LOS ANGELES — Two groups tied to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Brigham Young University wowed judges of "The Sing-Off" and won the right to perform in another round of competition on the NBC reality show.
Vocal Point, which is still missing its ninth man (Ben Murphy, whose father died recently), took the stage in the "current hits" segment and made a man's song out of Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" hit.
"I will never say never will I enjoy a Bieber song sung by a bunch of Mormons," said judge Ben Folds following the Vocal Point rendition.
Judge Sara Bareilles said the group sounded "like a bunch of wholesome thunder cats. You guys are so entertaining. I loved it. I thought it was awesome."
Shawn Stockman also weighed in with praise. "You didn't take yourselves too seriously, which was fun to watch," he said.
The judges also heaped praise upon Vocal Point for its ’60s selection of "The Way You Look Tonight" with Bareilles saying the group made "a cute little Rat Pack right now" and Stockman saying they were "really, really, really, really, really good."
Folds said he liked the way Vocal Point covered a variety of '60s styles.
Delilah, of which two members — Laina Walker and Amy Whitcomb — were previously in BYU's female a cappella group, Noteworthy, also won the right to come back.
They sang "Whataya Want From Me" for a current hits number and received kudos for the layering as they built the harmony member by member onto the lead singer's start.
"You're developing in real time," Folds said. "This is the reason I do this gig."
Delilah sang "Heat Wave" as the group's '60s number and didn't seem to impress the judges with the song. Folds called it "a bit static" while the other two said it was sung with personality and stayed cute.
Three other groups were also retained: Urban Method from Denver, The Yellow Jackets from the University of Rochester and Afro Blue from Howard University. Kinfolk9 from Los Angeles was dropped.
The five groups will compete in the next round of an ongoing fierce competition for $200,000 and a Sony recording contract. Ultimately, the television audience will choose the winner.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 30 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.