Music / Pentatonix

From left to right: Mitch, Scott, Kirstie, Kevin, Avi

Pentatonix, or "PTX," as they like to call themselves, are an A Cappella singing group consisting of five incredibly talented young musicians: Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan, and Kevin Olusola. Scott, Kirstie, and Mitch grew up together in Arlington, TX. They recorded a YouTube cover of "Telephone" by Lady Gaga in an attempt to win a "meet the cast of Glee" cover band. They didn't win the contest, but when Scott learned about The Sing-Off, they were inspired to audition. With advice from Sing-Off staff member and Scott's college friend Ben Bram, they added Avi, the bass singer, and invited Kevin to join them on vocal percussion after seeing his viral "cello-beatboxing" video on YouTube.

Together, the group produces a unique, full, layered sound that almost seems too complex to come out of five people. Scott, Kirstie, and Mitch form the melodic and harmonic core of the music, while Avi and Kevin lay down a remarkably solid base. Pentatonix won the third season of The Sing-Off, and have been creating impressive cover arrangements and original songs ever since. They have four EPs and two studio albums out thus far, and they regularly release YouTube videos of their music. They have had multiple viral videos, most notably "Evolution of Beyoncé" and a Daft Punk medley which reached 100 million views in November 2014 (one year after it was posted). Both videos received wide media attention as well. Pentatonix has headlined multiple US and European tours and one Australasian tour, and opened for Kelly Clarkson's Piece By Piece tour. They've performed pop, electronic, dubstep, R&B, and hip-hop music in their signature A Cappella style. They're the first Sing-Off alums to have an album go platinum (That's Christmas To Me) and also the first to win a Grammy (for "Daft Punk"), and the first a cappella group to have a No. 1 album in the United States.


  • PTX Volume 1 (June 2012)
  • PTXmas (November 2012)
  • PTX Volume 2 (November 2013)
  • PTXmas Deluxe Edition (2 bonus tracks) (November 2013)
  • PTX Volume 3 (September 2014)
  • That's Christmas To Me (October 2014)
  • Pentatonix (October 2015)

Pentatonix provide examples of the following tropes:

  • A Cappella: They have a unique take, incorporating electronic influences in their percussion, beatboxing, and song structure.
  • Adorkable: All of them, especially when they're geeking out about one of their interests. (For example, Scott talking about Beyonce or Mitch talking about corgis.)
  • After the End: The setting for their cover of "Radioactive" with Lindsey Stirling. Blasted, graffiti'd buildings, oversaturated visuals, and costumes with plenty of dusty leather and goggles. Bad Ass.
  • Anti-Love Song: Original song "The Baddest Girl":
    Do you really love me? (Tell me that you love me, say it)
    Do you really care? (I won't hold you to it, put me through it)
    Do you really want me? (Don't worry, my heart is made of steel)
    Do you really.. at least pretend to love me girl,
    I don't care if that love is real.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Arguably in their collaboration with Todrick Hall:
    Kirstie: (as the Witch of the West): Don't want no money! (to Avi/Lion) I like your beard.
  • Audience Participation Song: One of the most well-received part of their concert is where they divide the audience into thirds and have each third sing a part (as Team Scott, Team Mitch, and Team Kirstie), then have Avi and Kevin do their thing beneath.
    • Lately, they've been teaching the audience the three parts for the chorus of On My Way Home
  • Basso Profundo: Avi, full stop. The man can rattle the floorboards on incredibly deep, low tones.
  • Bowdlerise: They tend to remove curse words and other potentially racy language in their songs, the most notable being their performance of "OMG" on The Sing-Off, explained in part by Kevin's very religious background. Fortunately, it rarely if ever gets in the way of their songs and it really does make the songs more palatable to a wider audience.
  • Book Ends: The beginning and end of "The Wizard of Ahhs", a musical parody of and homage to the iconic 1939 film featuring Todrick Hall, begins and ends with the line Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Mitch can pull off a very unnerving smile, which borders on a Slasher Smile in their "Aha!" music video.
  • Chiaroscuro: The video for their original song "Run To You" and their cover of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy."
  • Christmas Songs: Two full albums of them, PTXmas and That's Christmas To Me.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Scott can be this.
  • Comical Angry Face: The behind-the-scenes for their "Radioactive" cover features a "super-frown count" of Lindsey Stirling and several members of the group doing their comical angry faces for various reasons. Final tally? Four.
  • Concept Video: Thus far:
    • The video for their cover of "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. The band puts together a spaceship out of random household objects!
    • The video for their cover of "Aha" by Imogen Heap. Zombified band members stalk a man and his girlfriend!
  • Cover Version: The majority of their songs so far. However, they often drastically rearrange the songs and like to do medleys, such as "Daft Punk" which combines seven different Daft Punk songs in one and "La La Latch" which combines "La La La" and "Latch", both of which have lead vocals by Sam Smith. Pentatonix, in contrast to earlier albums, is mostly original songs with only "If I Ever Fall In Love" as a cover (plus covers of "Where Are Ü Now", "Cheerleader", and "Lean On" in the deluxe version.)
  • Curtains Match the Window: In the video for "Daft Punk", Kirstie not only wears blue contact lenses but a pale blue wig and blue make-up across her eyes and nose.
  • Five-Token Band: Very nearly a natural example: Two white guys (both of whom are gay), a Hispanic girl, a Jewish guy, and a black guy.
  • Halloween Episode:
    • The video for their cover of "Aha". A Cappella music by way of a zombie flick.
    • The video for "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is also rather dark and eerie, if toned down compared to "Aha."
  • Icy Blue Eyes: The band sports pale blue contact lenses in their "Daft Punk" video, except for Kevin who wears futuristic Cool Shades.
  • Medley:
    • Their Britney Spears cover, from The Sing-Off
    • Their *NSYNC medley, from their YouTube channel.
    • The "Evolution of Music" video. A medley spanning over five hundred years' worth of popular music.
    • "The Evolution of Beyoncé" which is exactly what it sounds like.
    • A Daft Punk medley, simply titled "Daft Punk".
    • "The Wizard of Ahhhs"
    • Their newest medley, called "Evolution of Michael Jackson". It is nothing short of awesome.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: A Cappella pop, A Cappella hip-hop, A Cappella electronica...
  • Once an Episode: At the end of many of their YouTube videos, Avi will say, "Don't forget to subscribe" in a deep voice.
  • The Oner: Some of their early YouTube videos consist of the group sitting on a couch in front of a stationary camera and singing live.
  • Performance Video: They have several of these, such as the video for their cover of Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal."
  • Precision F-Strike: Subverted; you have to listen closely to catch it, but Mitch is actually singing "Bad Mitches like me" in their cover of "Starships" instead of "bitches."
  • Pretty in Mink: Kirstie wore a white fur jacket on the album cover of That's Christmas To Me.
  • Renaissance Man: Kevin plays cello at professional level as well as saxophone and piano along with inventing celloboxing (playing cello while beatboxing). He's a gifted singer, composer and arranger with his own solo EP (The Renegade) and speaks five languages fluently, including French and Mandarin Chinese. Graduated pre-med from Yale with a degree in Asian Studies which included a year and a half as an exchange student at China's two best schools, Beijing and Tsinghua University. He put a career in medicine on hold to explore his musical calling.
  • Self-Titled Album: Well, almost. PTX is a nickname for the group, and their first four albums were "PTX, Volume 1," "PTXmas," "PTX, Vol II," and "PTX, Vol. III." Finally played completely straight with Pentatonix.
  • Sesame Street Cred: They've already appeared in an episode.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Their collaboration with Lindsey Stirling on Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" (and later again on Stromae's "Papaoutai"). A Cappella music... with cello and violin.
    • In their concerts, they bring out Kevin's cello and have him cello-beatbox in order to give the rest of the vocalists a bit of a break.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Their first four albums all contain their nickname, "PTX," in the title; the fifth one is titled "That's Christmas to Me." Their sixth resumes the pattern, being a true Self-Titled Album.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Scott takes lead most often, but Kirstie and Mitch carry several songs apiece, and Mitch usually does the rapping when it's needed. Even Avi gets into the mix on several of their tunes, espeically on some of their recent original songs.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Despite having the deepest voice of the group, Avi is 5'11" to Kevin's 6'1" and Scott's 6'3".
  • Voice Types: The average American has a vocal range of one-and-a-quarter octaves; a trained singer typically has two and a bit. The members of Pentatonix have a lot more, easily qualifying as bisectional.
    • Avi is a Basso Profundo but can function as a tenor. One video pegs his range as three-and-a-half octaves.
    • Scott primarily sings tenor lead, but can function as a bass.
    • Kevin is a high tenor on the rare occasions when he sings (in "Run To You" his part is notated as an alto part sometimes and a tenor at others).
    • Kirstie tops out at mezzo-soprano, but has access to the whistle-tones made famous by Mariah Carey.
    • Mitch typically plays the part of the alto. That's crazy enough as it is, because that makes him a Cross Dressing Voice singing the part of a woman, but it gets crazier still when you see him run the gamut from tenor to soprano over the course of "Aha!" alone. When they do "Bohemian Rhapsody", it's Mitch who hits the high note, not Kirstie. Mitch also has a whistle register, almost as high as Kirstie, though maybe not as consistent.
  • White Male Lead: While every member save Kevin has sung lead on at least one song, Scott is the most common lead.
  • X Makes Anything Cool: According to Scott, the group was originally going to be called "The Pentatonics," but a friend suggested dropping the "The" and adding X at the end.