Performance Analysis: The One in Which We Learn Ben Folds Isn’t a Fan of UB40 (Elvis Medley)

Okay, for our first performance analysis, we’re going to look at the Elvis medley from the Sing-off.  We’ll be referencing times from this YouTube clip (posted by mrduckbear11).

Before we get into the performance proper, there are a couple of things from the opening package that are worth mentioning.  First up, at :42, we get a glimpse of Michael’s hair and make-up styling for this episode.  This is probably the best styling he had all season, and in fact it makes him look like a leading actor on a CW show or something.  Immediately after that styling win, we get Keith having to explain  “we need to avoid, it’s like, doing an impersonation of Elvis.”  Gee, who could he be talking to?  Well, we find out soon enough, as Creepy Jake delivers a downright classic interview soundbite (:47).  We’re starting to think that by this point, the producers were just trying to see what was the most ridiculous thing they could get Jake to do on camera.

Next, we get a quick glimpse of the guys with their lovely ladies.  Jake and his wife laugh together, Ben gets a kiss from his girl (who, side note, is totally gorgeous), and Keith… makes faces at his?  (Isn’t that the girl he was sharing with McKay in the first intro segment? When Michael was all sad bear without his wife?).  Then we get the adorableness of Tanner and his fiancée.  After some McPreciousness, we get a group leap into the air at 1:35.  Tanner’s “leap” is particularly awesome.

Alright, now we’re finally into the actual performance.  First notable thought: we would be willing to bet that Keith thought he would look a lot more cool saying “Please welcome the king (1:53),” than he actually looked.  However, that thought is quickly banished as the lights come up and the full horror of the costuming hits the senses.  What the what for real real?  Green slim-fit pants?  With, what… what are those?  Are those… LADY BLOUSES?  Oh, wait.  They are.

Why?????????

(from nbc.com)

Oh, Tyler and Ross.  Oh boys.  We’re so sorry.  That’s just wrong.

Thank goodness for the overwhelming sincerity of Michael on lead.  And all of that CW styling from the neck up really helps to pull focus from the lady blouse and green pants.

Then we move into the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” portion of the evening, and Creepy Jake comes to the foreground to deliver a fantastic vocal.  Hidden gem: at 2:46, Mike makes eyes at the camera.  Then we move to down center, and get into the step-touch choreography.  We’re also in the reggae groove that so perplexed Ben Folds.  Clearly, the man is not a fan of UB40.  Is this a generational thing?  Because we sort of feel like everyone our age would hear that and instantly know the inspiration.  The same way that if you put Robert’s hair on Jake’s head, everyone in our generation would know that the result would look like Fred and Ben Savage’s lost brother.

Ahem.

Anyway, after the feeling of superiority that comes from catching something Ben Folds doesn’t passes, we arrive at what very well may be Troi’s favorite moment of the season.  At 3:33, Tanner executes what can only be described as the Smolder Gaze Vocal Percussion.  See below:

(made with captures from petitoiseau1's youtube)

We are constantly amazed at how Tanner manages to blend into the choreography while doing all the crazy stuff he does.  We often exclaim, “Tanner, stop being so awesome!”  This may be the finest example of that from the Sing-off.  Way to nail it, dude.

Then we hit the home stretch, as we finally get to the song where the awful lady blouses fit the theme.  And you know what?  Still awful.  But McButters kills it anyway, because that’s what he does.  Tanner delivers one of his signature moves at 4:27, where he sort of drops it like it’s hot while snapping / whipping it / pumping up the jam.  Michael looks particularly cool moving into the group formation at 4:30.  And then we get one of those classic Vocal Point moments, where the choreography looks way cooler than it has any right to look.  If you were to describe a group of nine men hopping across the stage while alternating between being hunched over and leaning back and shaking their shoulders in the process, well… that would sound lame.  But in the performance, it looks legitimately cool.

We reach the end as Tanner once again drops it like it’s hot and Keith gets on his knees (Oh, you can kneel now but not in Every Little Step?  What’s the deal?).  The audience goes nuts and we get a Jake’s wife sighting. Overall, a strong performance.  We would’ve preferred a Michael Jackson medley, but that’s just because we saw how awesome “Beat It” was at ICCAs (Shout out to Papa Sterling for the nicely shot ICCA videos!).

There is one lingering question from this performance, though.  Why did Tanner’s lady blouse reappear during the “Boy Band Chic” portion of the fall Vocal Point concert?

(captured from mycroft16)

Did he lose a bet?  Think the shirt was so awful he stole it to wear ironically?  Please, just don’t tell us that he legit likes it.  It would so taint his awesome.

UPDATE: Well, this is a relief.  We’ve found new photographic evidence that Tanner is not, in fact, wearing the loathsome lady blouse.  His awesomeness remains intact.

We’ve never been so happy to see navy and gray horizontal stripes on a man before.  It’s not much of a look, but it beats a boat neck lady blouse.

-Troi and Crusher

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5 Responses to Performance Analysis: The One in Which We Learn Ben Folds Isn’t a Fan of UB40 (Elvis Medley)

  1. on point (vocal that is) says:

    We love the way Kevin channels the ghost of Elvis in his facial expressions while playing air guitar. It is way cool.

  2. on point (vocal that is) says:

    Oh and the introduction was smooth—definite lip curl coolness.

  3. Mike says:

    My wife was on a trip when some of those videos were filmed, it was kinda sad… However, she is in some pretty close audience footage during hip-hop week!

    -Mike-

  4. Kari says:

    How did you miss the expression on Keith’s face at 6:49 when he realizes two judges have now spoken and nobody has yet mentioned his introduction prowess? Poor Keith!

  5. Whoa. We just realized this post started a whole dang lot – it has the first Jakebert sighting and the first Papa Sterling shout-out. Good times, good times.
    -T and C

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