The a cappella group Pentatonix was formed in 2011, the same year that it won season three of “The Sing-Off,” a competitive NBC show for a cappella groups. The quintet consists of one woman, Kirstin Maldonado, and four men, Avi Kaplan, Scott Hoying, Kevin Olusola and Mitch Grassi.
The pop group has built much of its reputation around Christmas music, releasing much-anticipated videos of Christmas classics every Thanksgiving since 2012. In the past, these have included “Silent Night,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Mary, Did You Know?” This year’s entry is “Joy to the World,” which was recorded in an ornate church amid lit candles. The video has a reverent but lively tone to it.
The fact that each singer is wearing something completely different adds a sense of casual spontaneity to the solemn setting. This video went viral almost immediately and is already being considered one of the big hits of the holiday season. It is a straightforward version of the classic Christmas carol, though each verse includes some unique melodic and harmonic touches. Several of the verses include vocal percussion, which adds a hip tone to the hymn.
Adding to the song’s appeal is the expressiveness of the singers who all appear to be truly enjoying themselves. They wear ecstatic expressions that exemplify the joy of the lyrics, making it almost impossible not to smile yourself. The cheerful approach and excellent vocal chemistry that has helped make the group so popular is fully apparent in this video, which promotes their holiday album “That’s Christmas to Me.”