With high-top basketball sneakers and flashy red jackets, Vocal Point performed the competition’s first rock ‘n’ roll song and added a twist of pop to Kenny Loggins’ hit “Footloose.”
Vocal Point also welcomed back the ninth member of their group last week and advanced to the final eight teams on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”
After missing out on the first three rounds of the competition, Ben Murphy returned to Vocal Point. Murphy left Vocal Point to be with his father before his passing. He flew to Australia to be with his family and attend his father’s funeral while Vocal Point wowed judges with their performances.
Jake Hunsaker, a Vocal Point tenor from Ogden, said Murphy has become an inspiration to the group with his stalwart example.
“Rather than us supporting him during this hard time, we have found that he strengthens us,” Hunsaker said. “His faith and hope are contagious, and we are so happy to have his positive influence back in the group. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Although Hunsaker said he believes Murphy’s personality and presence are more important to the group than his musical talents, other members are happy to have the gifted baritone back.
Tyler Sterling, a baritone from Renton, Wash., said Murphy’s voice fills a void in the group’s performances.
“Like the judges mentioned previously, Ben gives the group a fuller sound,” Sterling said. “He is normally the part right above the bass to give the sound its rich lower tones. There was definitely a void in the group while he was gone.”
Murphy said he has dedicated his efforts to his late father, who passed away after battling Leukemia.
“He loved to see and hear me sing and I can only assume he still gets to,” Murphy said. “It was a bit surreal to watch the group perform without me but it was awesome to see them do so well.”
These BYU students are engaged in a delicate balancing act, splitting time between the show and their studies.
Lizzy Early, a member of BYU’s all-girl a cappella group Noteworthy, said she learned how difficult it was to balance her life two years ago when her group competed on “The Sing-Off.”
“It was difficult to balance school and ‘The Sing-Off,’” Early said. “I was in rehearsal sometimes from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. for wardrobe fittings, then I would have to go back to the hotel and do homework.”
As the competition draws near its end, Vocal Point needs the help of fans to win the grand prize. Early said she remembers what it’s like to be at the judges’ will.
“I remember crying in our box on stage before we went out to sing our last song,” Early said. “Leaving ‘The Sing-Off’ is like going through a horrible breakup and there’s not enough chocolate in the world to make it better.”
When the competition began, 16 groups dreamed of winning “The Sing-Off” and with the help of Murphy, Vocal Point is one step closer to the $200,000 prize. Audience voting opens after the top three groups are announced at the conclusion of the Nov. 21 show. The finale will air live the following week on Nov. 28.