Pentatonix lights up State Farm Center

By Emma Palatnik, Contributing Writer

On Saturday night, the a capella group Pentatonix brought its instrument-less music down to Champaign.

The excited fans took selfies while they stood in a line that stretched from the main Northwest entrance to enter the State Farm Center.

19-year-old Abi was the first performer. When she’s not performing, Abi studies at Belmont University. She went on tour with Kelly Clarkson in the summer of 2015. The performer is also currently finishing her full-length album which is expected to release in early 2017.

The singer-songwriter performed a mix of her own music and covers. Abi’s songs are a cross-over between country and pop. She sang original songs such as “Truck Candy” and then covered songs like “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers. Abi spoke to the audience between each song, making for a smooth transition throughout her set. 

Abi didn’t have any set choreography; however, she interacted with her band members, the guitarist especially. She walked around the stage, came out onto the thrust and moved with her music. During a transition from a fast-paced song to a slower one, Abi grabbed a stool.

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“Alright, we’re getting serious now. I’m sitting down,” she said.

After Abi’s set, she held a meet and greet outside of section 121 where she talked and took pictures with fans.

The second opener was Us the Duo, a folk-pop duo who were discovered on Vine in 2013. In March 2014, they were signed to Republic Records.

Us the Duo is made up of Michael and Carissa Alvarado, a husband and wife duet. The duo doesn’t have a band, instead, they play the instruments themselves. Both can play multiple instruments and change them according to the song.

“That was really fun but it’s my turn with the bass. This thing is bigger than I am,” Carissa Alvarado said.

The husband and wife performed a mixture of original music and covers. Some of them had a story behind them.

“The next song is our favorite song we like to play because it reminds us of when we got married,” Michael Alvarado said.

Michael Alvarado explained that they first heard the song, “No Matter Where You Are,” while sitting in their living room writing their vows. They decided to sing it at their wedding.

To finish their set, the duo performed a mix of pop songs.

Michael Alvarado said that they were going to play all their favorite songs in three minutes. He told the audience they should sing, dance, get crazy and annoy their neighbors.

Following their performance, they had an online hang out where they told fans to talk to them on social media using the tag @UstheDuo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Finally Pentatonix took the stage.

The group is made up of Scott Hoying, baritone; Mitchell Grassi, tenor; Kristin Maldonado, mezzo-soprano; Avi Kaplan, bass and Kevin Olusola, beatboxer. The group first got started by winning the third season of the Sing-Off, an a capella competition.

It was more than a musical show. There was choreography, colored lights and moving set pieces. The group performed songs of the pop, R&B and soul genres. When the artists were in position, they bopped to the music and interacted with fans.

Pentatonix was thankful for its fans, and praised them throughout the show.

“Your energy is unreal. We’re three songs in and I’m obsessed with you,” Hoying said. 

During their performance, they gave a tribute to Michael Jackson singing songs like, “Billie Jean”, “Black or White”, “Smooth Criminal”, “Bad” and “Man in the Mirror.”

They invited Us the Duo back onstage to sing “Jolene” with them. Pentatonix previously did a version of the song with Dolly Parton.

Kevin Olusola played the cello and beatboxed at the same time, also known as “Celloboxing”, which is a term he coined. He played Beethoven and later transitioned to Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive”, adding in the voices from the rest of the group.

 Later on, stagehands brought bean bags onstage. The group announced they were inviting fans onstage to sing their original song, “Misbehavin,” with them.

The encore song was done without any microphones. The group told audience members they would have to be quiet. “Count Your Blessings” was heard even in the 200 level seats while fans waved their cell phone lights in the air and swayed to the music.

To pep up from the mellow song, the group performed “Sing”. Confetti shot out of guns to end the concert and fans screamed as the confetti fell.

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