After helping judge the AAJ division of the first round of this year's NGUAC, I thought it might be helpful to explain how my judging works. I also want to clarify that if you're an NGUAC participant that I judged and you'd like me to drop a review on your track and/or explain why I gave it the score I did, please just PM me and I'll be happy to send a review your way!
I also wanted to take a bit of time in this newspost to expand upon the specific judging process I used this round and will ostensibly be using for future rounds. I know that many judges employ rubrics to evaluate songs, and while I firmly believe that it's impossible to quantify any kind of formula for what makes a good song, I will contend that rubrics are helpful for something like competition-judging, where specific numbers have such a tangible impact. So, the "rubric" I used to judge each song had four main categories, which summed up to 100: Composition (30), Production (30), Structure (10), and GSM (30).
Composition looks at the effectiveness of the melodic, harmonic, and/or rhythmic aspects of a song (not every song has all three, but hopefully, every song has at least one). Production looks at how the sound quality and sound design impact the feel of the song. Structure looks at how the different sections of the song, as well as the transitions between them, serve the progression of the song. And, finally, the GSM is the "Good Song Metric", which encompasses the intangible aspects of what makes a good song "good"—essentially, based on the audition piece, how much I personally want to hear more from the musician.
One last thing to mention is that after I finished allocating scores to everyone, I noticed that the other two judges for the AAJs had significantly different-looking stats than I did, so I renormalized my scores to try and even out the sway that each judge had on the field. In the end, I did the math slightly wrong and still ended up having a higher mean and smaller stdev than the others but I was too lazy to do more work so I just kept it as is. Apologies to the one or two people, if any, that this may have affected.
So, that's my spiel! Please do let me know (through PM, ideally), if you'd like a review for the NGUAC audition round. There were some c r a z y good songs out there this time, and I'm excited for the next round! Godspeed y'alllll