The One Where “Wholesome Thundercats” Was Meant as a Compliment (Never Say Never)

Week Two of the Sing-off was Radio Hits and ’60s Classics. So let’s talk about the indignity that is Vocal Point getting stuck singing “Never Say Never” by Justin Bieber. You know, because Sara Bareilles needs more of a reason to treat them like a Boy Scout Troop.

We don't know who those random guys in the photo are, or what they did with Creepy Jake, Mikey, and Ross. Just kidding, Grant, Paul, and Lemon... We're sure we would have loved you too, but just like Bethlehem, there's no room in our hearts' inns... blame Kevin's limbs, they take up a lot of space.

Oh, come on now.

Here’s the video we’ll use for reference. Many thanks again to mrduckbear11

After a quick recap of Week 1, we get into this week’s material and are first hit with the overwhelming, but not-at-all surprising news that McCrockett was in a boy band in Utah when he was fourteen and fifteen. And yes, there are pictures.

(from thaoriginal562's youtube)

McPrecious seemed to be very much into vests at the time. And he doesn’t seem to find the boy band thing to be all that humorous. At least, not in the same way we do. This little gem of information (which we’re going to treasure forever) is the perfect segue to introduce the next Vocal Point song: Never Say Never. The Biebs. Now, let’s take a time out here and try to imagine how that conversation went down, shall we?

Producers: “Okay, boys, since you’re all wholesome and stuff, we thought you could sing that Bieber song from The Karate Kid.”

Tanner: “You’re joking, right?”

McKay: “Awesome! I was in a boy band! I can’t wait to sing lea–”

Producers: “Actually, we think Kevin should sing lead on this one. We hear he’s got a great timbre.”

Keith: “Uh… It’s Keith… and really, it’s cool, McKay can do the lead.”

Producers: “Nope. You’re doing it.”

McKay: “But… oh, nevermind. It’s cool.”

Tyler: “This is gonna be awesome!”

Maybe that’s not how it actually happened, but it seems to be as good of an explanation as anything.  Okay, so, back to the video. It’s shared that Ben is still with his family, and his father has passed away. The boys express their concern for their friend; Keith does so a little more eloquently than Jake (human speech patterns are hard!), but the sentiment is the same. Then we see the guys practice a bit, and now, on to the performance!

The boys are in green blazers and stripey ties, some matching, some not. Kind of a go-to look for them, but they’ve certainly been shoved into worse, right? Keith starts us off and the boys get the choreography rolling, some of them (Michael) more naturally than others (Creepy Jake). At 2:16 we can see that everyone manages to drop down into a low squat except for Keith. Yeah, he’s singing lead, but Tanner’s droppin’ a beat and Robert’s carrying the bass line, and they still dropped it to the floor.

(from thaoriginal562's youtube)

Get with it, Kevin!

From 2:25 til 2:31 the men from Provo show us their mad karate skills. Some highlights? Rossface with Michael Jackson’s hand. McCrockett’s lack of irony. Tyler pointing at things. Creepy Jake’s awkwardly-bending, non-human limbs.

At 2:34 McButters’ boyhood dreams are realized and he gets to take the lead on a teen heartthrob pop single. Unfortunately, it’s only for nine seconds, and then we’re back to Keith. Sorry, McButters.  (This isn’t as bad as when McCrockett’s adulthood dreams get smashed a few weeks later when Kevin sounds legitimately country, but again, that’s a whole ‘nother post.)

At around 2:53 we get a beautiful swell of a cappella awesomeness. At 3:06 Ross hops on and gives Kevin an assist by singing what we like to refer to as “the gospel line.” (You know, the part that the awesome chick in the gospel choir always sings. Like an echo, but way cooler.) Ooh, and at 3:08 we get one of Robert’s signature cool moves where he points out at the audience, rock star style. At 3:16 Keith still can’t be bothered to kneel down as low as the other guys (maybe he’s got arthritis?)  but we’ll forgive him.

(from thaoriginal562's youtube)

He wraps up the song at 3:24 with some Blue Steel/Baby Seal Clubbing a Baby Seal action and then we’re off to judging! (Oh, but check out McCrockett’s face as they all lower their mics… he’s just so darn happy.)

Ben Folds is generally complimentary if slightly condescending, but you know, it’s Ben Folds. That’s his thing. Sara decides to just go for it and calls them “a bunch of wholesome thundercats, or something.” We’re sure they appreciated that, Sara. That’s exactly what every twenty-something man wants to be called.  Awesome.

(from thaoriginal562's youtube)

Yeah, those aren’t happy faces.

Shawn, however, acknowledges the ridiculousness of the situation, and gets the boys to all laugh about it, too. Shawn clearly gets that the guys are in on the joke and don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t have fun with something like this. Probably because Tanner has so much street cred he can bank it for when something like this comes up and they need a little more to compensate.  And then the boys run offstage. Run. Where’s the fire?

Finally, at 5:56 we get some good old-fashioned Keith snark, when he comments on tackling such an “iconic” song, even without hair like Bieber. And because no one should have to try to imagine that alone, here… for you:

Heh. Not our finest work (it's no Jakebert), but gets the job done.

-Troi and Crusher

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One Response to The One Where “Wholesome Thundercats” Was Meant as a Compliment (Never Say Never)

  1. on point (vocal that is) says:

    Dear Troi and Crusher,
    Thanks for the blog. It is seriously a lot of fun. We also loved the awkward look on Tyler’s face after being told he sang the “&@##” out of it by “Foul-Mouth Folds.” Did he forget who he was talking to? Great Job (as I drop my pen Stockman style)

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