Monday’s All Hail A Capella event had a lot to sing about.
Seven of USC’s a cappella choirs showcased their talents in a long night filled with triumph, beauty and soul.
Asli Baat, a group of South Asian fusion singers opened the show and served as a welcome detour from traditional a cappella. The group stunned the audience with a mixture of haunting South Asian lyrics and decent execution of more contemporary pop hits.
Beautiful voices, however, could not hide juvenile choreography. The singers were awkward with their movements and seemed less than assured.
Asli Baat’s vocal stylings were lackluster in a few numbers. Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” could have burned down the house, but sloppy vocal execution made these songs fall short.
With its beautiful harmonies, Asli Baat’s rendition of “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna was the best of the set. The surprising foray into rap impressed and excited the audience, which finally elicited the singers’ confidence.
Khoir Practice was one of the night’s pleasant surprises. After a less than impressive showing at last year’s Absolut A Cappella, Khoir Practice sang almost perfect versions of The Wings’ “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and Maroon 5’s “Misery.”
The group’s lead soloist was brilliantly on pitch during the performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed.” The choreography, however, was generally static and the group could have had a more commanding attitude while performing.
Masters of stage presence, the members of Troy Tones were spirited as they sported outlandish outfits inspired by Katy Perry’s “T.G.I.F. (Last Friday Night)” video. Their vocals weren’t too shabby either.
Troy Tones junior Allison Robbins left the audience in awe as she belted out “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood. Additionally, the Troy Tones’ rendition of Duffy’s “Mercy” felt fresh and inventive.
The Troy Tones ended their set with a beautiful cover of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, showcasing impeccable vocals and intoxicatingly fun choreography.
More subdued than the Troy Tones was one of USC’s mos known a cappella groups, Reverse Osmosis. Beginning with a medley of Mumford and Sons tunes, Reverse Osmosis epitomized the utilization of the voice as an instrument.
What seems like the 1000th cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” found an eerie presence in the group’s sublime execution, illustrating that complicated choreography is unnecessary if the voice itself is exceptional. As for their finale, “Find My Way Home” by the Gabe Dixon Band was sexy and seductive while serving as a good cap to their set.
USC’s other perennial favorite, SoCal VoCals, showcased its personality in Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had.” SoCal VoCals’ soloist had more attitude than Sasha Fierce. The group’s covers of “Hold my Heart” and USC’s “Alma Mater” were not quite as memorable, but in SoCal VoCal style, they were delivered in top-notch pitch.
The Sirens, USC’s all-female troupe, performed commendably, but the ladies missed their mark on each of their numbers. Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything” was sweet but not special, while the soloist in a cover of Adele’s “Turning Tables” completely ignored the heartbreak and pain Adele puts into each word, barely skimming the surface of the vocal power necessary to cover such a masterpiece.
Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” was the best out of the three as the soloist showed the most personality, but as a whole, the group sounded hollow when compared to the rest of the performers.
The night ended on a high note with a powerhouse performance by the event’s hosts, The Trojan Men. USC’s a cappella’s heartthrobs worked the stage into frenzy with “Hard to Handle,” “Lullaby,” “It’s a Man’s World” and “Vehicle.”
The vulnerable yet strong vocals in “Lullaby” were breathtaking and emotional. “It’s a Man’s World,” on the other hand, was a fun end to the evening, infused with soul and depth, which other acts were lacking.
Auditions for USC’s a cappella groups will take place Sept. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. in Taper Hall. Open auditions for Asli Baat will take place on Sept. 6-8 at 6:30 p.m.