After a two month wait, the night was finally upon us: the ICCA semi final. What a fantastic night it was! The talent these groups had was phenomenally, and each provided a unique performance. I’m so glad the UK a cappella scene is expanding, cos the world deserves to know about these groups. Unfortunately, only group is allowed to progress on, and the best group definitely won.
To clarify, the ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella) is a competition wherein a cappella groups compete to be announced the best collegiate a cappella group. The competition was a solely American competition, but three years ago, they opened the competition up to the UK. Each group is scored based on their arrangements and choreography, and those points determine whether they go into the final or not.
I watched eight incredible groups perform. In order of who performed when: Bristol Suspensions, The Rolling Tones, Northern Lights, Aberpella, Cadenza, The Accidentals, The Illuminations and Aquapella. All kept me entertained for the whole 12 minutes they had to perform in, and proved why they deserved to have made it to the semi final.
The Bristol Suspensions have improved massively from last year, and keep getting better. Their performance was humour based, and wonderfully done. I loved their rendition of Cell Block Tango and Car Wash. Apologies, but I don’t remember what their second song was. Regardless, it had a light hearted tone to it, while showing off their vocal range and choreography. Very well done indeed.
The Rolling Tones have remained consistent in their set. I’ll admit, I have seen their set a few times now, so I could tell you what they were going to do. However, it still gives me chills, and their choreography for one of their songs is still so inventive. They sang Teardrops, Sleepless Child (which is an original arrangement), and a mashup of Bang Bang and Survivor. All beautifully sang.
Northern Lights looked like they were having a great time on stage. They remained united throughout, while simultaneously showing off their vocal range. Unfortunately, I don’t actually know what two of the songs were that they sang, so apologies for that. But the last was a mashup between Mambo No. 5, Candyman and Pon De Replay, among other songs. A great mashup, giving a few people a chance to show off their solo range. The choreography helped the performance too, making it more engaging.
Aberpella were a force to be reckoned with, especially with their male soloist. They sang three songs that really showed off his vocal range. The songs were Animals, mashed up with Map, and Demons and Friction. I quite liked the choreography and performance, but it was clear you were supposed to focus on the soloist, which I did. He had impressive vocals.
Cadenza sang two mashups, and a beautiful rendition of When We Were Young. The two mashups were Can’t Stop The Feeling with Shout Out To My Ex, and Lady Is A Tramp with Fancy. They were interesting choices to put together, but they worked in a way. I especially enjoyed the basses and tenors, who were pretending to play jazz instruments in Lady Is A Tramp. They were loving life, I swear.
The Accidentals had a very pretty performance. They sang two mashups, and unfortunately, I don’t know the name of one of the songs they mashed up, but they mashed it up with Tears. They also sang In The Air, and an Ariana Grande mashup. Much like other performances, they allowed the soloist to shine, but managing to keep a pretty tone to it. The Ariana Grande mashup matched their tone, and kept me entertained, cos I wasn’t sure which song they’d mashup next.
The Illuminations started with a voiceover before they went into Radioactive. I quite enjoyed their introduction, because it built up an atmosphere for their song. I don’t know the name of their second song, but it was beautifully sang by the soloist. They ended on a Lion King mashup, by pairing Circle Of Life with He Lives In You. I’m a Disney fan, so that was a win in my books. A good variety of songs to show off their vocal performance.
Aquapella were phenomenally. Much like Techtonics last year, they were on another level. Their entrance was spectacular, and I think they’d taken some inspiration from Gobsmacked. Basically, only one person walked on stage, and pretended to grab a ball, and the group started singing backstage, but stopped as soon as she flicked her wrist down. Then, she flicked her wrist back up again, and pretended to throw this object when a second member walked on. After about the fourth member, the rest of the group walked on simultaneously, and began their mashup performance of songs about sex. They included humour into their performance, which was fantastic, and I’m pretty sure a guy did a handstand in the middle of the performance. If not for that song, definitely for the next one, which happened to be Fallin’ (I think).
But it’s the last song that blew me away. The soloist did a rendition of Purple Rain, and her voice was absolutely phenomenal. Honestly, just thinking about her voice gave me literal chills. No video does the performance justice, because her voice was just on another level. Whatever she does after a cappella, I can tell you now, she for sure has a career in singing. Her vocal range was incredibly powerful and high. I just can’t get over it. The build up was fantastic too, and the group really supported the soloist.
The Bristol Suspensions came third, and the Rolling Tones came second. I love both groups, and I think they did a fantastic job. Their performance was inventive, and they should be proud of themselves. Unsurprisingly, Aquapella came first, and it was thoroughly deserved. They’ll go to New York to represent the UK. Let’s hope the UK can win it for a second year, eh? They were truly on another level, and brought their A game.
During the interval, the Grammy winning a cappella group, The Swingle Singers, performed. Up until now, I’d heard mentions of them, but I’d never actually heard them sing. After their stunning performance, they have a new fan. Their original songs were so well crafted, with each person making sounds I never thought a human could make, while singing too. It was absolutely stunning. I’d definitely recommend anyone to listen to them.
Overall, it was a great night. The Swingle Singers were stunning, and mesmerising to watch. I’m so glad Aquapella won, and I can’t wait to hear how they do in New York. I’m sure they’ll rock it no matter what.