a street corner in New York, please let me know. I’ll be the one in the double-breasted fuchsia blazer.

Tidbits with Nick and Co.

– Oh, well, Mike of the AcoUstiKats straight up PROPOSED to his girlfriend on stage after their performance. I’m not saying it wasn’t super sweet or that I didn’t start crying the second I realized what was happening, but I’m definitely saying you can’t kick a group off on the night one of them decides to make their monogamy legally binding. Only on The Sing-Off!

– Mike’s now-fiancé is named Margaret (Maggie) Augusta Blaire, just in case you weren’t sure from which side of the Mason-Dixon line she hailed. Ring by Spring, y’all. (But seriously, congratulations, I hope your babies have the voices of angels.)

– Shawn tells Ten to get their stank face on in their intro package and after they perform, Nick makes this face. “Ooo, it is STANKY up in here.”

– Sonny’s “don’t say that brotha’” in place of “ain’t that some sh—” in “Forget You” is just as good as it gets. I would like to inquire if he is available to be my grandpa.

– The Filharmonic get into the boy band spirit in their intro package with the required wind, water and brooding album cover.

– Ben and Nick had some fun back and forth about Ben being a sesquipedalian, but the best part of these nightly exchanges is watching just how funny Shawn Stockman finds these two. There must have been some real bonding happening on the The Package Tour.

The Sing-Off returns Monday, December 16th at 9:00 p.m. ET, when the other four groups will compete with “Timeless Tracks” (aka, songs).

Episode Recaps

The Sing Off

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