And this is why I watch The Sing-Off on NBC. This performance of Estelle's "American Boy" from Monday night's show is the anti-American Idol in every way: It's inventive, accomplished, beautifully executed, and judged by people who adore music and adore it when music is done well. I love absolutely everything about this clip from top to bottom. I recommend listening to it with headphones, which help you pick up just how much is going on in this arrangement. My hat is off to you, Afro Blue; this is great.
Also recommended every single time this show is on: the group numbers that open the show, in which a giant crowd of singers from different groups, who often work in different styles and traditions of music, work together. It's often the most purely good-natured thing I see all week. Last night's was Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know." This season has also featured an arrangement of "Sing" by My Chemical Romance and Pink's "F--in' Perfect."
I like all the groups this year, really, but after Afro Blue (my favorites), I would also single out the incredibly good-natured guys from BYU's Vocal Point, whose performance of Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" last night inspired host Ben Folds to note that he would never again doubt his ability to appreciate a Justin Bieber tune being performed by a bunch of Mormons. They also offered up this nifty, deftly jazzy arrangement of "The Way You Look Tonight."