Pentatonix america’s got talent

“America’s Got Talent” crowned its 12th winner this summer, with 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer being named the ultimate champion. (See list of “AGT” winners.) For all those fans who couldn’t make it out to see the talented tyke in person at her Las Vegas show, have no fear: she’s returning to TV! Monday night on NBC, Farmer joins a cappella group Pentatonix on their holiday special, “A Very Pentatonix Christmas.” That’s when Farmer and her rabbit puppet Petunia will perform a brand new holiday song, titled “O Easter Egg” and sung to the tune of “O Christmas Tree” (watch above).

When Pentatonix group members Kevin Olusola, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado and Scott Hoying try to correct Petunia’s version of the song, she declares, “I’m a rabbit, I definitely mean ‘O Easter Egg.’” Farmer then declares, “Sorry, she doesn’t know much about human holidays, but I’m pretty sure we can get this one right.”

Farmer and Petunia’s lyrics are silly and fun — “O Easter Egg, O Easter Egg, your shell is dyed so brightly; O Easter Egg, O Easter Egg, you smell rotten slightly” — and we’re betting youngsters everywhere will soon be singing them around the dinner table. What do YOU think of Darci Lynne Farmer’s latest performance?

Other special guests for this year’s “A Very Pentatonix Christmas” include Jennifer Hudson, Brett Eldredge and Jay Leno. This is the second year of the holiday special, with last year’s inaugural guests being Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson. Pentatonix got their start on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” where they won the grand prize.

America’s Got Talent: Grace VanderWaal, Pentatonix to headline holiday special

Trae Patton/NBC type

  • TV Show

Network

  • NBC

Genre

America’s Got Talent is bringing some holiday cheer this year with Grace VanderWaal and Pentatonix.

In December, NBC is airing America’s Got Talent Holiday Spectacular, a one-night event featuring season 11 winner VanderWaal, several other former contestants, and special celebrity guests. This will be the show’s first holiday special.

Hosted by Nick Cannon, the two-hour special will boast a wide range of performances: VanderWaal will perform a holiday song on her ukelele; judge Heidi Klum is teaming up with Golden Buzzer contestant Sal Valentinetti; the Regurgitator will swallow and subsequently regurgitate holiday ornaments; and season 6’s Professor Splash will dive into egg nog.

Celebrity guests on tap for the special include the soulful Andra Day, a cappella group Pentatonix, and magicians Penn and Teller. Other past AGT contestants appearing in the special include: Acroarmy, Calysta Bevier, The Clairvoyants, Brian Justin Crum, Jon Dorenbos, the family band Edgar, Jackie Evancho, Terry Fator, Mat Franco, Ronee Martin, The Olate Dogs, Piff the Magic Dragon, The Silhouettes, and the Sons of Serendip. The judges will also participate in the event.

Season 11 of the NBC competition series was the show’s most-watched installment in five seasons, and judge Simon Cowell recently signed a new deal for three more seasons with show.

America’s Got Talent Holiday Spectacular will air Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Episode Recaps

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 14
Rating
  • TV-PG
Genre
  • Reality
Premiere
  • 06/21/06
Network
  • NBC
Complete Coverage
  • America’s Got Talent

You already know we love Pentatonix. Whether it’s for a music video covering a timeless hit like “Hallelujah,” or a live show like the one with Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus, or an impromptu performance in a Cracker Barrel… Pentatonix always blows our mind with their melodies.

On Monday night, Pentatonix joined America’s Got Talent veterans and other special guests for the 2016 America’s Got Talent Holiday Special. The popular a capella stars may not have ever been contestants on America’s Got Talent, but they did get their start on another reality TV show, the Sing Off, so it’s appropriate that their latest performance was back on camera!

Regardless of whether they had been on America’s Got Talent, the singers were enthusiastically welcomed to the stage, and their performance was recognized with a standing ovation by Simon Cowell!

The group covered an NSYNC classic, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays,” and– of course– sounded amazing! With the incredible harmonies, powerful bass, and jaw-dropping percussion coming from their voices… no one missed the instruments at all!

In their red, white, and black on a “snowy” stage… the whole scene certainly had everyone in the Christmas spirit!

Check out the incredible performance below.

Share to spread some holiday cheer today!

‘Sing-Off’ a cappella winners Pentatonix release their first EP

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:

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.

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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.

What happens when two super talents are combined? You get a spectacular Christmas special with beautiful voices and stunning musical performances along with a lot of humor.

That’s why American a capella group Pentatonix asked America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer to perform with them during their NBC Christmas special “A Very Pentatonix Christmas.”

Pentatonix is a phenomenally talented group from Arlington, Texas that is made up of vocalists Scott Hoyling, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee who replaced Avi Kaplan in 2017.

Their style is characterized by their pop-inspired arrangements that are produced with vocal harmonies, basslines, riffing, percussion and beatboxing. They are most well known for their covers and Christmas songs.

swiggle1 dot pattern2Source: YouTube Screenshot

They have more than 13 million YouTube subscribers and have gotten more than 2.7 billion views on YouTube, according to Wikipedia. Their YouTube channel was the 50th most subscribed to YouTube channel.

They decided to bring a little diversity to their one-hour Christmas special by asking Darci to sing a song with them.

Darcy is a 13-year-old ventriloquist with a beautiful singing voice which is super impressive because she can sing well while she performs her ventriloquist act. Darci was the third female child to win America’s Got Talent and was also the third ventriloquist to win on the show.

swiggle1 dot pattern2Source: YouTube Screenshot

Darci, who is from Oklahoma City loved to sing was but was shy and afraid to perform. Her parents encouraged her to compete in the Internation Cinderella Scholarship Program to overcome her shyness.

That’s when she won the crown of International Mini Miss and was told by the teen titleholder, who is also a ventriloquist, to try out ventriloquism as a way to express herself without having to be the center of attention.

She practiced and practiced and was eventually given a puppet for her 10th birthday and later went on to win the 12th season of America’s Got Talent. Darci and her sassy rabbit puppet Petunia joined Pentatonix to sing “Oh Christmas Tree.” Well, sort of.

swiggle1 dot pattern2Source: YouTube Screenshot

Petunia didn’t know much about human holidays and the only version of the song that she knew was “Oh, Easter Egg.” Darci’s voice is extremely quite beautiful on its own.

So, it’s pretty mind-boggling to understand how she can sing so well while performing her act.

She and Petunia sang a hilarious rendition of “Oh Christmas Tree” to the delight of the audience that went “Oh, Easter Egg, Oh, Easter Egg. You smell rotten slightly.” Enjoy the hilarious holiday performance in the video the below.

Us The Duo Auditioned on ‘America’s Got Talent’: Watch

Not every contestant on America’s Got Talent is a novice, struggling for a moment in the spotlight. Case in point: Us the Duo.

The husband-and-wife act, comprising Michael and Carissa Alvarado, is by most metrics, pretty famous. Previously signed to Republic Records, Us the Duo are recognized as one of the first acts to be signed to a major label following success on Vine. They’ve toured with Pentatonix and headlined their own dates in the U.S. and around the world. A month-long summer tour is booked. And they’ve accumulated 4.3 million followers on Facebook and 1.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

None of that stopped them from taking their chances on the AGT stage, where they auditioned with an original work “No Matter Where You Are,” a song they wrote for their wedding vows and which appeared in the 2014 animated film The Book of Life. “We want to start a family soon, so (winning) would actually make that dream come true,” Carissa said at the top of their performance.

Though known for their cheery covers of contemporary pop songs, the folk-rock duo has pumped out three full-length studio albums and an EP since 2012.

Check out the AGT performance below.

[email protected] will make you believe in love again. #AGT pic.twitter.com/qJzTlpJrpd

— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) June 6, 2018

Twitter was confused by it all. “Us the Duo just auditioned for America’s got Talent and I’m immensely confused cause they are already quite famous and they probably have a decent amount of money so….why?,” wrote one viewer. “They shouldn’t be allowed to go on America’s got talent when they’ve already been on a world tour with Pentatonix and have had a record deal,” another tweeted.

Us The Duo is good, but no way should you be eligible on #AGT if you have 4 albums, a song in a movie, 1.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify and have toured with Pentatonix.

— Nate Ryan (@N8Ryan) June 6, 2018

Us the Duo just auditioned for America’s got Talent and I’m immensely confused cause they are already quite famous and they probably have a decent amount of money so….why?—-

— infinity war broke me (@uselesslytall) June 6, 2018

How can Us The Duo be on #AGT if they’re already like famous

— B!tch A$$™️ (@YoungTooks) June 6, 2018

Us the Duo is a great band but they shouldn’t be allowed to go on America’s got talent when they’ve already been on a world tour with pentatonix and have had a record deal. —

— Ott Dog (@baileyotter) June 6, 2018

I don’t understand why Us the Duo is on America’s Got Talent…they are already famous???

— Kylie– (@KylieNicole0404) June 6, 2018

Us the Duo’s North American tour kicks off June 19 at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR.

UPDATE: This article originally incorrectly stated that Us the Duo is still signed to Republic Records.

Interview: Us The Duo talks risk-taking ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition and staying connected to fans

Husband and wife indie-folk singer-songwriters Us The Duo have followed their hearts (which are adorably devoted to each other) along every step of the long and winding indie music road which led them to their dynamic “America’s Got Talent” audition. Michael and Carissa Alvarado (aka Us The Duo) have an easy artistic camaraderie and vibrant onstage chemistry which was immediately apparent as they faced judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Simon Cowell to perform for them (and the entire AGT studio and nationwide viewing audience) and anxiously await their fate.

Though they have played on stages all over the world, amassed over 100 million streams of their music and even toured with Pentatonix, the stakes were higher than they’ve ever been with this performance. This time, the cute and charismatic couple hoped an AGT victory would ultimately help them secure a solid future for an expanding family as they pursued their desire to have their first child.

The first-ever artists to be signed to a major label (Republic Records) from now-defunct social media hub Vine, took a huge risk by singing their wedding song in their AGT audition. They wrote the original, up-tempo tune called “No Matter Where You Are” as wedding vows and the song was notably featured in the Golden Globe-nominated 2014 animated film “The Book of Life.” Like many indie artists, Us The Duo eventually struck out on their own sans label. While following an independent path can bring many rewards, it can also carry some uncertainties.

“We went through the label route and came out of it and any independent musician’s success is based on how active you are, whether it’s on social media or on the road and all these things,”
Michael told AXS via phone in a recent exclusive Us The Duo interview. “When the baby comes, I’ve never experienced it before, but, I imagine we’re going to have to become inactive for quite some time just to focus on that process; raising a child and getting everything in order. That idea scared us.”

“We were looking for a way to get a little bit more opportunity, so we could create a better life for our future child,” he explained. “So we wouldn’t have to stress and worry and ride those ups and downs of an independent artist. AGT seemed as if it would be the perfect opportunity to grow that. We’ve played on a lot of stages. But, no stage has ever been as big and as widely watched as ‘America’s Got Talent.’ So far, it’s been nothing but amazing. The staff, the producers, the contestants–it’s just a good positive energy all the way around and there’s so much talent we’re happy to be surrounded by.”

The AGT audience enthusiastically embraced UTD and was up on its feet dancing to the catchy, romantic tune. Surprisingly, however, the judges’ opinions were divided. Howie didn’t connect with the song and dubbed it “too coffee house” while Simon felt the chorus was good. Overall, they earned three yeses to pass them through to the next round. Now blazing their own musical path, the Billboard-charting indie duo was thrilled to move one step closer to realizing their dream.

“We were so happy the audience was up on their feet and dancing to our music. Anything like that is positive for us and we’re so excited,” Carissa told AXS. “We’re actually happy with the remarks from the judges. I know Howie and Mel were kind of on the fence and Howie gave us a ‘no.’ But, we think that ‘no’ was good for us because it gives us something to work toward., to push ourselves even more and to challenge ourselves. I’m happy Simon was on our side because he knows a lot about music and we trust his opinions there. So, for him to support us and believe in us means the world.”

Michael and Carissa could arguably be compared to a modern-day, digital age Sonny and Cher. Their love story reads like a fairy tale. The talented singers met on a video shoot and maintained a long-distance relationship via FaceTime for eight months while Michael raised money as a cruise ship pianist till he finally had enough to move to Los Angeles and promptly propose to Carissa.

Finding stability, much less building a successful career is extremely hard in the highly-competitive, ever-changing music industry. The pair feels lucky to have found each other and are grateful to lean on each other during rough or challenging times.

“We’re just lucky to have each other because there are a lot of downs. It’s not always easy and being in a relationship adds to that,” Carissa said. “We just try to make sure whenever one of us are down, the other one is there to lift them up and remind them we get to do what we love, we’re in love, and that it’s really fun. We have a really fun life, and we’re really blessed to be able to do what we do every day. I think it’s also just a balance and making sure we have time for ourselves before our music because our first priority is our love and our marriage.”

Michael shared how he relied on his wife to calm him down when he battled an atypical case of nerves right before taking the “America’s Got Talent” stage.

“For some reason, the first audition taping of ‘America’s Got Talent’ made me nervous to a level I’ve never experienced before. I was almost like shaking. I could barely hold my guitar,” he said. “Carissa has had a lot more experience in front of the camera. She did Nickelodeon and things before she met me. She looked at me and said, ‘Michael, don’t be nervous. I’ll carry the load in talking. You just play the song. I know you know the song. You wrote the song. Do what you know how to do.’

We walked out on that stage and I calmed down because I could look over at her and know she was ready to handle whatever the judges would have to say to her. She did all the talking before we played the song, which allowed me to focus on the music. Without her, I don’t know if I honestly could have made it through that.”

One of the most striking things about the talented multi-instrumentalists is their rich, shimmering harmonies as well as the reciprocal love that visibly and sonically flows between them. They also have fun performing and their effusive joy and fierce musical passion is infectious.

The shared love between UTD and their #UsTheFamily fan base is so deep that the couple produced a stunning visual album called Public Record which contained songs they wrote based on stories the fans shared with them in messages about their lives. The project had a profound impact on them as people and as artists and created an even tighter bond with their fans.

Though the album was released in 2016, UTD continues to receive compelling stories and they remain dedicated to keeping the lines of communication open with fans, spending hours on Facebook and emails reading and replying to messages. Sharing goes both ways, as well. The happy couple announced their pregnancy via a song and did a gender reveal on Facebook. The proud parents-to-be are expecting a baby girl in October and Carissa is ecstatic about being a mom.

She happily gushed, “I’ve always known I wanted to be a mom and I’ve always wanted children. So, I’m just excited for this next journey. Michael and I love adventure. We love new experiences. So, I feel like we’re going to jump into this and have so much fun with it. It’s just so cool we made a baby and we literally have a human growing that’s ours. To be able to have that is just very special.

I’m excited to teach our baby how to be a loving person and love everyone and to love music as well. I can’t wait to hear that with her. She’s moving a lot and she dances when she hears music already in my tummy. So that’s exciting that she’s already enjoying it.”

Us The Duo’s latest EP is aptly-titled Together and dropped last Friday (July 13) across multiple digital platforms ahead of their upcoming AGT performance for the Judges’ Cuts round and a summer tour to support the EP, which includes a stop on July 19 at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR (Tickets).

The five-track collection of acoustic tracks was fronted by its feel-good lead title track, which is a buoyant song about getting through anything “together” with that special someone. By contrast, “Get Gone” is a slow-burning brood about ending a toxic relationship. “Broke” takes a light-hearted look at skipping out on bill collectors. “Homesick Lullabye” is about missing the one you love and “Finally Know What Love Is” is a soulful ballad which melodically revels in romantically-induced bliss.

When asked what they are most looking forward to about going back on tour Michael quipped, “I’m looking forward to watching Carissa sing at six months pregnant,” to which Carissa replied, “That’ll definitely be a new obstacle for the tour, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun tour and I can tell our daughter someday, ‘You went on tour when you were in Mommy’s belly. That’s so cool.’

She added, “We’re looking forward to seeing our fans, seeing some new faces, some familiar faces we keep in contact with and we like that we’re going to be able to hug them and interact with them face-to-face. So, we can’t wait for that.”

Meanwhile, #UsTheFamily couldn’t be more thrilled about UTD’s triumphant AGT audition and positive comments continue to stream across the duo’s social media pages. Michael and Carissa will hit the AGT stage again tonight (July 17) for the Judges’ Cuts round. Michael talked a little about their impending performance strategy saying, “I’ve thought a lot what Howie said. Our song was ‘too coffee shop,’ kind of alluding he may want to hear something a little more familiar. While Simon said, ‘That chorus is great’ and Heidi said, ‘You might have a hit on your hands.’

So, we have to make that decision. Do we do a popular song that everyone knows? Or, do we do another song we wrote? With any original, it’s a risk … I think we’re going to try to go with an original because it’s what we know. It’s what we feel good about and Simon encouraged it. Let’s take these concerts we’ve been playing for so many years to the AGT stage and hopefully it will work.”

When asked what message Us The Duo would like to send to out to their fans or to anyone just getting to know them via their “America’s Got Talent” journey, Carissa called out their longtime followers saying, “We just want to thank everyone for sticking around with us and believing in us from the beginning. Vine was kind of our catapult and everyone has stuck with us and followed us elsewhere on Facebook and every other social platform. So, we just want to say thank you to #UsTheFamily and we love them so much and we can’t wait to continue to grow together and continue sharing our lives with them and hearing more about their stories along the way.”

Michael sent a shout out to any AGT viewers or new fans who are following them. “To all the new people tuning into AGT, thank you for tuning in and we hope you’ll follow us on our journey,” he said. “Our promise is we’ll always share what we’re up to. We put our wedding online. We put our baby announcement online. So, if you’re interested in Us The Duo and our music, we hope you’ll stick around and see what other life events will come from us for years to come.”

Tune into “America’s Got Talent” tonight (July 17) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC to watch Us The Duo perform in the Judges’ Cuts round. Follow @UsTheDuo on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Stay tuned to AXS for Us The Duo updates.