Pentatonix, a Grammy-winning a cappella quintet with more than 8 million subscribers on YouTube, recently released a tribute to pop superstar Michael Jackson entitled “Evolution of Michael Jackson.” The video, which has racked up more than a million views so far, features an a cappella mash-up of Jackson’s entire career, from beginning to end, and covering all the good point in between.
Other popular videos on the group’s YouTube page include “Evolution of Music” and “Daft Punk”, both similar sorts of retrospectives that have been praised as smartly curated, masterfully performed, and delightful to watch. The group’s page has more than 205 million views, combined.
Michael Jackson had an expansive musical catalogue, spanning several decades from his early days with the Jackson 5, and covering a wide range of styles. Penatonix covers it all. You can also catch the group performing in such films as Pitch Perfect 2 and the documentary On My Way Home. Their fan base has expressed a lot of enthusiasm on social media for both of these projects.
In Pitch Perfect 2, the group plays a rival group from Canada that is competing against the central group, the Barden Bellas. “When we were talking to the producers about being in it, they said they kept incessantly getting tweets from fans saying we should be in the movie,” said Kevin Olusola, who is the vocal percussionist of the quintet. “That was really cool to know that our fan base was right behind us supporting it along the way.”
The five members of the group include Olusola, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstie Maldonado, and Avi Kaplan. The movie was filmed in Louisiana. The group sang an a cappella rendition of “Any Way You Want It” by Journey.
“It isn’t really something we would do in terms of style,” admits Grassi. “It was very reminiscent of The Sing-Off, but it was kind of fun to go back to where we started and do it up a bit cheesier than usual.”
This “cheesiness” also carries over into the group’s costumes. They wear khaki pants and vests with giant maple leaves. Their tribute to Michael Jackson has received positive reviews from such culture mavens as Fuse TV and Entertainment Weekly.