17 - 22 December '04
17 dec [ SUPER STAR Indie Productions CAMBRIDGE YMCA Judge ]
18 dec [ SUPER STAR Indie Productions CAMBRIDGE YMCA Judge ]
"... but what is the sound of ONE clique clacque-ing ???"
We all know how much I know about the contemporary television scene --- I haven't owned one for more than ten years --- and how much I know about music --- some day I hope to understand what terms like "key" mean --- so, of course, when INDY PRODUCTIONS decided to do a like-a-look of the show "American Idol" they picked ME as one of their panel of judges, right? Perfect casting!
Luckily for the thirty-two contestants --- some of the best voices, the best performers, and the best performers with great voices in this area --- all I had to do was try to say something not terribly embarrassing about each person after they performed ... and I had a guy named Anaye Milligan and a gal named Michelle Aguillon, who each knew more than I did, to help me; and, more to the point, it wasn't the vote of us judges but that of the Audience that decided which sixteen contestants will compete at the Finals at Sorenson Center, Babson College in Wellesley, on 15 January for the really spiffy prizes.
Aside from how little I knew, what did I learn?
1) I learned that the talent-pool in this area is solid, varied, and deep. Most of the people on the bill --- including several who, inexplicably [SEE 5 BELOW!] didn't make the cut.
2) All but I think one person used the microphone --- though I think none of them needed amplification. More importantly, a number of them decided to hold the microphone against their lips, restricting any possibility of moving easily or expressively about the stage. And, since the (electric) piano was also in the amplification-loop, it often competed with the voice. In general, especially in that space with good acoustic possibilities, I found the amplifiers part of the problem, not part of the solution.
3) Luckily, since the "Judges" didn't vote, none of their personal biases influenced the outcome of the evening.
4) UNluckily, the degree of talent and/or expertise had No influence on the outcome either.
5) As is true every year at the PLAYWRIGHTS' PLATFORM NEW PLAYS FESTIVALS, the voting (only one vote per audience member) was heavily skewed by the number of relatives, students, or classmates that each contestant brought to the contest. I mean, often the loudest applause and cheering came when the names of contestants were announced, even before they came through the curtain to stand before the mike. Not only that, but the size of the audience on the second night was less than half that on night one. I think Night One (when half the people I had expected to make the cut didn't) not only had an inordinate sprinkling of Claques, but also had many of the Second-Night contestants there scouting out the competition; on the Second Night, no one who Hadn't made the cut already bothered to attend, and of course, the contestants didn't vote at all --- though their cliques certainly did.
In a sense, this could be seen as an "Audition" --- not merely for future full productions by INDIE PRODUCTIONS, but for other shows in the coming year, for Cabaret gigs, and for bookings. And perhaps the exposure of talent and expertise is the best thing here, both for the contestants and for audience-members --- like me.