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Pentatonix put on five-star show at West Campus

By Maria Thompson
September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The ultimate concerts generally consist of an enormous venue, spotlights from every angle and elaborate costume changes. West campus offered a different type of sold-out “ultimate concert” this Friday when Pentatonix made a two-day stop at ASU during its national tour.

Pentatonix, a five-member a cappella group, charmed the screaming fans at the La Sala Ballroom not with crazy animations and absurdly loud sound systems, but with its incredible harmonies and arrangements of contemporary hits.

Natives of Arlington, Texas, the group is most notably recognized for winning the third season of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and going on to broadcast its music via YouTube. Members Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying sing the main vocals with Avriel “Avi” Kaplan as an impressive bass and Kevin Olusola capping off the group as a phenomenal beat-boxer.
Kaplan and Olusola opened the performance and were shortly joined by the rest of the group, as fans could barely stay seated. They covered an assortment of genres throughout the 90-minute set such as “Somebody That I Used to Know,” “The Dog Days Are Over,” and “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

The songs were mostly group numbers with little emphasis on the individual performers. Maldonado’s mini solo verse during Katy Perry’s original “E.T.” renders chills no matter how many times someone watches it on YouTube.

Pentatonix ended the concert with a rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” one of its newest releases. The group recreated the song to make it sound harmless with Grassi using puns and changing the lyrics to “Bad Mitches like me is hard to come by,” evidently catering to the younger crowd.

The choreography was simple and the wardrobe was relaxed, letting the attention rest solely on the fiercely diverse yet blended voices. Their constant interaction with the audience demonstrated the seemingly down to earth and still-adjusting-to-the-fame attitudes.

Fans gathered in masses after the show for a brief meet and greet.

“The tour has been amazing, this crowd has been amazing at ASU and they’ve been the best yet,” said Grassi as they rushed out the door to greet fans.

The concert was deserving of a rousing crowd but unfortunately the audience took their excitement to a disrupting level. High school students mainly occupied the room and screeched every time Hoying blinked. Pentatonix handled the enthusiasm as best they could, but some of Olusola’s beat-boxing brilliance was detracted by the front row shrieks.

Pentatonix is admirable not only for its clear talent and brilliant remixes but for recognizing itself as a team. Members complimented and applauded for each other and shared the spotlight throughout the show. Pentatonix proved it is more than YouTube and reality TV celebrities. The five entertainers know how to put on a five-star performance.