Looking back, singing competitions used to have a criteria for judging (e.g. Star for a Night, Sing Galing, Star in a Million, and Pinoy Dream Academy). The criteria helps judges evaluate the singer’s vocal range, versatility, originality, and stage presence. Fan base is not included.
Another thing that I like about singing competitions is I get to hear amazing vocals that I don’t usually hear on the radio. Singing contests are different from MTV and MTV is not a singing contest.
So what makes a singer better than the other? For me, these are what I always look for:
- Acrobatics – showcases the range, tone and quality of the voice. The most common forms of acrobatics usually heard in singing competitions are the following:
- Other Forms
A song can be interesting even without acrobatics. But since singing competition is about competing and proving which singer is better than the other, singers have to sing vocally challenging songs by adding a few acrobatics to help bring the best out of their vocal range and show their versatility. I mean it’s like how can you be a guitar idol if you’re just strumming (no plucking, sliding, etc)? That’s why some contestants combine 2 acrobatics in one (e.g. curling falsettos for R&B singers while shouting grudges for rockers). But it doesn’t mean that the more acrobatics they do, the more interesting the song will be. Sometimes too much of it can ruin the song. This is where the “arrangement factor” comes in.
- Arrangement – arranging songs is like trying to think out of the box to:
- make their songs sound different from the original
- know what kind of acrobatics to use for which type of songs
- try to make it sound interesting to the general audience
- Stage Presence – this is the singer’s attitude, facial expressions, and how they move on stage.
Today, singing competitions are starting to rely on audience votes. The results maybe influenced by a lot of factors like sympathy votes, good/bad publicity, physical appearance, and a lot more. I feel bad for those who do the effort and try to infuse a couple of acrobatics in nice original arrangements and can sing different styles of music, but are still not appreciated. I mean, what is there to compete about? It seems like those who look good on stage and sing catchy songs have better chances of winning than those who have real talent.
Note: Terms used in this article such as acrobatics, grudge, ladder and curls are just made up by the author.