Since Haakon likes the long predictions, I thought I’d try it.
I took some time to look up videos of every show choir I could find on this list, and here are my thoughts. This is going to be insanely close, and I wouldn’t want to be a judge. Every group is going to have to bring all they have just to get into finals. I seriously think that if any group, even those consistently in the top predictions, doesn’t perform at their very best, they could find themselves out of finals.
GC: Los Alamitos – I can’t say much. This is by reputation only, since I can’t find a video performance of this year’s show. I don’t necessarily think it’s a given they will win, though, based on last year’s video. There are some pretty amazing groups here. Personally, I’m not a fan of solo-heavy show choirs, but it doesn’t really seem to sway judges too much, from what I’ve seen.
Hastings – Online videos don’t do them justice (Totino’s recording does awful things to their vocals), but I have seen them in person. They beat Titan Fever earlier this year, and have improved incredibly from the first few competitions, but second place is not a given by any means for them. They have to really be on the top of their game in this group. There’s no room for error or complacency, or I can see them dropping as far as fourth. I do think they will get best band. Their guitarist is incredible.
Auburn – I think they could take second place from Hastings, honestly, based on how they both perform that day, and of course what the judges are looking for. Of those attending (that I’ve seen videos of) I think Auburn and Hastings have the best vocals, with the most complex music. (Update - I did get Auburn and Homewood vidoes mixed up, so this is based on if Homewood attended, LOL. Homewood, very nice job on that ballad)
Titan Fever – crazy tight choreo, but when I saw them live, their second performance lacked the pizzazz that the first one did. How well they place will be all about their finals performance. I can see them going up or down one.
Findlay – Most complex choreo, hands down, but their vocals suffer, and there are far too many instances where they dance only, with no singing. All depends on what the judges like, though.
Petal/Center Grove – These two are very close for me, after watching only online videos. I think Petal might just edge out Center Grove, though, because their vocals are close, but Petal’s choreo is a little more difficult.
There you go. Now let’s see how completely wrong I am.
I was about to say all of Auburn's songs are originals and I was pretty shocked when Kari said that they were using a recycled song, anyways I can't wait for everyone to see Auburn's AMAZING show like it is truly one of the best shows of this decade.
Looked again, and you are right! I thought my predictions were garbage from that, but I used the handy "compare" feature, and noticed that Auburn and Homewood are very close in win/loss ratio, so these predictions could still be close.. All interesting stuff.
There's no arbitrary length of a post that makes me happy, but longer posts usually have a bit more thought/effort put into them and I definitely like that! When it comes to predictions, I just really like when people give reasons for their choices. Sometimes there are placements which a consensus of people seem to all agree on, but I also think people should feel completely free to predict a non-mainstream option if they have a reason for doing so. Explaining the choice helps others to understand the rationale behind the decision even if they don't agree with it. It's also really nice for some people who haven't seen a particular group to have something to go on. As this year has shown, "prediction" also means different things to different people - apparently - and an explanation helps with that too. But in general, yes, I like reading everyone's thoughtful stories.
I've seen it twice in person and I'm clueless. I heard it was based on "Black Mirror," which I haven't seen, but a Los Al person posted in a different thread that it wasn't based on anything so that's probably wrong. I'm sure there is an incredibly lush backstory to the whole thing that upon explanation is deep and beautiful (it is a Josh Greene original, after all), but as an audience member I have zero idea what's happening. There's a dancing bear and people on exercise bikes and puppets and a whole bunch more random stuff. I think some of Jen Oundjian's shows in the past have also been a little difficult to decipher, and for me this one is in that same vein as I'm not even sure what the setting is. I think Josh strives for show design that is more complex than just obvious, face-value stories (which I respect, and some of his work is my absolute favorite show choir stuff ever) - but I admit I feel a little frustrated as a viewer constantly wondering what's going on. I also think it's rather solo-heavy (especially since it features the same people throughout - something Los Al has done for several years), but they are certainly great singers.
In my opinion, if a show cannot stand on its own without an outside explanation, that is a flaw of its show design. (And a pet peeve of mine.) However, Los Al sings and dances so incredibly, that I am sure they will do just fine here!
My interpretation (I originally posted in the Oceanside thread) was that it's about escapism. The protagonist lives a pretty miserable life, working a dead-end job and going home to a sick wife in palliative care, and he gets this opportunity to go into some hologram/simulation/virtual reality program. Here, he feels free to do whatever he wants (The bicycle part) and it all builds up to some insane, wild party (the bear and chicken). During the comedown and aftermath he realises he can't keep running from his problems and dreary reality, and goes back to his life. His wife dies (I think) and he loses his job. But rather than running back and living in some virtual reality he continues with his life and tries to be joyful.
Some of these original shows are confusing, but once I understand the story I can see just the insane amount of effort that went into it all. Costumes, the choreography, and the music choices themselves chosen to explain it. Josh Greene does a great job of making each lyric, each medley fit perfectly to tell a story.
Speaking of Oceanside, that place will be lit at the end of the month! Los al, Borroughs, Brea and Burbank who just came back from OHio and haven’t lost yet! It’s almost a 2 hour drive from where I live but I think It’s worth the drive.
Mr. Jones has a pretty grim life. The love of his life is in hospice, and he's working and then laid off from a dead-end job. So he goes to some sort of VR/simulation place where he can relive his favorite memories in his head (which is where we get the Tom Sawyer/I Want to Ride My Bicycle numbers, which are fantastic) when his wife was young and healthy. You also get some David Lee Roth and vintage 80s exercise gear. And then there's a glitch in the program, and you end up with the chicken and a naked bear in a dance-off. And puppets.
Then we get to the "Joyful" ending, which is truly emotional. I've heard different interpretations of the ending, but I'm pretty firmly in the "his wife dies/then he dies" camp, although I've been told that is *not* the official interpretation. Either way, it's incredibly moving.
I have to say that while I thought it was insane at first, now I think it might be my favorite Los Al set in years (which is saying something).
Isn’t art fun? Especially when you learn, experience, and feel new things on repeated viewings? I’m a big fan of JJ Abrams’ “Puzzle Box” theory, but I think the best puzzle boxes are usually much deeper than the first apparent “solution” — even if that first solution is not entirely inaccurate. Art often means different things to different people, and good art can often mean different things to the SAME person depending on the context in which it is experienced.
There are some great theories here about Los Al’s show this year, and I love ALL of them; not because they’re right or wrong, but because they’re a snapshot of what this show meant to that person at a specific moment in their life. I can tell you that mental health has been on my mind of late, and that metaphors are one of my favorite storytelling devices. I can also tell you that if you listen to ALL the lyrics and ALL the sound effects (that sometimes get buried by applause), it’s all right there ready to be unpacked. But that is not the POINT. Just like the denifition of mental “health” is not that we all think and experience the world the same way.
If you get a chance to see Los Al this year, I’d encourage you to FEEL your way through the show and parse the details afterward. Smile, giggle, cry, scratch your head in confusion, get a little frustrated or even angry ... Every emotion you have is part of what makes you HUMAN. I’m hoping by the end you’ve gone on a bit of a rollercoaster, but land in fairly specific place. (Redemption through personal growth/responsibility is a recurring theme in my shows, and this one is no different.) Then, if you really wanna solve the puzzle, go back and watch it a few more times when it pops up online. It really is all there. BUT...