Judges discuss first impression of 2019 Sing acts

Kappa Sigma performing their act, Finding Bigfoot, at Sing 2019. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer

With several key performances already underway, Sing Season remains in full-swing for Baylor students participating in the last night of this beloved tradition. Although the performances are meant to be filled with entertainment and community, it can also be hard to ignore that groups are also being judged to receive cumulative scores that will determine their eligibility for this fall’s Pigskin Revue.

The first night of Sing performances was last Thursday, when “club night” judges didn’t give each act an official score, but instead provided constructive criticism that the groups can implement for the following “scored” nights. Nicole Narosov, a chosen club night judge and previous Sing chair when she attended at Baylor, said that the Thursday night criticism seeks to provide students with information that can be easily considered and adjusted to routines.

“We really tried to target things that groups can change,” Narosov said. “Something like costumes and backdrops can’t be changed, but if a vocalist sounds off, a group needs sharper choreography or their theme development can be clearer, we’ll let them know.”

Narosov noted that this year’s routines took on a lighter-hearted energy than in previous years and that groups often viewed as underdogs had impressive showings on Thursday night.

“Many of the acts were very light and positive which was interesting, as some years there can be some darker themes,” Narosov said. “There were a lot of groups that typically haven’t gone to Pigskin or been in the spotlight that surprised me and did really well. However, when I was at Baylor people would always say that groups that historically do really well intentionally won’t do well on the first Thursday to give a false impression to other groups. That kind of held true from a judging perspective in that some of the groups that are known to do really well are ones I was underwhelmed with. But I’m coming to watch this upcoming Saturday, so some of those groups may be absolutely amazing.”

Patrick Kendrick, another club night judge, was involved in Student Productions at Baylor, and served as Executive Student Producer of Sing in 2015. He noted that the groups standing out most to judges on Thursday were ones with high energy and members that appeared to be truly enjoying themselves.

“It was very evident that so many of the groups have put their heart and soul into these performances and I am always impressed at the level of effort that goes into making these incredible acts,” Kendrick said. “With regard to positive qualities, I think the acts that truly engage and entertain the audience by taking us through a clear story line or drawing us into a unique world generally succeed the most— entertainment value is worth the most points at the end of the day.”

On the flip side, Kendrick advises acts to consider whether they are conveying their acts’ storylines in a clear way to audiences and have clean-cut choreography.

“Hitting the backdrop when moving around the stage, including props or extras on stage that don’t serve a true purpose, and messy transitions on and off stage are a few elements that I don’t appreciate. Each of these things can be extremely distracting for audience members and detract from the overall effect of the act,” Kendrick said. “It’s important to make sure each member knows the character or mood they are trying to convey at each point within the act and commits 110%. This will carry the story line or convey the world the performers are trying to take the audience through. As I recently heard while on campus, would the audience understand an act if they had no music?”

Narosov also believes that some groups can always use improvement, especially when it comes to energy and maintaining a mindset that is open to criticism and adjusting elements of their act.

“Across the board, the acts could always use more energy,” Narosov said. “A huge piece of advice that really helped me as a Sing chair is to never settle for yesterday’s good performance. There is always room to improve, whether it be hitting moves a little sharper or conveying emotion a little better. Never stop improving, which is the biggest thing in such a competitive setting.”