Afro Blue | The Official Ben Folds Site

Afro Blue

Posted by slideonsteel

Hi Ben,

I've been a fan of yours for more than a decade, almost two. I've been watching the Sing Off this season and for the most part I've enjoyed your judgements and comments. I want to say that all the groups have risen to the top and are giving more and more exceptional performances, making your job harder and harder.

I think its pretty obvious that Afro Blue were the over-the-top best group right from the beginning. No one else had the ear for the complex arrangements and harmonies that they did, giving Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 and others a run for their money. Their rhythmic knowledge and understanding are also second to none.

Yet the rules of the competition called for them to adapt away from what they did so well. For them, it was like running a gauntlet of distractions. Do a country tune, do a hip hop tune, etc. Yet they did this with a great attitude. They had an enormous difficulty factory in that there was never a requirement to do a 'standard' or a jazz tune that would give them the same advantage as Urban Method had in doing a Hip Hop tune.

What's more, the judges, including you, began to ask them to UN Afro Blue themselves ... do simpler arrangements, let the song come out, etc. Later Sarah would say that 'perhaps we confused you ...' So we have to take this to mean that the judges themselves, seriously undermined the success of one group. Why didn't you do this to all the groups?

And on the night that they proved that they could in fact, incorporate all of the judicial criticism, and still do the best performances of the night (certainly the Sam Cook, if not the other-listen to your own compliments), you judges took them to the bottom, and let them compete against the Dartmouth Aires, and then selected the Aires, ostensibly, because of Afro Blue's prior trips to the bottom. In other words, despite how well they did on this night, they lost due to their past misjudgements. So there was no way that they could possibly improve and win.

This was also the first show where the very best group got eliminated. What this all looked like to me, was that someone, somewhere, was saying "these guys who were made to win this right at the outset", need to be slapped, distracted, made to play by new and awkward rules, dumbed down, forced to the 'inferior trough' then at the end, understood for these injustices but immediately eliminated. Why, I have no idea.