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Indiana Large Mixed Poll Rankings: Feb. 9

These rankings are a collection of our Indiana staff's three-member blind ballot to build where our top ten sits. Ranking groups in Indiana is extremely difficult with every group on this list being an extremely strong and deep program. The blind ballot and multi-member panel ensures that all perspectives are heard. With that, let's take a look at the rankings!

#1 Carmel Ambassadors

Carmel Ambassadors in 2023 (Ambassadors Instagram)

Carmel ruled the Indianapolis circuit last season, going undefeated and defeating the other two members of the Big Three. To cement their place at the top, they also won two competitions in the Northern Indiana/Illinois circuit, showing they are not afraid to travel beyond Indy. While we don't know the contents of their 2024 show until Pike, we do know that they will likely be the group to beat. Ambassadors have won nine of their last ten competitions, and they certainly won't come unprepared for Pike with their characteristic showmanship, amazing facials, and Dwight Jordan choreography. While we may know more about other groups we can't in good conscience take the group who swept this circuit last season from the top spot. We will have a better understanding after Pike where they stand, our staff was impressed by both FC and NC which means they will have good competition to start the year.

What is a step forward?

Win the next several weeks and do it convincingly. If they can go out and show they still belong at the top, then the panelists will probably keep them there. 

Bold prediction for this season: 

They will run the table once again and establish a matchup with Linn-Mar or Clinton next season to see who keeps the streak. This sounds like a pipe dream, but it would be a dream matchup for two titans of that caliber face each other. It takes a lot to lure each of them from their circuits, but who knows, maybe the world will get lucky. 

#2 Center Grove Sound System

CG Sound System at Fishers (Nathan Ensley)

After taking the championship at Heart Of America Nashville last season, Sound System seems determined to reclaim its spot at the top of Indiana this season. To do so, they’ll have to defeat a talented Carmel group, but they have the pieces to do it. The group is once again choreographed by all-star choreographer April James, who has choreographed Los Alamitos for the past fifteen years. Also, they started on the right foot at Fishers Silver Spotlight, where they took home a grand championship over Noblesville and swept both captions. Their performance displayed a whole new level of energy we have not seen out of CG. Despite having a 20-minute show, they performed as if they had drunk several energy drinks prior. This group is clean, intense, and ready to reclaim their spot at the top. Their ballad is gorgeous at exploring nuances in soft we haven’t heard before, and their show finally closes, unlike previous Sound System groups. Take notice, Indy: CG has come to play.

What is a step forward?

Keep moving and making improvements so when they meet their largest competition at Franklin Central, they are the favorites.

Bold prediction for this season: 

They will win Wheaton Warrenville South and Show Choir Nationals. Now this is a bold prediction as one means beating Los Al, and the other is winning nationals, which takes exceptional ability. However, if we are going to be bold, why not bet on the group that shocked the nation and won HOA Nashville last year? 

#3 Franklin Central F.C. Singers

FC Singers at their Preview Show (Nathan Ensley)

FC’s set this year is wildly different than in the past. It is far closer to a set from Iowa than the average Indiana formula. If anyone can make it work, it is FC, who are nationally renowned for their vocal prowess. The style suits them well, but there may be some growing pains with the transition. I have theories on what it will mean for them on the score sheet, but I want to wait and see what happens at Pike to say anything. I would rather have a second opinion from the judges to know how they will place. Regardless, it is an extremely strong set with lots of potential and a new style for a well-established group.

What is a step forward?

Win Pike. It's that simple, beat Carmel with your new style, and you will be the consensus number one. If they can be disciplined and display their talent, they can definitely be #1 on the circuit.

Bold prediction for this group: 

They will beat Carmel at Pike and take over the top spot in the next rankings. This one is more realistic than some other predictions out there. With the new style, who knows? They may just be next to explode. 

#4 North Central Counterpoints

North Central Performs at Show Choir Nationals (NCHS Choirs)

North Central hosted a preview show almost two weeks before they head out for competition, and they were impressive. They have decided to move on from Joe Sato to a brand new choreography team, which contains some of the biggest names in show choir. NC brings back Tori Brindis, who choreographed the group during their 2018 and 2019 seasons, in which they won two state championships and a national championship at the Grand Ole Opry in 2018. They have brought in a surprising addition in Dominic Matas, who is a standout from his work with California group John Burroughs Powerhouse but hasn't done much work in Indy. Last but certainly not least, they have brought in Ellie Jordan, who is coming off a five-win season with the Carmel Accents. This is nothing short of an all-star team for the group whose main issues seemed to be in the choreography category last season. The change was apparent in the preview show, as the new choreography looked fantastic and was boosted by the brand new state-of-the-art screens putting on a show of their own. The new choreographers bring together the Counterpoints’ swagger with high-level choreography and look to return them to the front of the Indianapolis scene. They are going to be a very interesting dichotomy to FC this season. The new Iowa style versus an old school Indy show choir battling it out over the next several weeks. I am really interested to see what their judging sheets look like because they will be in a heated battle all year long. They look poised to be far cleaner than they normally are at the first comp and be a threat from day one. 

What is a step forward? 

Make it clear the issue was in the choreography and make the most of the all-star cast. They have the vocals and possibly the choreography. If they can combine that with their swagger and atmosphere, the sky's the limit for this group. 

Bold prediction for this group:

They will win against the Big Three when they face off at some point this season. This is a tough call but they looked fantastic. They should be ready to take a step forward. With their first three competitions against members of the Big Three, they’ll have plenty of opportunity to grab a win and make that jump.

#5 Zionsville Royalaires

Zionsville Royalaires compete at HOA Orlando (ZCHS Choirs)

Zionsville brought a national championship back to Indiana their last time out in Orlando, but Indianapolis is raising its game this year, and Royalaires are left to #5. This year, I have to go with what I know over what I don’t at this point in the season, which makes these rankings tough. They will remain one of the most important groups in the Indianapolis circuit, and will likely not stay in 5th place for very long. They will move throughout this season and trade spots with other members of the top five. No one stays the same for long, and they will be a threat to watch. Our team will be watching them at Plainfield this weekend and will be ready to change everything once we have seen all the groups. So this is where they stay…for now. 

What's a step forward? 

Come out the gate just like they ended last season as a national power. If they can come out with the same drive and power that brought them a victory at HOA, then then they will have an amazing season. 

Bold prediction for this group: 

They will be the darling of Brownsburg and put their name in the top three of this list by the end of the season. With their talent, who knows what will happen?

#6 Noblesville NHS Singers

NHS Singers compete in 2023 (Noblesville Times)

A lot can change to start the season, and Noblesville is an example of that. At the beginning of the season, they were a group on the outskirts of the top ten. Now, they are one spot below below the Power Five and have pushed past several strong groups. With a win at Mid-America over Plainfield and a strong showing at Fishers, they will remain one of the circuit's most important players throughout this season. Indy this year will be extremely competitive, and they will be a massive part of what elevates this circuit beyond the average and into the insane. The world will see what happens as they start to face Power Five competition week in and week out, but for now, well done Noblesville, you earned this one.

What is a step forward? 

Get a convincing win versus a strong opponent. If Noblesville can do that, they will be in a great place to do well at Show Choir Nationals. 

Bold prediction for this season: 

They will force everyone to reconsider the term "Power Five" and make a major push to be one of the top groups in Indy. They have already impressed so much in Indy, who knows what will happen as the season goes on? 

#7 Plainfield Belles Et Beaux

Plainfield competes in 2023 (PHS Choirs)

Plainfield stayed the same, but what was around them did not. They got beat at Ball State by Noblesville, but it was by the slimmest of margins. Belles et Beaux was just 0.9 points behind NHS Singers, and they even took the vocal caption, which Noblesville had taken from Ohio standouts Ross and Loveland at Beavercreek earlier in the season. This was a great start, which they followed up by a convincing sweep at Edgewood. This supported the hypothesis that their new stage setup and massive group size would take some refining before they would begin to find their maximum potential. They will look to make Edgewood the norm every weekend as they move into the latter half of the season. They will host this week, which is a fantastic opportunity to keep refining the process. Treat the exhibition like a comp, and the group will get even better than before, though still have fun. Everyone is looking forward to the rest of their season as they look to be a strong contender.

What is a step forward? 

Become the new king of ISSMA comps. Make themselves the power that ISSMA runs through and keep improving at their set week in and week out. 

Bold Prediction for this group: 

They will capture the ISSMA state title this year and do it convincingly. They look very good this season and ISSMA is wide open with Franklin Central competing at Noblesville instead, so they have a great opportunity to capture it.

 #8 Fishers Electrum

Electrum competes in 2023 (Fishers Choir)

This is less about them and more about a rising level of competitiveness in an already extremely competitive area. So when they compete, the hope is that they give a reason to bump them right back up but for now, this is where they stand. They will take on Zionsville this weekend, which will say a lot about how they do against very strong competition. They looked strong in their exhibition and should be one of the top-tier Indy groups this season. They can make a run for the top if their director change can do for them what it seems to be able to capture in Sound. Regardless, they will be an extremely strong group to watch out for when you see their name on the schedule. 

What is a step forward? 

Making improvements in every competition and getting back on the top of the podium. Electrum is a group that has been grand champions. While it evaded them last season, a huge step for them would be getting back in championship-winning form. 

Bold prediction for this season:

They will have their breakout season and run up this list week by week. It happened with the last director change for Sound, it might just be Electrum's turn. 

#9 Avon Accents

Avon competes in 2023 (AHS Choirs)

Avon debuted at Decatur Central last week and looked like a strong competitor going into the rest of the season. Franklin Central was always going to be tough to defeat in a two-group final, as they are extremely technically sound. Thus, the second-place result at Decatur Central is a solid step forward. They have a great opportunity this weekend at Plainfield, where they will face Zionsville and Fishers. If they can take a decent step forward, they will get themselves much higher on this list. Regardless, they remain one of the most solid and consistent groups all around and will be a threat throughout the rest of the season.  

What is a step forward? 

Keep close with the top Indy groups and stay on the podium at the ISSMA state championship. 

Bold prediction for this group: 

They will be close with every competition they don't win and always be someone to watch. They did it last season and they definitely can do it again.

#10 Carroll Magic

Carroll’s season hasn't started how most people expected. Back-to-back third places are a bit uncommon for them. The voters still put them on this list because they are facing high-caliber competition, but one can always want to see more. They can get to a high level, and that can be reflected on the score sheets. They have a great opportunity to take a step forward after they host this weekend and come out with the motivation to return to the front at Center Grove. Having an amazing group from outside Indianapolis to keep the Indiana scene competitive is what the Indiana show choir scene needs. For now, Magic remains on this list, but until they get some head-to-head wins, tenth is probably close to their ceiling.

What's a step forward? 

Press into the Indianapolis circuit and take home some solid hardware. While it may be unrealistic to expect wins or expect them to hit Indianapolis every weekend, Magic can make the most of their limited Indianapolis appearances.

Bold prediction for this group: 

They will return to form and start winning again on a week-in, week-out basis by the end of the season. It's been a start they are not used to, but they can rally behind these losses and win every week if they find a new gear. 

Receiving Votes: Lafayette Jefferson "First Edition"

Check back late next week for another batch of Indiana poll rankings!

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