Pentatonix, a five-member a cappella sensation, rose to fame after clinching victory in “The Sing Off” Season 3. Their success story is intertwined with the resurgence of a cappella music, propelled by popular TV shows and films like “Glee” and the “Pitch Perfect” series. Interestingly, it was “Glee” that played a pivotal role in the group’s formation.
Their standout a cappella prowess was on full display during a 2022 live rendition of “Sound of Silence” at the Hollywood Bowl. The group’s roots trace back to Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, where founding members Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, and Kirstie Maldonado first harmonized. Their journey began with a radio contest to meet “Glee” cast members, performing a striking rendition of the Gaga/Beyoncé hit “Telephone.” Though they didn’t win, this performance garnered significant local and online attention.
Scott’s enrollment at the University of Southern California marked a pivotal moment. Joining a campus a cappella group, he was encouraged to audition for “The Sing Off.” Seizing the opportunity, Scott brought Mitch and Kirstie on board, later adding Avi Kaplan and beatboxer Kevin Olusola, thus forming Pentatonix. Remarkably, the group only met in person on their audition day.
Scott, inspired by the five-note pentatonic scale, coined the name “Pentatonix,” symbolizing the group’s five-member structure. They dazzled on “The Sing Off,” alongside 15 other groups, and continued to enthrall audiences, notably with a YouTube performance of Michael Jackson’s hits that stands out as particularly memorable.
Post-“The Sing Off,” Pentatonix’s discography expanded to include six albums, featuring two Christmas compilations, with their fourth and fifth albums topping the US Billboard charts. The group, evolving from cover songs to original music, has bagged three Grammy Awards.
Their touring schedule has been extensive, covering both the US and international destinations. However, the demanding tour life led Avi Kaplan to amicably part ways with the group, with Matt Sallee stepping in. The group’s trajectory has remained upward, marked by appearances on various TV shows and a standout performance at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards alongside Kelly Clarkson and Sheila E.
Pentatonix’s YouTube channel boasts an impressive 19.6 million subscribers, with their videos consistently garnering significant viewership. The Michael Jackson evolution video alone has amassed an astounding 48.5 million views. The group’s cinematic presence includes a cameo in “Pitch Perfect 2” as a Canadian rival team. While the pandemic has slowed their public appearances, Pentatonix’s impact on the music world remains undeniable, and their return to the spotlight is eagerly anticipated.