9 Ways How To Judge a Singing Competition Accurately

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How many times have you watched a singing competition?

Have you ever guessed who the winner was?

Were you always surprised why the judges chose a different winner from the one you thought would win?

Here are 9 ways how to judge a singing competition accurately.

9 Ways How To Judge A Singing Competition Accurately

Above All, Sing In Tune

sing in tune

Let us face it. We all started somewhere. In this case, it’s your first time judging a particular singing competition. Yes, you are most likely scared at the thought of doing it. Don’t worry, remember these 9 ways how to judge a singing competition accurately.

Singing is like acting, but with music and especially on pitch. You convey a message using pitch and rhythm.

Singing should be and must be at all times in tune. That is one of the essential criteria for judging.

Remember, before you even start thinking about technique, character, and other stuff in singing.

Always prioritize intonation.

Do not even consider thinking of giving singers a good score just because of his or her gimmick on stage.

Make sure that they always sing on pitch. That is very crucial on how to judge a singing competition.

It takes practice and an excellent ear to check for pitch issues.

That is your top priority as a judge. Do not let a singer win if he or she cannot even hold a single note properly.


Understanding Vocal Quality

You should know that we all have a different facial bone structure. It affects the sound we project. So for every singer, the timbre or the quality of the sound is always different.
Vocal quality is affected by how a singer produces sound. Is the sound big and dark? Maybe it sounds thin and airy?


understanding voice quality

How do you score vocal quality?

Simple! Of all the contestants, the one with the most pleasing sound gets the biggest score.

The only problem with that is when you have judges who have different opinions on what is good or bad.

This scenario only happens when you hire judges who don’t know what they are doing.

A singer’s vocal quality is affected by his or her technique. Vocal placement is one of the most prominent factors that affect a singer’s voice quality.

Uniqueness Does Not Mean Quality

We all respect the opinion of every judge or individual. Respect does not mean you have to agree with the decision of the other judges. There were competitions in which I heard judges that they like a particular singer because of her or his unique sound.

Unique is a vague word. It can be many things. Be more specific with your judging criteria. Overall, you need to find the best sounding singer in the competition. That is the best kind of unique you want to see.

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Voice Range

voice range

Never give a good score based on vocal range alone. What do I mean by that? Winning competitions is not only through belting. That should not be the case all the time on how to judge a singing competition.


Yes, it is awe-inspiring when a singer can reach high notes and show off his or her vocal range. However, you want to look for a singer who can maintain an impressive quality on all ranges of the voice.

First, the low range. Can you hear the singer well when they are in their lower range? Most singers would sound mumbling in this range. Good technical singers can be heard quite clearly, even at this range.

Second, the mid vocal range. This range is where singers are most relaxed. The problem with this range is that it makes the performance a little dull when used too often.

The third is the high range. When not correctly executed, this can be an annoying part of a singer’s performance. One should know the difference between belting and mixing.


Stage Presence And Performance

Don’t sing like a dead branch! That is what I always say to a contestant during a competition. You don’t want them standing on stage for the entire performance.


stage presence

Also, moving too much can be a distraction. If the contestant sings a ballad and dances on stage like crazy, then it’s inappropriate. The same is true if you do the opposite.

Stage presence starts even before entering the stage! The charisma, the aura that a singer emits matter – their confidence on stage is critical. Don’t confuse a shy person with being humble. In a competition, you need someone who can deliver and project the message to their audience.

They need to connect with their audience! I don’t like a contestant entering the stage and looking down or up. Contestants who never make eye contact with the audience will most likely lose in the competition unless they sound outstanding.

Judges are always looking for that edge a contestant has over the other performers.


Song Choice of the Contestant

song choice of the contestant

Another reason why contestants do not win competitions is their choice of songs. Each singer has a specific sound that matches a particular genre. As a result, certain songs match specific singers.


Yes, versatility is a good thing. Being able to perform different genres of music is an advantage.

Still, one should not be careless about choosing a song for a competition.

As a judge, you must be able to see if the singer’s voice and performance match the song.

That should be crucial and part of the 9 ways how to judge a singing competition accurately.

Diction and Enunciation

Enunciation is the act of pronouncing words, while diction is the style of enunciation in speaking or in singing.

Many singers choose a song in a different language. The most common choice would be an English song. If a contestant decides to sing an English song, then it is his or her obligation to enunciate the words well in the English language.

Singing a song with a language that you are not comfortable with will most likely get you eliminated in the competition. This aspect should be within your top 9 ways how to judge singing competition accurately.

How a Singer Uses A microphone

how a singer uses a microphone

A singer should be able to use the microphone on stage properly. Sometimes, the singers don’t get to be heard correctly because of the way how they use their microphones.

Some singers tend to cup the microphone instead of holding it properly. Others sing too close to the mic, making their voice sound too loud for the audience.

Just like a microphone in a recording studio, it is your best friend on stage. Learning how to maximize the use of a microphone is a huge advantage.

Here are 5 ways on how to use a microphone properly.

Audience Impact

audience impact

A Singing Competition is for the best and the talented, not the charismatic alone.

Audience impact is something most singers and even judges do not understand. It may be related to stage presence and performance, but it does not have much bearing on the overall score.

A singer may have many friends or family in the audience cheering for them. It should not confuse your judging when people are cheering for a particular singer.

Sometimes, it’s just their friends cheering them on and nothing more.

As a judge, you must not decide based on the cheering crowd alone.
If a singer has such charisma but fails to sing in tune, then that singer should not be winning competitions.

Competitions are for the best and the talented, not the charismatic alone.


It all boils down to your preference.

What others may find pleasing could be pretty annoying for you.

Still, the things mentioned above are standard practices for finding the best deserving contestant for a singing competition.

What other things you think should be included in this list of ways how to judge a singing competition?

Let me know in the comments.

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