A Cappella BEATdown

A Cappella Beatdown logo


Just click below on any groups' Watch Them Perform Here link.


The first A Cappella BEATdown is over! All of the groups were great and it was difficult to determine a winner. When designing the competition, we knew it would be much easier to vote online than to call the pledge phone bank, hence the web vote totals would likely to be much higher. Indeed, while we ultimately logged hundreds of phone calls during the live show, we received thousands of online votes. For that reason, we kept the two polls as separate but equal components in the final determination. If the winner of the online vote differed from the winner of the phone-in, our in-studio judges would break the tie.


The top three groups in the phone-in vote: #1 Chai-Town, #2 The Tone Rangers, and #3 BluBop

The top three groups in the online vote were: #1 Chai-Town, #2 The Tone Rangers, and #3 The Rip Chords

The in-studio judges agreed with the viewing public and the ultimate winner of the first A Cappella BEATdown - Live! was... CHAI-TOWN!

Congratulations to all the groups for putting on such a spectacular show. On behalf of Illinois Public Media, thank you to all of the participants, the many crew members and volunteers who came together to make this program happen, the many people who voted, and especially to those who pledged their financial support to WILL-TV! You're the ones who allow us to try new things such as A Cappella BEATdown and we hope that you enjoyed the show!

A Cappella BEATdown contest rules


Beatdown Contestants:

Blubop group photo


BluBop is one of two outstanding vocal jazz ensembles at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Combining jazz, pop, acapella, and gospel musical styles with a fun, energetic stage presentation, BluBop is sure to entertain. This season, Blubop will co-host the 21st Annual Millikin Vocal Jazz Fest and they will also travel to Western Michigan University to perform at the Gold Company Invitational.  The group is directed by Mike Engelhardt, a Millikin alum who, in addition to serving on the choral music faculty at Millikin, also directs the Greater Decatur Chorale and the Decatur Park Singers.

BluBop Webpage:

Watch Them Perform Here

Chai-Town group photoVideo


Chai-Town A cappella was formed at the University of Illinois, when a group of young men came together with their love for music. They wanted to show how two seemingly different cultures can fuse together to produce something great. This vision has grown into Chai-Town A cappella. As one of the country's premiere Hindi-English A capella groups, Chai-Town has gone on to perform and compete across the nation from California to North Carolina.

Chai-Town Website:

Watch Them Perform Here

Chandani group photo


Chandani is an all female Hindi-English a cappella group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and we are one of the premier female Hindi-English a cappella groups in the country! In recent years, Chandani has performed everywhere from California to New York and everywhere in between. We have also participated in Anahat an annual National Championship of South Asian Acappella, at the University of California-Berkeley. Our repertoire combines everything from pop favorites to Hindi film songs, resulting in a unique cultural and listening experience for audiences.

Chandani Webite:

Watch Them Perform Here

Cut Time group photo

Cut Time

The scintillating and fantastic voices of 'Cut Time' come from Champaign, Illinois' Champaign Central High School. Cut Time has been the school's male a Capella group for around five years but this year 6 of the 11 are new to the group. Cut Time hopes to perform more outside of school concerts this year. If you would like to contact us about performing for any event please feel free to contact us via our Facebook Fan Page. And yes, we do birthday parties.




Cut Time Website:

Watch Them Perform Here


Femme Forte

Femme Forte is is a student run group from Central High School.  It consists of girls freshman through senior.  Femme Forte sings songs from all genres arranged by its members.

Watch Them Perform Here

Girls Next Door group photo

Girls Next Door

The Girls Next Door are the University of Illinois' premiere female acappella ensemble. They began in 1971 as an elite group chosen from the University's Women's Glee Club, and have been amazing audiences with their beautiful harmonies and entertaining performances ever since. Their repertoire covers almost every genre, from popular music to jazz to country; the Girls Next Door really have something for everyone!





The Girls Next Door website:

Watch Them Perform Here

Tone Rangers group photo

Tone Rangers

The Tone Rangers is a select group of members taken from the Millikin Men's Choir at Millikin University in Decatur, IL.  They sing a wide variety of repertoire including contemporary a cappella, vocal jazz, barbershop and standard men's choir pieces.  The members do not receive course credit for being involved.  They are a great group of guys that love to sing and are devoted to the ensemble and the music.  The group performs on campus, and around the community including concerts at churches and with the Millikin Men's Choir. 

The Tone Ranger Website:!/pages/Millikin-Men-Ensemble/284720603662?ref=ts

Watch Them Perform Here

The Rip Chords group photo

The Rip Chords

The Rip Chords are an elite 15 member a cappella skydiving squad from the University of Illinois known for their incredible ability to harmonize together while falling from airplanes 10,000 feet above the ground. Named for the cord a skydiver pulls to release her parachute, these fearless women have been scaring birds across the country since 1992. They are all-female, all-talent, all-class, and they are the perfect blend of sweetness and spice. (Musically speaking, that is.) They are thrilled to be performing tonight! Enjoy the show, and best of luck to the other groups!

The Rip Chords website:

Watch Them Perform Here


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