Confessions Of An Amateur Stardust Guest Judge (Twice Shy)

Was presented a second opportunity to guest judge on Stardust, this time round the auditions round, a little different from the semi-finals held a year ago. Thank you, Kevin Mathews, first and foremost.

There was better chemistry between the three of us as well – Alvin, Yazzit and myself, despite the fresh meet (I won’t say it was the first time, as Alvin did the semi-finals round last year too, but we were on the separate ends of the judging panel, and we weren’t assured of each other’s presence at the time as well, so it was a mutual understanding of forgetfulness and forgiveness). I did talked more with the two fellows, maybe mainly because we were in a compact room together, along with some National University of Singapore students who helped organize this annual event, now in its third running.

I must say the competition, the bands are fiercer this year than the last. There were some good performances and bands this afternoon (from 12-8pm), with honourable mentions of some of the bands that presented themselves with original song material, and that was certainly an edge over the rest. Can’t say definite that it is a guarantee pass to the next round as of now, as we are still in the deciding/voting phase, and we have three more bands to view tomorrow. And can’t spill secret contents for now – makes me sound like a pro, right! (professional, not prostitutes like I called some to disguise the secret language when walking down the infamous Geylang streets with friends)

And this year I felt more Paula Abdul than ever. For one, apparently I was the one that was nicer with the comments. I guess in a way, I don’t play any music instruments, so I shouldn’t criticize people who had put in the extra efforts, of their free times and out of their daily routines to chase dreams of theirs. Another was that actually coming down and participating, these bands were winners already – they had put in the effort to at least make things happen, be a reality. I glanced through my scoresheets near the end, and realized I had not failed anyone (if I open up a school, no students will fail. Vote for me!)

Another was with the better display of talents this year, I had shortlisted 15 out of the 29 (almost halved), and it is really down to painfully eliminate some of the okay ones and to end some dreams momentarily. Not the best of feelings and of actions, but they must understand, and never forget their dreams. We will be having an internal group discussion soon, and finalizing the audition results. That’s why I do feel like an American Idol judge man! (the last band even joked about winning the ticket to Hollywood)

So thanks to everyone today, including Andrew, the “director” of this year to host Stardust; the band that amusingly sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” during soundcheck; a lot of hip and indie people; tons of musically passionate folks; the promising bassist that appeared in 3 bands (good luck if all 3 make it and no conflict of interest shows); the same group’s guitarist that appeared twice; the quirky lead singer that appeared twice (same soundcheck guy); the 18-years-old very pretty girl that caught my attention and I must confess a display of interest and fascination from my end towards her (to find out later that Kevin knew her since 4, personal introduction, maybe, heh?); the guy with the dramatic visualization that the curtains hanging from the corner of the wall in the room would open up to reveal the judges (enhancing suspense and efforts, very American Idol), only to realize disappointingly to reality that we were peering from the other room and hearing them loud and clear; and most of the people who had thought, “who the fuck is this twit that thinks he has the right to be judging me right now?”.

Good night, and good luck. Keep those dreams alive, people! There is a light that never goes out!


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