To judge or not to judge

Feb 142007
Authors: Marissa HuttonGavel

This is the first of a three part column series by campus editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel.


We all want to say we don’t form opinions based on little more than assumptions, but when it comes down to it, we judge each other all day, every day.

That said, when the opportunity to be a judge for the CSU Idol auditions and competition presented itself to me on Saturday, it was hard to resist.

Having been a performer for most of my life, I have always had a secret desire to be on the other side of the room watching someone else sweat out an audition for a change.

Before my days as a Ram I was a proud choir nerd. Some of my best friends and I spent our public school days competing in All-State Choir and even traveling to the Big Apple to show off our skills, all the while being judged individually as soloists and as a group.

Though some of my fondest memories are of learning a new piece of music and helping to compose my first original song, auditions were the bane of my existence as a singer.

Stereotypical reactions were my forte. Sweaty palms, nervous stomach and a newfound vibrato that made every note shakier than the last.

With memories of my own pre-audition jitters in mind, I set out to not only be fair and impartial with each contestant, but also reassuring.

Each brave soul who came into the room was greeted with a smile and often times a “take a breath, it’s over” when the music stopped.

My fellow judges – each of whom have backgrounds in musical theatre and or some form of classical training – and I heard everything from R. Kelly to “The Sound of Music” in the preliminary rounds.

We rated each audition on style, tone and sound, volume, performance, rhythm and tempo and overall presentation on a scale of one to five. Though we didn’t get the chance to offer suggestions or make comments to the performers (that comes later), everybody was notified on Monday whether they would be moving on to the performance rounds in the Ramskellar.

After spending several hours in the LSC, passing judgment, I must admit I was happy to be on my side of the table. No matter how confident you are in your vocal range or lively performance, it’s still hard to stand in front of a group of strangers and compete.

I wish all of you who’re going on to the next round the best of luck and to those of you who didn’t make the cut: Just think, maybe next year you can take my spot and be the judge for a day.

Campus editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

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