Preview: ICCA Final 2014

Last week it was revealed that the UK’s representatives to the home of collegiate a cappella, the United States, and competing in the ICCA Finals in New York City, would be All the King’s Men from King’s College London, who will be competing in the world finals for the second time, having placed third back in 2012.

The Men scored 363 points via a video submission round to qualify for the Final – but what sort of competition are they up against? Here at UACUK, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s the line up in full:

ICCA Great Lakes Champions: The G-Men, University of Michigan
ICCA Northeast Champions: Pitch Slapped, Berklee College of Music
ICCA South Champions: Vocal Point, University of Delaware
ICCA West Champions: Scattertones, UCLA
ICCA Midwest Champions: Bare Naked Statues, Saint Louis University
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions: N’Harmonics, New York University
ICCA International Champions: All the King’s Men, King’s College London
ICCA Wild Card Champions: The Beltones, Belmont University

The G-Men

Semi-Final: 1st place (394pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (385pts)

Established in 1995, The G-Men are facing their second Final in as many years. Their record in the ICCAs has been astonishing in recent years, having made four consecutive semi-finals since 2011. Short for ‘The Gentlemen’, they are an all-male group known for their ‘biceps, obsession with puppies, and rocking audiences with the power of 100 raging buffalo.’ Having scored consistently in both the quarters and the semis, placing first in both, they’ll be hoping to do better than in last year’s final when they were unable to place.

Watch Out For…

Their arrangement of Skinny Love, which earned them an Outstanding Soloist award at the Quarters and an Outstanding Arrangement award at the semis.

Pitch Slapped

Semi-Final: 1st place (414pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (431pts)

Pitch Slapped have a massive history, and have this year received massive point scores to back this up. In 2010 they appeared on The Sing-Off; in 2011 they won the ICCAs; and since first competing in 2008, they have won their ICCA Quarter-Final every single year. A co-ed group from Berklee College of Music, they were named one of the Top 5 Best A Cappella Groups in the country by USA Today in November 2012. All of this is hugely impressive given the group was only founded in 2006, relatively recent in the US a cappella scene. These lot definitely look like a force to be reckoned with.

Watch Out For…

Their choreography – despite picking up multiple awards across the quarters and semis, they won Outstanding Choreography for the Entire Set in both – signifying their relentless energy.

Vocal Point

Semi-Final: 1st place (398pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (439pts)

Despite those points tallies, this is Vocal Point’s first foray into ICCA Final territory. A co-ed group founded in 1998 with a focus on 80s music, the group has since branched out from their 80s roots and are enjoying the most successful competitive year in the group’s history. They made the Mid-Atlantic Semi-Final last year having won their Quarter, but are against stiff competition in their first ever Final, and will need to pull out a performance similar to that in their Quarter-Final if they’re to stand a chance of winning the title.

Watch Out For…

Their arrangement of Kelly Clarkson’s Dark Side which picked up Outstanding Arrangement at the Quarter-Final.

Scattertones

Semi-Final: 1st place (427pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (424pts)

Competing in their third consecutive final, the UCLA Scattertones will be desperate to do better than in the previous two years: they’ve placed second in both 2012 and 2013, and will be hoping to go one better this year. I don’t want to jinx them, as I said the same last year, but with pedigree such as that, they have to be considered the favourites this time around. Their Quarter-Final and Semi-Final scores are consistently huge, and for the co-ed group founded in 2002, this could and should be their year.

Watch Out For…

India Carney’s solo on Stop This Train, which picked up Outstanding Soloist in both the Quarters and the Semis.

Bare Naked Statues

Semi-Final: 1st place (368pts)
Quarter-Final: 2nd place (380pts)

Judging by their record in this year’s competition, you’d think that the all-male Bare Naked Statues from Saint Louis University would be considered outsiders for the title. One of only two groups to make the Final after finishing second in their Quarter-Final, they pipped their St. Louis rivals The Stereotypes to the final by a single point in the Semi to reach their first ever ICCA Final. Founded in 2000, the group have gained a strong repuation among the SLU community for innovative style, musical talent, and creative performances. Will this be enough to triumph over the more experience groups in the competition?

Watch Out For…

Their choreography, which picked up the Outstanding Choreography for the Entire Set in both the Quarter- and the Semi-Finals.

N’Harmonics

Semi-Final: 1st place (406pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (427pts)

Another group of Final debutants, the NYU N’Harmonics are another co-ed group that have fared well competitively this year, scoring 400+ in both the Quarter- and the Semi-Finals. With alumni that have been seen and heard on Glee and on Broadway, the group certainly have a record for individual success post-college, but how will they fare as a group in the present day? Going strong since 1997, with scores like that they’ll definitely be in with a shout.

Watch Out For…

Kiah Victoria’s solo on Green Garden which won Outstanding Soloist at both the Quarter- and the Semi-Finals.

The Beltones

Wild Card Round: 1st place (329pts)
Semi-Final: 2nd place (344pts)
Quarter-Final: 2nd place (341pts)

The Belmont Beltones have been here before: last year, they won their Quarter-Final but came second to Vocal Point in their Semi, only making the Final through the Wild Card Round. They’ve done the same again this year, but have the lowest set of scores in the entire Final and will need to up their game if they’re to have a chance. But don’t write them off – in 2012, the SoCal VoCals won their third title after coming through the Wild Card Round, so they’re by no means their to simply make up the numbers. The co-ed group were only founded in 2009 so are one of the newest groups in the Final, but they do have experience here and could spring a surprise or two.

Watch Out For…

Their consistency – they picked up no awards en route to the Final but have consistently placed throughout, meaning they have a knack of winning the judges over.

So that’s who All the King’s Men have to face in the Final. How do you rate the boys’ chances? It’s their second time of asking having placed third in 2012. Can they do better this year?

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Sons of Pitches to Line Up Against America’s Best at ICCA Final in New York

With the ICCA Final in New York just days away, and Britain’s own Sons of Pitches leading the line from our side of the pond, we felt it prudent to provide our readers with the full line-up for the upcoming finals, to take place at the Town Hall in NYC on April 20th, this Saturday night, and assess the Sons’ chances of winning.

Here is the line-up in full:

ICCA Great Lakes Champions: The G-Men, University of Michigan
ICCA Northeast Champions: The Nor’easters, Northeastern University
ICCA South Champions: Reverb, Florida State University
ICCA West Champions: Scattertones, University of California, Los Angeles
ICCA Midwest Champions: No Comment, University Of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions: The Chordials, Cornell University
ICCA International Wildcard Champions: The Sons of Pitches, University of Birmingham, UK
ICCA National Wildcard Champions: The Beltones, Belmont University

The G-Men

Semi-Final: 1st place (423pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (358pts)

Established in 1995, The G-Men have only really made a splash on the ICCAs in the past couple of years – in 2011, they missed out on qualification for the final by a single point, while they reached the semi-finals last year too. Short for ‘The Gentlemen’, they are an all-male group known for their ‘biceps, obsession with puppies, and rocking audiences with the power of 100 raging buffalo.’ Having stepped up their game significantly in the semi-final, adding nearly 70 points to their quarter-final points tally, they will be hoping to further improve on that in their first ever final.

Watch Out For…
Brendan Asante, their soloist on Kimbra’s Settle Down, which won ‘Outstanding Soloist’ at both the quarters and the semis.

The Nor’easters

Semi-Final: 1st place (431pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (422pts)

The first mixed-group of the final, the Nor’easters were established in 1997, and have come even closer to the Final than the G-Men in the past couple of years, having come second in the National Wild Card Round on two consecutive occasions in 2011 and 2012. They will be delighted to reach their first final after two hugely impressive Regional performances, and with some of the highest scores of all the groups competing, they will definitely feel confident of placing in the top three, if not winning the entire competition.

Watch Out For…
Shams Ahmed has won two ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ awards, one at the semi-final for Wrong Side of a Love Song and the other at the quarters for the entire set. Expect to be blown away by their arrangements.

Reverb

Semi-Final: 1st place (403pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (426pts)

Two-time unplaced semi-finalists, Reverb are Florida State’s only all-male a cappella group and, like the previous two acts, are having their most successful competitive season yet. A relatively new group, founded in 2006, they have typically won awards for arranging in their two previous successful years, in 2009 and last year. With two 400+ scores in the Regionals, they will also feel like they have a solid foundation to go on – if they can perform to their best, they too could be challenging for the top three.

Watch Out For…
Another group with an exceptional talent for arranging, their entire set won ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ at both the quarters and the semis – credit to duo David Ko and Skipper Stradtman for that. Arrangements seem to be key this year, and this group seems to be best placed to capitalise on that.

Scattertones

Semi-Final: 1st place (437pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (412pts)

Competing in their second successive final, the Scattertones are surely considered the favourites to win this year’s competition, having beaten All the King’s Men into second place last year, falling just short of perennial rivals the SoCal VoCals. Founded in 2002, the co-ed group have a rich history in the ICCAs, having made the semi-finals three times before their unexpected triumph over the SoCal VoCals in the West Semi-Final last year that saw them through to the Final. With two exceptionally high scores in the Regionals again this time around, you’d have to say it will take something special to beat this lot.

Watch Out For…
Their cover of Coldplay’s Paradise, which won them not only ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ at the Quarter-Finals, but also ‘Outstanding Soloist’ – definitely a lynchpin of their successful set.

No Comment

Semi-Final: 1st place (No Data Available)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (423pts)

A group with relatively small history in the ICCAs in past years, this co-ed group have found their rhythm this year to reach their first semi-final, let alone first final. Their lack of experience at this level of competition may hinder them, but having been founded in 2004, they are no strangers to collegiate a cappella and racked up an impressive score in the Quarter-Finals, picking up several awards en route to the final. Dark horses, perhaps, but will undoubtedly be in with a shot.

Watch Out For…
Kelsey Stanker, their soloist on Breathe Again, who picked up the ‘Outstanding Soloist’ award at both the quarters and the semis.

The Chordials

Semi-Final: 1st place (366pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st (393pts)

Founded in 1997, Cornell University’s co-ed Chordials do have previous Final experience, having placed third way back in 2004. While none of the members from that successful year remain, the current group will surely have drawn upon the experiences of that incarnation of the group to help them to prepare for this year’s Final. With some of the lowest scores from the Regionals, they will need to step up their game slightly if they are to challenge to other groups, but with appearances of BOCA in 2006 and 2010, they could well be in with a shot.

Watch Out For…
Jay Grollman, who takes the solo on Lies, who won ‘Outstanding Soloist’ at both the Quarter- and Semi-Finals.

The Beltones

Wild Card Round: 1st place (381pts)
Semi-Final: 2nd place (391pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (395pts)

Perhaps the most consistent group this year, The Beltones are the national wild card entry, having been beaten by Reverb in the Semi-Final at Vanderbilt University. However, last year, the SoCal VoCals came through the Wild Card Round to win the competition, so the mixed-voice group will take heart from last year’s winners. The youngest group in the final, founded just in 2009, this is their first real stab at the ICCAs and it has been a thoroughly successful debut – whether they can go one step further and win the thing remains to be seen.

Watch Out For…
Their choreography, which picked up the ‘Outstanding Choreography’ award in the Quarter-Finals for the entire set.

So there we have it – the line-up that will be facing The Sons of Pitches in the Final this weekend. How do you rate the boys’ chances of success? Have your say in the comments below.