A little more than 4 years ago, on the second third-season episode of a cappella competition “The Sing-Off,” a group called Pentatonix stepped on stage for the first time. One of 8 groups making their debut that night, they sang a cover of “ET” by Katy Perry. Back then, I was doing regular recaps of the show, and this is what I had to say at the time:
I’m still not sure where I stand on this group, or this performance. The group is talented, but I’m not sure they’ve clicked for me yet. […] Their blend is striking, but it’s not entirely clear whether they’ve truly found their sound or not […] I have my eye out for Pentatonix, but I’m just not in their corner yet.
(I just watched that performance again, and hoo boy, my opinion has definitely changed in the four years since.) Here’s a video of Pentatonix’s introduction to America:
Looking back at my recaps, I quickly warmed to them from that initial ho-hum reaction. Within four short weeks, I wrote the following about their performance of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown”:
All the parts came together perfectly. […] Pentatonix just keeps getting better with each performance. Their formula is stellar, and I can totally see them doing a great job with a recording career. I started off the season with mixed feelings about them, but at this point, it’s official…I’m a huge fan.
Yep. They won me over…and I’m so glad they did. Another terrific performance by them, their best of the season in my opinion, was a cover of Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over,” where I said at the time that they had pretty much just won the whole thing right then and there:
Watching them that season was just absolutely riveting. “Dog Days Are Over” is an incredible example of their range, their passion, their innovation in arranging, their powerful vocals…everything that makes Pentatonix what it is. It was so cool to see their star rise as “The Sing-Off” season 3 went on, and it was great to see them win the competition at the end.
Why am I waxing poetic about Pentatonix’s past today? Well, they just had their newest self-titled album (their first to consist of only original songs, I might add) debut at no. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. Which is a pretty big deal, especially for an a cappella group. (They are reportedly the first a cappella ensemble to have a #1 album.) They have simply catapulted to stardom in the last four years. As noted above, at the time I expected great things from them…but never this big. They’ve gone far, far beyond the confines of “reality singing competition winners” into the realm of legitimate, incredibly successful musicians. I’m glad I got to witness them getting their start, their ‘big break’ if you will. (And it was certainly fun to leave for my mission in Peru and be one of the relatively few who knew about Pentatonix, then come back 2 years later to find everyone knew and loved their music.) Congrats, Pentatonix, on your #1 album, and I look forward to even bigger things, and even better music, to come in the future.
Take a look at how far they’ve come with their new single, “Can’t Sleep Love”:
Thanks for reading (and indulging in a bit of nostalgia). See you very soon with lots more great music!