Dartmouth Aires picked one of their white guys to rap, and yet they seemed to think the hardest part of hip-hop for a cappella group is, instead, that there’s only four chords. That is sooooo a cappella. Luckily, everything the Dartmouth Aires touches turns to air, um, I mean, to gold air. Can air be gold? They performed “Club Can’t Handle Me” and the judges just gushed, and rightly so. As the first group of the night, they set the bar pretty high. This group is simply too fun and too energetic to unlike.
Meanwhile, Vocal Point, the whitest kids you know, didn’t flinch in the face of hip-hop as a theme. They realized, more than any other group, hip-hop is a genre and musical style that’s been everywhere, done everything, and went around the block and back again. Hip-hop has won Oscars, Grammys, and is the soundtrack to American life – white and black – over these past 30 years. Yes …hip-hop is a thing that’s been around for 30 years. If there was a group that should’ve thrown up their hands and complained, it should’ve been this lily-white group. But they didn’t. They sucked it up, picked Puff Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missing You” and, though Sara and Sean said they were “pitchy”, I thought it was borderline brilliant. It could be a radio hit. And it was touching, given one of their members recently lost his father.