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Sing Off's Afro Blue experience some Panorama Blues

On last night's episode of NBC's THE SING-OFF, Afro-Blue became the most recent group to be eliminated from the competition. On numerous occasions these judges essentially said that this group, Afro Blue, was operating above their heads [the judges’] musically. And last night the female judge addmitted they may have confused the group.


The groups are competing for the grand prize of a Sony recording contract and $200,000 in cash.


Let's be clear - Afro Blue is a major talent.  There are only a hand-full of people who can do what they can musically. So how are they not in the finals? It seems like Afro Blue got eliminated for following the judges’ directions - who openly admitted more than once they couldn't really judge them. Ah, meaning ‘your best is too good and progressive for the competition.’


In this regard there were many similarities to the Trinidad and Tobago panorama competition. If you've ever been eliminated from a panorama competition in the late rounds, you can relate to the pain and disappointment. Afro Blue must be a little confused as to did they ever really ever have a chance?


All the groups at this level are awesome, but it was Afro Blue more so than all the others that challenged the other groups, the audience and even the judges to grow musically.


There appear to be many things to be learned from this competition for future panorama competitions.

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So it is with progressive visionaries. It is always this way when you go outside of the boundries and do something so wonderful that people do not know HOW to use you. lol. and that is because what is divine cannot be manipulated except by that which is divine. It is only the beginning....of good and bad things to come......

Yes, Last night I was disappointed yet not surprised. There seems always to be discomfort with those who move beyond the "ordinary" and so I expected the decision after earlier comments. Decisions like these in "reality" shows or in Panorama or Parade of Bands demonstrate for me at least, that we  humans are afraid of finding out how brilliant we are and could be in everyday life. Hence we try to squash anything that reminds us of our divinity and brilliance and instead settle for the safety of ordinary. A pity. It does not stop those who live their divinity and offer us the opportunity to join them Last night Sean joined. With Panorama we will see.

You know, i was talking to a friend about this yesterday before the competition. this is just life and competition is and honestly i think we may just have to live with it. this is because we must remember it is not everyone would understand the creativity you try to bring to the forefront and what might end up being the case,(as always) is that years down the line we will look back and say these same people were brilliant after the time have gone and they have already past, not acknowledging them for their brilliance and creative intelligence. Afro blue did this that i have never heard on the sing off or even dreamt about hearing from an accapella group, and 'ive been watching the sing off since season one but hey life goes on. we as musicians just need to find ways to combat these situations because in reality, it does happen. "Great work Afro Blue" I enjoyed it!!

Khan as a champion panorama arranger have you ever sacrificed your musical vision or artistic creativity to meet the judging criteria?

Pan times that's a good question, I would say most arrangers do because they want their band to win. Ray Holman is the only arranger that do music how HE feels it should be done. 

Cecil this is very unfortunate. Bradley spoke about the curse of winning at all cost. ( check his statements here ) Ironically two of Bradley's worst experiences in pan were both times when he produced work that was way above the head of the masses to comprehend their musical value and importance. In 2004 Bradley produced Celebrate with Pantonic and placed 12th in the New York competition. In 2003 Bradley arranged Music In Meh Blood for Desperadoes. He was essentially fired after the semi-finals for his efforts. However, these arrangements are among the ones Bradley was most proud of. In interest of story telling, musical significance and showcasing panorama music as an art form second to none, these two arrangements must be mentioned.


As much as I am critical of the negative Panorama effect on some areas of steelband development, there is no argument that the Panorama competition presents a framework that allows gifted arrangers and musicians to perform at their peak, even with the restrictions imposed by the judging criteria.

While talented individuals like Boogsie, Bradley, Jit, Smooth, etc. would still retain their genius and creativity without a Panorama type competition, it may be extremely difficult for the members of the typical Panorama size steelband to maintain their focus and energy to attain that high level demanded by the arrangers, without the lure of Panorama prestige and prize  money.

Glen, panorama is an awesome cultural and musical phenomenon. What is unfortunate is the lack of a structure to fully take advantage of this movement on behalf of its participants.

Well said!!! I came to the same conclusion as they were put into the bottom 2 so many times when their performances were stellar.  It didn't make since.  Glad you noticed that Sara (one of the judges) admitted that they (the judges) probably confused them in their comments. That means the judges were not fair at all.

Pat S

I totally agree with you Pat.  Wouldn't it be educational if we could get panorama judges to explain their decisions live and on camera as we experience in this show?

Who do you think will win and why?

Read Ben Folds explanation from his blog.  This guy is just as bad as the panorama judges. His reasoning is really unacceptable. They thief Afro Blue.  http://www.nbc.com/sing-off/exclusives/ben-folds/blog/2011/11/21/gr...

There is a lot to be learned here in terms of marketing and production for a panorama.  The quick turn around on having quality audio and video immediately after the show is exceptional.


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