Music competitions

Being an Idol Judge

As a music lover and a music parent, I’ve enjoyed countless concerts, plays and performances. I love live performance! I also enjoy checking in on television’s live music offerings and competitions – like American Idol and The Voice. More than anything, I am a fan of musicians and singers realizing their dreams and being recognized for their talent – whether they win the contest or not.IMG_3537 A singer performs with a live band during the final ‘Waltham Idol’ show.

Joining the Panel

So I was delighted when I was was invited to join the ‘Waltham Idol’ Competition at the local Boys & Girls Club! As founder of Pavoh, I was added to the list of judges as an industry representative. I joined two music teachers and a guitarist in a local rock band on the judging panel as we listened to and screened an amazing talent pool of young people on several different evenings. We were asked to grade aspects of each performance using a rubric, and offer encouragement or areas of improvement to each contestant.

Going into the first round of auditions, however, I was nervous! I wasn’t performing, but I was being asked to pass judgement. And, because Pavoh was founded to encourage all young people to make their music – whatever it is – and without judgement – I wasn’t sure I could be a good judge. I joked with my family about my hesitation and decided I would be a ‘Paula’ – you might remember Paula Abdul, known for being gushingly kind to contestants on American Idol.


Posing with a local rocker who was also a judge.

 The Cream of the Crop

After the first few singers completed their a cappella performances, my comfort with the process grew. All of the singers were terribly brave to share their voices with us and to bare their performances to our judgement. But by the end, it was clear to me that the process was just a formality. Everyone in that room knew who the best singers were. Whether the winners were born with their talent or worked terribly hard during voice lessons, it was clear that the finalists were among the best young singers in the area.

Competitions are not always the best venues for young people who are learning to express themselves musically – but they do have their place for accomplished musicians who strive to improve and who seek recognition. Ultimately, they can be one of the best ways for young musicians to see their dreams validated. Being a part of any process that provides encouragement for young people is something that I believe in! I’m no Paula Abdul – I don’t have her wardrobe for starters! – but I do hope to be asked back for the next round of ‘Waltham Idol!’


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