Pentatonix is an American a cappella group of five vocalists, Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola, originating from Arlington, Texas. 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. Their debut EP, PTX Vol. 1, charted at #14 on the Billboard 200 and their second release, PTX Vol. 2, debuted #10 on the Billboard 200. Pentatonix is currently preparing for their worldwide tour in 2014
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Pentatonix began with three friends who grew up together: Kirstin "Kirstie" Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, and Scott Hoying at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. 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.
Scott Hoying and Kirstie Maldonado graduated from Martin High School in 2010. 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. Grassi, the youngest member of the trio, was still in his senior year of high school. 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. He persuaded Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi to join him, but the show required at least four members. 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.
The group met the day before the auditions for the third season of The Sing-Off began. Mitch Grassi skipped his high school graduation ceremony in order to arrive on time for the auditions. They successfully auditioned for the show and eventually went on to win the title for 2011.
Pentatonix, as suggested by Kevin Olusola, is named after the pentatonic scale, a musical scale or mode with five notes per octave. 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. The quintet derives its influences from pop, dubstep, electro, reggae and hip-hop.