First think of the the increasingly popular movie about collegiate a cappella, “Pitch Perfect.” Envision the illuminated stage, the enthusiastic audience and the vocals that send chills up your arm. The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella West Quarter Finals, which took place at the Tempe Center of the Arts on Feb. 2, was like a scene pulled out of the movie.
A sold out crowd of 600 people — some carried painted signs of their favorite group — filled the theater at 7 p.m. Saturday in anticipation for an electric competition between a cappella teams from universities on the West Coast. ASU’s own Priority Male, Pitchforks and TEMPEtations came prepared to battle it out with the UA’s CatCall and Noteriety, University of California Riverside’s Not So Sharp, and Mt. San Antonio College’s Fermata Nowhere.
A cappella is a type of music where groups sing arrangements of songs without instruments. Their voices instead mimic the instruments. The ICCA competition consists of groups who sing a set of songs a cappella within 12 minutes.
“Expect to hear a song you have heard before, but completely different,” psychology sophomore Steven Hobaica of Priority Male said about the show during rehearsal.
The a cappella teams kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout the competition. Noteriety from UA kicked off the competition with Alex Clare’s “Too Close” and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” But after UCR’s Not So Sharp finished, the first ASU group took the stage. Priority Male, ASU’s all-male a cappella group, sang on stage for its third consecutive ICCA quarter finals. By the number of screaming fans (mostly the girls in attendance), Priority Male’s medley of Usher’s “DJ Got us Fallin’ in Love” and “What is Love” by Haddaway started ASU’s presence in the competition on a high note.
Following Priority Male was the second ASU group. The male and female ensemble, the TEMPEtations, started off its first time participating in the ICCA with style. Along with unique movement choreography, the TEMPEtations electrified the audience with Imagine Dragons’s song “Radioactive” and Coldplay’s “Paradise.”
After a great performance from the suave looking all-male group from UA, CatCall, and a hilarious rendition of “Gangam Style” from Fermata Nowhere, one group remained. ASU’s all-female a cappella group, Pitchforks, took the stage for the final performance of the night. Pitchforks wowed the audience with vocals combining songs “All of the Love” (Justin Bieber & Kanye West), “Bottom of the River” (Delta Rae) and “Where Have You Been” (Rihanna).
The previously loud and exuberant crowd fell completely silent as the moment everyone had been waiting for arrived at last. The host of the competition made her way on the stage to announce who would be moving on to the semi-finals. CatCall and Fermata Nowhere tied for third place. But it was all ASU after that. Ebullient cheers echoed throughout the theater as Pitchforks received second place and Priority Male took home the quarter finals first place win, both qualifying for the semi-finals. Both groups danced around the stage hugging and shedding a few joyous tears. Priority Male ended the night with a winner’s encore, singing “Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand and “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by the Ting Tings.
Camaraderie between all the performers was noticeable throughout the competition. Although the competition felt sort of like a basketball game, there was no booing or jeering going on between the groups, or fans, while on stage during the announcing of the results. The atmosphere depicted an a cappella family.
Priority Male and Pitchforks will venture to the University of Southern California for ICCA West Semifinals on April 6.
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