We will first consider the criteria used for evaluation by the audition judges, and then describe the various aspects of vocal performance typically judged. The judges try to apply the criteria as consistently as possible, through use of a rating scale to fairly and impartially judge singers. The process is designed to be as neutral and impersonal as possible.
For the rating scale we generally always use numbers. All judges on the team need to understand the scale and calibrate their thinking around it. We will call this scale the “assessment standards” or “standards for evaluation.” The usual scale is from 1 to 5.
This standard rating scale will work for evaluating any kind of audition or performance:
- 5 Points: outstanding, excellent, superior, of a professional level
- 4 Points: very good, better than average, but not quite excellent
- 3 Points: average, acceptable, some deficiencies or noticeable flaws
- 2 Points: needs work, some serious deficiencies
- 1 Point: poor, unacceptable, shows serious lack of preparation or ability
Realistically, we will almost never give a score of 1. Most performers will be reasonably prepared, and if there is some initial screening process we shouldn’t have to judge anyone who is really awful (though it might happen on occasion). Practically, we end up with a 4-point scale.
The lowest score is almost always a 2 (needs work). By definition, many more contestants will earn 3’s (average), there will often be some 4’s (very good), while it’s somewhat unusual to have a score with lots of 5’s (outstanding).
When awarding a number, judges should always be honest with their assessment. A judge should not give someone a high score just because she likes the singer. Singers should have to earn their scores fairly.
We also should remember that we are only being judged on this particular performance or audition. That means judges should not consider prior knowledge of the singer, or any personal relationship they might already have with them (as Teacher or Coach, for example). It’s possible for a great singer to have a lousy audition.
Since we are supposed to be judging only the audition, to be fair and consistent, judges need to only award points based on what they hear and see in the audition.