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Pentatonix concert Paris.jpg
Pentatonix performing in Paris, France in 2013.
Left to right: Avi, Kirstie, Scott, Mitch, Kevin
Background information
OriginArlington, Texas
GenresA cappella, pop, soul
Years active2011 (2011)–present
LabelsRCA Records[1]
MembersMitch Grassi
Scott Hoying
Avi Kaplan
Kirstie Maldonado
Kevin Olusola[2]
  (Redirected from Avi Kaplan)
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Pentatonix concert Paris.jpg
Pentatonix performing in Paris, France in 2013.
Left to right: Avi, Kirstie, Scott, Mitch, Kevin
Background information
OriginArlington, Texas
GenresA cappella, pop, soul
Years active2011 (2011)–present
LabelsRCA Records[1]
MembersMitch Grassi
Scott Hoying
Avi Kaplan
Kirstie Maldonado
Kevin Olusola[2]

Pentatonix is an American a cappella group of five vocalists originating from Arlington, Texas.[3] The group won the third season of The Sing-Off on NBC in 2011, singing an a cappella arrangement of "Eye of the Tiger", which was originally performed by the band Survivor, as their victory song. Pentatonix won $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony.[4][5] Their debut EP, PTX, Vol. I (2012), charted at #14 on the Billboard 200 and their second release, PTX, Vol. II (2013), debuted #10 on the Billboard 200 and #1 for Independent Albums. They have sold over 500,000 records.[1] The group announced that their third release PTX, Vol. III will be released on September 23, 2014, followed by a Christmas album on October 23.

On June 25, 2014, Entertainment Weekly reported that the group will join the cast of the a cappella-centric film Pitch Perfect 2, slated for May 15, 2015.[6]


Background and name[edit]

Pentatonix's logo.

Pentatonix began with three friends who grew up together: Kirstin "Kirstie" Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas.[2] 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, where the group began performing. After their version of "Telephone" gained attention on YouTube, they continued performing.[7]

Hoying and Maldonado both graduated from Martin High School in 2010, Grassi in 2011. Hoying went off to the University of Southern California (USC) to pursue a bachelor's degree in Popular Music, while Maldonado pursued a Musical Theatre major at The University of Oklahoma.[8] While at USC, Scott Hoying joined an a cappella group called SoCal VoCals. He found out about The Sing-Off from another member of the group, Ben Bram (also their arranger, producer, and sound engineer) and was encouraged to audition for the show.[8] He persuaded Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi to join him, but the show required at least four members.[9][10] Hoying met Avriel "Avi" Kaplan, a highly recognized vocal bass in the a cappella community, through a mutual friend and the trio found Kevin Olusola on YouTube, as one of his videos where he was beatboxing and playing his cello at the same time went viral (called "celloboxing".) Kevin graduated from Yale, Pre-Med, and also speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese after spending a year studying in China.[11][12]

The group met the day before the auditions for the third season of The Sing-Off began.[13] [8] They successfully auditioned for the show and eventually went on to win the title for 2011 (season three).[14]

Pentatonix, as suggested by Scott Hoying, is named after the pentatonic scale, a musical scale or mode with five notes per octave.[15] The group believed that the scale's five notes matched their membership. They replaced the last letter with an x to make it more appealing.[16] The quintet derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, reggae, and hip-hop.[2]

The Sing-Off (2011)[edit]

Pentatonix performed the following songs on The Sing Off. [Note: they did not perform in Episode 1 or 3]:[17]

EpisodeThemeSong choiceOriginal artist
2Signature Songs"E.T."Katy Perry
4Current Hits"Your Love Is My Drug"Ke$ha
'60s Favorites"Piece of My Heart"Erma Franklin (credited to Janis Joplin)
5Guilty Pleasures"Video Killed the Radio Star"The Buggles
6Hip-Hop"Love Lockdown"Kanye West
7Superstar MedleysMedley of "Oops!... I Did It Again", "Toxic" and "Hold It Against Me"Britney Spears
8Rock classics"Born to be Wild"Steppenwolf
Country hits"Stuck Like Glue"Sugarland
9R&B"OMG"Usher (featuring
"Let's Get It On"Marvin Gaye
10Mastermix Medleys"Forget You" / "Since U Been Gone"Cee Lo Green / Kelly Clarkson
Judges' Choice"Dog Days Are Over"Florence and the Machine
11 (Finale)First performance"Without You"David Guetta (feat. Usher)
Second performance"Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)"98 Degrees (sung with host Nick Lachey)
Victory song"Eye of the Tiger"Survivor


2012–13: PTX Vol. 1 & PTXMas[edit]

Main article: PTX, Volume 1
Main article: PTXmas

Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kirstie Maldonado dropped out of college in the hopes of winning The Sing-Off.[18] After they won, all of the members relocated to Los Angeles in order to pursue a career as recording artists.[19][20] The main goal of the group is to become the first mainstream a cappella group in recent times.[21]

In January 2012, having signed with Sony-owned independent record label Madison Gate Records,[22] the group began working on their first album with producer Ben Bram. During that six month period of picking covers and writing originals, Pentatonix released covers of both popular and classic songs on YouTube. In interviews, the members mention that it was a way to stay relevant to their audience that enjoyed their work on "The Sing-Off", in addition to gain new fans.[23] Almost all of their covers, including "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, "Gangnam Style" by PSY and "We Are Young" by Fun, went viral on YouTube.[24][25]

Their first EP, PTX, Volume 1, was released on June 26, 2012, charting at #14 in the US Billboard 200 chart and #5 digital chart.[16][26] It sold 20,000 copies in its first week of release.[27][28] They promoted their album through press appearances on Access Hollywood, VH1 The Buzz, Marie, and local television shows. Pentatonix were also featured on the Chinese version of The Sing-Off as guests where Kevin showcased his fluency in Mandarin.[29] Pentatonix also embarked on their first national headlining tour in Fall of 2012. The tour was sold-out and spanned 30 cities. Openings acts consisted of Alexander Cardinale and SJ Acoustic Music.[citation needed]

The group released their Christmas EP, PTXmas, on November 13, 2012. They released their video of an original arrangement of "Carol of the Bells" the following day. They performed on "Coca-Cola Red Carpet LIVE! @ The 2012 American Music Awards" Pre-Show on November 18, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, and the "94.7 THE WAVE Christmas Concert Starring Dave Koz and Kenny Loggins" on December 16. They were also featured guests on Katie Couric (ABC), Home and Family (Hallmark), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Big D NYE. Ryan Seacrest's website named Pentatonix the 2012 "Featured Artist of the Year" for their expansive growth online in just one year.[citation needed] The Christmas album was re-released on November 19, 2013 additionally labeled the "Deluxe Edition" and contains two additional tracks.[30] One of these, "The Little Drummer Boy" charted in several Billboard categories including peaking at number two on the "Streaming Songs" chart and number one on the "Holiday 100" chart.[31]

2013–14: PTX Vol. II[edit]

Main article: PTX, Vol. II

The band went on their second national headlining tour from January 24, 2013 to May 11, 2013, and simultaneously wrote additional original material for their second EP, PTX, Vol. II.[32][33][34] They released the first single, a cover of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's "Can't Hold Us" on August 20, 2013 which to date has over 18 million views. The group also promoted PTX, Vol. II on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in November 2013, after the success of "The Evolution of Beyoncé" mashup on YouTube.[35][36] That week, the band was featured on "Around the World with Diane Sawyer" and were named "Persons of the Week".

The album was released on November 5, 2013 in conjunction with their second album single on YouTube: a medley of Daft Punk songs. The video went viral, garnering more than ten million views in the first week, and as of August 2014, has 85 million views. PTX, Vol. II debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Independent charts, selling 31,000 copies in the first week. Pentatonix subsequently re-released a deluxe version of PTXmas on November 18, 2013 with two new tracks, "Little Drummer Boy" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain".[37] Their YouTube video of "Little Drummer Boy", released near the end of November, garnered more than ten million views in the first week and reached number ten on the iTunes top songs charts worldwide. The song debuted at number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 13, 2013.[38] The video has over 33 million views as of June 2014.

In May 2014, Pentatonix signed with RCA Records, a "flagship" label of Sony Music Entertainment.[1] On July 30, through the new label, the group released their first official album PTX, Vols. 1 & 2 in Japan, containing all of the songs from their two namesake EPs and four additional tracks, previously released as singles. It was released in Australia on August 15.

2014–present: PTX Vol. III and That's Christmas to Me[edit]

On August 7, 2014, Pentatonix announced that their third EP PTX, Vol. III would be released on September 23, 2014. The EP went up for pre-order on iTunes on August 11, 2014 and included a download of two tracks from the EP, "Problem" and "La La Latch".[39]

The group also revealed on August 7 that they would release their second full-length Christmas album, That's Christmas to Me, titled after the title track of the album, an original song that was penned by Pentatonix themselves.[39]

Additional releases[edit]

Along with their own albums, the band has also collaborated with other artists. In March 2013, Pentatonix and violinist Lindsey Stirling released their cover of the Imagine Dragons song "Radioactive", which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in the classical digital songs category[40] and won "Response of the Year" at the YouTube Music Awards.[41] In July of the same year, along with American Idol contestant and fellow Arlington Texan, Todrick Hall, they released "The Wizard of Ahhhs" which mashes up several songs to create one song. The music video follows the story of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz with the artists dressed as its numerous lead roles.[42]

Several singles have also been released by the group including covers by A Great Big World, Pharrell Williams, Lorde, and others as well as a rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy" in 2013, receiving a number of Billboard awards including Holiday Digital Songs, holding the top spot for three weeks.


During The Sing-Off, Pentatonix visited the administrative offices of The Trevor Project, an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.[43] The group shared their experiences of overcoming bullying and recorded a Public service announcement.[44] A 60-second spot about The Trevor Project aired during the live finale, but it was met with considerable controversy as the producers edited out LGBTQ references and failed to acknowledge the orientations of Grassi and Hoying, both gay and out members.[45][46][47][48][49][50]

Pentatonix performed two shows in Rochester, New York, on December 11, 2011 in support of the University of Rochester YellowJackets' "United We Sing" Kenya project.[51] The event, which also featured all-female octet Delilah, was hosted by the YellowJackets at Kodak Hall at the university's Eastman Theatre. Pentatonix was also invited to the A Cappella Palooza fundraiser in Boston in April 2012 (together with Ben Folds, Delilah, Dartmouth Aires, North Shore and the Dear Abbeys from Boston University) in an effort to raise funds for the Mass General Cancer Center.[52]


Extended plays[edit]

Album detailsPeak positions



PTX, Volume 1
  • Released: June 26, 2012
  • Released: November 13, 2012
PTX, Vol. II[56]
  • Released: November 5, 2013
PTX, Vol. III [39]
  • Released: September 23, 2014

Studio albums[edit]

Album detailsPeak positions
PTX, Vols. 1 & 2
  • Released: July 30, 2014 (Japan),[58]
    August 15, 2014 (Australia)[59]
That's Christmas to Me [39]
  • Released: October 2014


YearSinglePeak positionsAlbum
2012"Gangnam Style" (live)N/A
2013"Daft Punk"105PTX, Vol. II
"Little Drummer Boy"1385639PTXmas (Deluxe edition)
"Royals"PTX, Vols. 1 & 2
2014"Say Something"89
"Problem"[63]PTX, Vol. III
"La La Latch"[64]103


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External links[edit]