Pentatonix Returns Home To Perform and Eat Whataburger

See Pentatonix on Thursday.
See Pentatonix on Thursday. courtesy Pentatonix

The world’s biggest a cappella group is coming back to its hometown. Three out of five of Pentatonix's members were classmates at Martin High School in Arlington, but it seems the entire group is excited to return.

“Oh, my gosh, we’re always excited to come back to Dallas. I mean, that’s their hometown," says Kevin Olusola, the group’s beatboxer, who was born in Kentucky. "And if it’s their hometown, it’s going to be one of the crazy shows that we do. So I think it’s going to be so much fun. It’s exciting to see family.

“For me, I’m excited for Whataburger," he says. "Very good. I’m very excited about the honey [butter] chicken biscuits.”

Pentatonix first garnered national attention on YouTube, where its videos racked up millions of views. The quintet went on to win the third season of The Sing-Off, a singing competition show for a cappella groups. Now with three Grammys and a few multiplatinum albums under their belts, the singers are preparing for their tour to promote their newest pop cover album, PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. 1. This will be their seventh headlining tour.

“This is probably the most vocally and choreo-demanding show we’ve ever done," Olusola says. "We wanted to raise the bar. I hope fans get to see that we’re working hard to do things we’ve never done before.”

Pentatonix always puts on a spectacle. The singers have an incredible talent for filling an arena with just their voices.

“The music that we always do is the same arrangement that you’ll hear on the album," Olusola says. "With our sound guy, we work on making the sound very full. So, like, when people hear my kick drum, it doesn’t sound like it’s just like a beatbox. It feels like a kick drum. It thumps, it pounds, it sounds exactly like you’ll hear it.

“So it sounds very full. You don’t miss anything. You don’t miss a guitar, you don’t miss any instrument. You really enjoy the sonics of the five-part vocal group. And the show itself is very much like a pop show. So if you come, you’re going to see a pop production. You’re going to see wardrobe changes. You’re going to see transition. It truly is a pop show. It just happens to be no instruments on stage."

"You’re going to see wardrobe changes. You’re going to see transition. It truly is a pop show. It just happens to be no instruments onstage." – Kevin Olusola

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In May 2017, Avi Kaplan announced that he was leaving the group. When he did, Matt Sallee replaced him as Pentatonix’s base. Although Sallee already did his first tour with the group to promote a Christmas album last year, this album is the first to feature Sallee in this role.

“He’s been incredible because he’s been so well prepared," Olusola says of Sallee's smooth transition. "He has this running playlist of every song we’ve ever done, and he listens to it every day. So anything new we have to try, he’s like, ‘I already know that.’”

Olusola has nothing but excitement to share about the group’s latest tour.

“It’s going so well," he says. "We just started, and it’s really really fun. The first couple shows have been really, really good, but we’re continuously improving and working on the kinks and just really getting better, and it’s really fun, so it’s been good."

Pentatonix's show is at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 26, at Dos Equis Pavilion. Tickets start at $18.
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Isabel Arcellana has been writing for the Observer since spring 2018 and has been creating fake newspapers for her mom since she was 8. She graduated from SMU with a double major in journalism and fashion media. Her five guitars are named after High School Musical characters.