Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The joy of being a talent judge. An unbiased one of course.

This first appeared in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday, June 9.

Talent. It's such a small word but it is one as we have seen both locally and nationally recently which is incredibly subjective.

There is no scientific method of defining if one person is more talented than another and that is why anything that constitutes a talent show brings with it potential controversy and debate aplenty. That should be all part of the fun of course - although not everyone sees it that way as I will explain .. .

I have been lucky enough to have helped judge two talent competitions in recent weeks - Komedia's Bath's Top Talent contest and last Thursday's Song For Bath finale and both interestingly were in the same week as the Britain's Got Talent finale which itself filled acres of newsprint.

What united the verdict in all three competitions is that not everyone agreed with the end result. And that is fine. How boring would it be if we had?

Take the wonderful Song For Bath contest for instance.

I was one of a panel of judges that helped select the superb winner, The Golden City by Charlie Groves. It was one of ten songs in the final, all of which I think could easily have won. But after a totally fair and independent judging process we emerged with a victor and felt confident we had hit on a real, deserving winner.

However, by Monday morning our website featured a handful of critical comments from people querying the result.

The word "fix" was used because a couple of the judges had connections with the winner. The fact that between the judging panel we probably had connections with most of the losers as well seems to have been overlooked. Someone knew someone who had won - so it must be a fix surely?

Well, no.

The winner won because he had written the best song. And as such I think it is a shame that people who didn't agree with the verdict just could not accept that not everyone can have the same opinion.

As I've mentioned before in this column, due to the nature of my job as editor I have judged many kinds of events and contests and you may be surprised at how often genuinely arrived-at decisions are later queried or moaned about .

I can fully understand the disappointment of people that don't win who think they should - our newspaper has been up for some awards we didn't win and I have probably mumbled a few criticisms myself - but I always think that if you are happy enough to accept the plaudits of victory, you should be prepared to deal with the probably more frequent examples of defeat too. It's called life.

So I want to end this on a more positive note because the two local talent competitions I've helped judged recently have both been of a fantastic standard and they have proved that yes, Bath has got talent in all shapes and sizes. I've seen choirs, jugglers, comedians, rock acts and singers of all ages and it has been enormous fun to watch.

And, having sat through several tortuous hours of the Britain's Got Talent programme last week, I think we have got more genuine talent here than virtually anywhere else.

Or, perhaps, I am just biased?

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