KaZual Competes with Colgate Groups in Sing-Off

Wednesday night, January 29, in Brehmer Theater was the KaZual a cappellaSing Off, organized by the Colgate Activities Board (CAB). KaZual is a quartet of three brothers and a cousin: DMac, EJae, LilGabe and Playboi. With covers of R&B, rock and pop, KaZual has opened for Destiny’s Child and competed in America’s Got Talent.

 Wednesday’s show was formatted just like an America’s Got Talent competition, with the Resolutions and the Dischords as KaZual’s competitors – although between the groups there was much more friendliness than competition. Solidarity in the face of the judges, particularly the Simon Cowell of the three, was the order of the first two rounds of the night, and the audience voted by remote for the final round.

 Yet it seemed clear that comparing the groups – let alone pitting them against each other – was impossible. In their matching red button-downs and bowties, KaZual took a selfie with the audience to start things off with a bang. “We’d like to welcome you to the KaZual experience,” DMac stated as an opener to the eventful night.

Four adult men whose job is to learn, rehearse, perform and advertise their music have little in common, from repertoire to style, with full-time students who perform infrequently for groups for other students. However, the hardest part was that the groups apparently weren’t informed beforehand that they would receive feedback from the judges directly after each song they performed.

 As a result, the audience was as enthusiastically supportive of the music as Colgate students usually are at a cappellaperformances, but when time came for the judges to critique, everyone was silent and uncomfortable.

 The judges were impressive under the pressure of utter disapproval from the audience, still managing to “accidentally” weight the scores of the first two rounds to a perfect three-way tie. They attempted to balance criticism with praise and arbitrary decisions with technical reasons, but many of their points concerning technique, dynamics and pitch went over the heads of many audience members.

 The Dischords’ cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” the Resolutions’ cover of Alex Care’s “Too Close” and KaZual’s version of the ballad “In the Still of the Night” were an incredible lineup for the fast songs of the first round. However it only got better with the slow songs of the second round; Regina Spektor’s “How” from the Dischords, Coldplay’s “The Scientist” from the Resolutions and a medley of the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync from KaZual.

 Although the audience wasn’t buying the three-way tie, everyone was happy to hear all three groups perform again for the final round, and it was clear they had saved best for last. The Dischords went first with The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshmen” and the Resolutions followed with a cover of “I Want You Back” from The Jackson Five. KaZual finished up with a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” although there were shouts for a repeat of one of their originals. By an audience vote, the Dischords came in third, KaZual in second and the Resolutions in first.

 All in all, none of the a cappellagroups seemed to take the judges’ words to heart – although some in the audience did – and despite the unusual negativity, it was easy to enjoy everything from KaZual’s “Bounce,” which included dancing and can be found on YouTube, to their cover of The Temptations’ “My Girl.”

Contact Lee Tremblay at [email protected].