Pentatonix, a 5-member acapella group, began with three friends Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, TX. Hearing of a local radio show hosting a competition to meet the cast of Glee, they arranged a trio version of “Telephone” and sent it in. Although they did not end up winning the competition, it sparked attention around their school. The group began performing around school for different events and at their final choir concert of the year. After getting positive feedback from “Telphone” on YouTube, the three decided to continue and arrange other songs for fun.
When the opportunity arose to audition for The Sing Off, they decided to add two amazing performers Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola to the group. Thus, Pentatonix was born! Although only together for a short time, an instant chemistry, appreciation, and friendship arose out of the five. Pentatonix loves putting their own dance/upbeat spin on music and derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, and hip-hop. They look forward to their journey with each other and the opportunity to grow closer with one another while honing their craft. They can’t wait for any new opportunities that may arise from The Sing Off and are excited to be a part of the show!
Scott Hoying is an accomplished singer, songwriter, and pianist who has been performing since he was eight years old. Scott can usually be found singing at venues around the Dallas Fort Worth area. He has recently moved to Los Angeles and is a member of the Popular Music Program at USC.
Scott is always busy with various music projects, and recently completed another one with Kidd Kraddick. He arranged, recorded the piano track, and the lead vocals for the new theme song for the Kidd’s Kids charity. The song is called “This is Your Moment,” and has aired live many times, coast to coast, on “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.” Scott also recently collaborated with jazz artist Julie Bonk to write and record a tribute to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the years Scott has gained national attention through the many contests he has won including Johnnie High’s “Next Big Star” contest, Kidd Kraddick’s Jingle contest, and Nashville’s American Music Showcase. Scott performed for 4 million TV viewers as a finalist on CBS’s Starsearch. He has also performed with the Radio Disney Superstars for several years and performed at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Scott honors America on a regular basis by singing the National Anthem and the God Bless America for the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and for other professional and college sporting events. Scott has already had radio, TV, and theatre experience.
Mitch Grassi was born and raised in Arlington, TX. At an early age, Mitch immersed himself in the world of stage performance. He began his musical lifestyle at a very young age, performing in dozens of stage productions for nearly ten years. Although quite taken with the world of musical theatre, it was clear that his one true passion was to pursue music.
Mitch has entered many vocal competitions and talent contests. The most notable being the Teen Talent Follies competition, in which Mitch was awarded first place for his rendition of Scott Alan’s “Kiss the Air.” He also won the Kevin Kemp award, plus a generous scholarship. Mitch was actively involved in choir, and had the glorious opportunity to sing under the direction of world-renown composer Eric Whitacre.
Mitch plans to pursue music production and attend a (presently undecided) music college. He hopes to one day become a professional electronic musician, DJ, and vocalist. Mitch is incredibly grateful to be able to have the opportunity to do what he loves on national television, and is thrilled that he gets to experience it with his closest friends.
Kirstin Taylor Maldonado, 19, a National Hispanic Scholar, is a sophomore Musical Theatre major at The University of Oklahoma. Kirstin was born and raised in Arlington, TX. Her love of theatre and music began at the age of 7. She began singing and acting and was a member of a touring performance group for 8 years at Theatre Arlington, where she learned to sing 8 part harmonies.
Kirstin began her classical training during high school and was a member of the Texas All State Choir for three years. A 4-year show choir member and Dance Captain, she held numerous lead roles in her high school productions. Kirstin participated in shows around the Metroplex including Casa Manana and Bass Hall. Her last performance was as Cinderella in “Cinderella Rock” at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, produced by Todrick Hall. She recently performed as a soloist for the Mary Kay Conventions in Dallas and Houston.
Kirstin knows that “The Sing-Off” will be an amazing opportunity to grow and learn as a performer and she cannot wait to discover all the plans that God has for her in her musical career!
Avi Kaplan is originally from the small town of Visalia, Ca but moved to Upland, Ca in 2007 to attend school at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Avi loves to play guitar, compose and arrange music (including choral and acapella) and is currently training in opera.
Along with classical music, Avi has been singing vocal bass in various vocal jazz and contemporary acapella groups for the past 7 years. In 2008, Avi joined “Fermata Nowhere” a fresh, high energy, in-your-face, male acapella group from Mt. San Antonio College. In his second year, “Fermata Nowhere” won the ICCA, being the first community college ever to do so. At this competition, Avi received a special award of “Best Rhythm Section”; in previous years, this award had been coined “Best Vocal Percussionist” and had never been awarded to a vocal bass. Avi was the first vocal bass to be given this award and the award name was changed specifically to honor him.
In Avi’s 3rd year at Mt. SAC, he joined “Sincopation”, an award-winning jazz group that, in his first year, won the Monterey Jazz Festival Competition and the following year, performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Acapella music is not only Avi’s passion, it’s his life.
23-year-old Kevin “K.O.” Olusola, was born in Pasadena, CA but grew up in the small town of Owensboro, Kentucky. The son of a Nigerian psychiatrist and a Grenadian nurse, Kevin’s musical talented was nurtured at a very early age with piano, cello, and saxophone. He performed at Carnegie Hall twice as soloist on the cello and saxophone, and was on NPR’s “From The Top.”
After attending Phillips Academy Andover (MA) for the last two years of high school, he attended Yale University where he majored in East Asian Studies and finished his pre-med requirements. His love for East Asia allowed him to live in China for 1.5 years on a fellowship to study Chinese. He also developed his beatboxing skills during college and in 2009 did a Yo-Yo Ma-hosted international music competition where he won 2nd place and Yo-Yo Ma said that his “celloboxing” (playing cello and beatboxing simultaneously) version of Dona Nobis Pacem was “inventive and unexpected.” This April, Kevin’s “Julie-O” celloboxing video went viral on the internet, garnering national acclaim on media channels like CBS, AOL, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Justin Timberlarke’s website, and others.
Now a college graduate, Kevin is extremely excited to be a member of Pentatonix and compete in NBC’s “The Sing-Off!”