RDU Review: Taylor Hall Meets American Idol

I am Carrie Martin, the Coordinator of UPB, and it is my job to advise this wonderful group of students who bring amazing events to campus. As part of my job it sometimes falls under my responsibilities to “participate” in events. Carrie MartinFor example, just last night I contributed my opinions as a judge for “Rumble Down Under”, a battle of the bands-type event that pinned ten student performers and bands against each other for their own programmed show on campus. If we were speaking in terms of American Idol,  to clearly define my style as a judge you could place me appropriately between Paula Abdul and Ellen Degeneres.

Other than her tendency to slur words and speak illogically, I think Paula is best known for her positive and bubbly feedback for performers. Similarly, it broke my heart to not declare every performer a winner because I was so blown away by some of the talent here at JMU. I was so impressed by the quality of music that it was almost impossible to make me choose one – I just wanted to hug them all as they got off stage for even having the guts to perform! It was hard for me to give anyone low scores, so I just avoided it by judging entirely through comments rather than quantitative score. How do you pick a winner when you just want everyone to be happy?!
As far as my qualifications to actually judge a music competition, that’s where my likeness to Ellen comes in. In high school I played the trumpet and had a steady rise to fame as a stepsister in the musical “Cinderella” – but that just about sums up my experience with music performance. Everyone else on the panel came from a music industry background and provided far more useful “Simon” or “Randy”-like feedback. In comparison, I gave bonus points to people who clearly enjoyed being on stage (great job”The Last Kings”) or got people to clap along (well done “Lights in the Fog”). I wanted to hear their stories and conversations with the audience (thank you Andrew Rohlk). I was impressed by the performers who made me laugh (thanks for your song about Purell, James Orrigo) or those who rolled with the punches (way to play with a broken string, “Whiskers and the Sly Raccoon”!). Basically, as a judge I 80 One Recordsrepresented every-person in the room who just wanted a performance that made me want to hum along or get up and dance.
So while I felt a little like the odd ball out compared to my other colleagues on the panel, I definitely enjoyed myself. Congratulations to “Stay at Home Greg”, the “Rumble Masters” of TDU. I don’t know if everyone in the audience was already a fan before the event, but I think they are now!

– Carrie