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'Sing-Off' a cappella winners Pentatonix release their first EP

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(Read caption) 'Sing-Off' winners Pentatonix sing Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used to Know,' their cover of which has over 6 million views on Youtube.

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They won our hearts on "The Sing-Off," teased us with some stellar Youtube covers, and now, after much anticipation, they're releasing their EP. 

Pentatonix, the five-person a cappella group that includes Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan, and Kevin Olusola, won 200,000 dollars and a recording contract with Sony (which they have since dropped) as winners of the third season of NBC's "The Sing-Off," a show in search of the nation's top a cappella group. The group gained an edge with their electronica vibe and ability to do vocal dubstep, covering artists like Usher, Ke$ha and Kanye West

Scott, Kirstie and Mitch all met at the same high school in Arlington, Texas, where they formed a trio and began performing. A day before their audition for the sing-off in June of 2011, they added Avi and Kevin, and Pentatonix was born.

Here's a breakdown of the members:

Scott sings most of the solos and has one of those silky-smooth voices you thought had gone extinct after Sinatra or Fitzgerald. He can trill, riff, go high, low, sound like Britney Spears or impersonate Marvin Gaye. You name it. He even did reggae at one point in the show. 

Kirstie is the only girl in the group, but always stands out with energetic performances and pitch-perfect vocals. (It's probably important to point out here that all the vocals in the group have always been on-key, which is a welcome break from shoddy vocals on shows like "American Idol.")

Mitch is a little fireball of passion and can hit notes I haven't even heard Kristie reach. You can often hear him singing the upper harmonies, but on occasion, he comes out with a stellar solo, as he does here in Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over." 

Before they were of "Sing-Off" fame (and excuse me for sounding like a hipster), I actually came across Scott, Mitch and Kirstie in a video with Todrick Hall, an ousted American Idol hopeful. In the video, the four singers deliver their drink orders at a Starbucks in vocal form, much to the barista's surprise. Listen to the catchy tune here:

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Avi makes up the bass half of the two-person rhythm section that "Sing-Off" judge Shawn Stockman fondly called "Meat and Potatoes." His voice can go incredibly low, allowing him to sound like a human synthesizer. The most recent video they've posted, a mash-up of Justin Bieber's "As Long as You Love Me" and Katy Perry's "Wide Awake," actually ends with Avi singing solo, a first for him. 

Last but not least, Kevin is maybe the most impressive member of the group simply for his ability to beat-box, percussion, sing and rap, sometimes all at the same time. Sounds in his repertoire include horse-hooves, choo-choo trains, gunshots, and motorcycles. I also came upon Kevin before his Pentatonix days in this video of him playing cello while beatboxing:

If you like what you hear, subscribe to their Youtube channel for more covers and make sure to check out their EP out next week. Here's one last video for you, a cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," which has over 6 million views so far.


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