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Pentatonix drops the sax to cover Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea's 'Problem'


Is there anything Pentatonix can’t sing? Probably not—even though it’s fun to imagine some obscure East German hymnal that’s impossible to cover with just five human voices.

Either way, in the here and now, there’s nothing Pentatonix can’t tackle—including the pop-rap hybrid “Problem,” one of two tracks featuring Iggy Azalea that lay legitimate claim to the title of Song of the Summer. Pentatonix’s cover is noticeably more low-key than the original, perhaps because it’s missing the blaring saxophones that pop throughout Ariana Grande’s vocals. Watch below:


Hear Pentatonix's amazing 'Carol of the Bells' from their upcoming Christmas EP -- EXCLUSIVE

Hoping to get in the Christmas spirit a little early? You’re in luck. EW has an exclusive present for you courtesy of futuristic a cappella troupe Pentatonix, the winners of season 3 of The Sing-Off, who are gearing up for the release of their second EP, a Christmas collection called PTXmas, which will be available on Nov. 13.

The vocal band, who frequently make headlines with their inventive covers — like this recent take on “Gangnam Style” — have already successfully released one EP this year and toured the country. And the group has just announced a 2013 tour (dates available on the group’s Facebook page) that will run from January 24 to mid-March of next year.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves — first we have to get into the Christmas spirit. “But we’re only at Halloween,” you say? Trust me, once you hear Pentatonix’s version of “Carol of the Bells,” which you can stream exclusively right here on EW, you won’t be complaining.

The track features an arrangement of the classic carol that is at once both spirited and haunting. Mitch Grassi’s formidable tenor leads the song, and he’s well supported by the rest of the group, though Avi Kaplan’s incredible bass notes deserve a special shoutout (Seriously, how does he go that low?!). They’re basically like a chorus of angels wearing skinny jeans… or something like that. Check it out (especially the breakdown at 2:14) below: READ FULL STORY

Winners of 'The Sing-Off' outsell 'The Voice' winner Javier Colon

Well, NBC, this is awkward…

Pentatonix, the awesomely futuristic winning group from Season 3 of NBC’s now-canceled a cappella singing competition The Sing-Off, which averaged about 4.5 million viewers in its last season, sold a rather impressive 18,401 copies of their debut PTX, Vol. 1 in its first week, good for 11th place on the chart, according to Hits Daily Double.

That means that Pentatonix’s online-only EP, which is being distributed via iTunes by indie label Madison Gate Records, sold almost twice as many copies as The Voice winner Javier Colon’s Universal Republic-produced Come Through For You did in its first week. Colon’s disc peaked at number 134 with anemic first-week sales of just 9,974 copies in late 2011.

Mind you, Colon’s season of The Voice, which coach Adam Levine called “the platinum standard” earlier this year in response to American Idol‘s assertion that it was the “gold standard” in the singing-competition world, averaged 10.6 million viewers and boasted a much younger demographic than The Sing-Off. NBC is bringing back The Voice for both a fall and spring season this year.

Do you have Pentatnix’s new record? (I do, and it’s absolutely terrific — even the originals!) Will The Voice‘s latest winner, Jermaine Paul, fare better than Colon? And can we all agree that criticizing Idol‘s record sales seems pretty silly when other reality competitions yield numbers like these? (For comparison’s sake, Pentatonix also outsold Season 8 Idol winner Kris Allen’s sophomore disc Thank You Camellia, which started with over 16,000 copies earlier this year. Still they didn’t come close to matching the 198,000 debut of Scotty McCreery’s Clear As Day.)

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‘The Sing-Off’ champs Pentatonix talk competition, their future album, and (of course) Nick Lachey’s puns

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