My musical luck lately hasn't been as good as yours. My latest musical adventure--and here we use both the words "adventure" and "musical" loosely--was last night's Nescafe De-wired acoustic band competition, the last of the eight elimination rounds, and the second one I sat in as judge (Conch and Bernie both took turns on the other rounds). The winner last night were the brothers Michael and Angelo Manahan, collectively known as Michaelangelo. Minus points for creativity when it comes to finding a band name; plus points for looks. And, oh, they were pretty good musicians, too.
I was happy with last night's winner, because they were my pick, although for a while there I was worried that I might've been giving the handsome brothers extra points for their fragrant good looks (i.e., mukha silang mabango), I closed my eyes during their performance, and confirmed that, yeah, Michael's voice was doing something to my insides. I liked that his voice wasn't the typical smooth, sweet, and brain-curdlingly bland voice that makes so much of this so-called genre. Michael's voice had some rough edges, which he used to good effect, and their pick of covers just walked the line between a little off-beat and memorable, and familiar and crowd-pleasing.
That said, I still had issues with the judging process for this whole thing. I suppose every contest shows the particular biases of its judges, but the De-wired criteria focused nearly exclusively on vocals, with almost nothing awarded for musicianship. A full 30% was given over to "vocal quality," but points for musical performance had to be subsumed under the hazy headings "originality" and "stage presence." I'd like to think that I can appreciate a good voice as much as the next person, and sure, it's not for nothing that vocalists are called front(wo)men, but ignoring the talents of the musicians in the band is just plain dumb. As a result of this limited system, my scores for the bands always came out nearly level, even when I vastly preferred the performance of one over the others. The truth is that good vocalists are easy enough to find (although it's something that's eluded the Purplechickens), but it's quite another thing to put together a good band and make good music.
To their credit, Nestlé and the event organizers have scheduled deliberations to come up with new criteria for the finals on October 22, and have invited representatives from our office to help out. I'd like to come dressed in my Judgment Bunny costume (headband and ears, and a basket full of "judgment oranges"). I'll hop on to the table, point to each of the people in turn, and scream, "Your taste sucks! And your taste also sucks! You all suck! Your opinions are all wrong and sucky! Stop all this sucking and kill yourselves now!!!" And then I'll pelt them with oranges till their skins are as bruised as their egos. That'll teach them not to mess with Judgment Bunny.