If you're keeping up with NBC's The Sing-Off, one of the many reality talent competition shows out there, keep your eye on Pentatonix. Three of the five-member a cappella group competing for a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000 were practically raised at Theatre Arlington.
Kirstie Maldonado hit the TA stage at the tender age of 8. Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying found their way there when they were 10. Grassi is a recent graduate at Martin High School in Arlington, and both Maldonado and Hoying are in college. Hoying rounded up his friend, Avi Kaplan from Los Angeles. They found their fifth team member, Kevin Olusola, also from LA, on YouTube. While Maldonado, Grassi and Hoying provide the majority of the vocal acrobatics, Kaplan and Olusola have been adept at providing the sounds of percussion and brass, all with their voices. Because it's an a cappella competition, there is no musical accompaniment or safety net.
Pentatonix took its name from the Pentatonic scale, a five-note scale used in pop/electronic music. Five singers…five notes. Clever!
So far, Pentatonix has breezed through two rounds of eliminations with barely any negative comments from their judges, Grammy-winner Sara Bareilles, former Boys II Men singer, Shawn Stockman, and recording artist Ben Folds. The competition began with 16 groups, and after last night's broadcast, they are down to 10. Over the next weeks, it all boils down to a live finale, when viewers' votes also will come into play to determine the third season's a cappella champs.
Theatre Arlington is hosting watch parties every Monday night at 7 p.m. when the show airs. The theater's executive producer, Todd Hart, said the show is projected onto a screen that's the height and width of the stage, so watching it there is like being at the drive in. So far, board members and the young singers' family members have been among those at the watch parties, but Hart expects more people to join them if Pentatonix continues to progress toward the finale.
Here are the two songs Pentatonix performed during Monday night's competition: