Liza May

SwingDiego 2014 Update #9 – Scoresheet Debates!  22 Hot Songs To Know!

Ahhhh, scoresheets. Can’t win with ‘em, can’t win without ‘em.

We’ve had a Love/Hate Relationship with scoresheets since they were first invented by Al Gore.

More about scoresheets in a minute. But first … Here are 22 more Top Circuit Songs, hot from SwingDiego, to add to your phone playlist!

These are songs played for the Open Strictly and Advanced Jack and Jill, DJ’d by Louis’ wonderful team: Emily Reed, Mark Sheddon, and John Lindo. (When I say “wonderful team” I’m not just throwing flattery around here. People raved all weekend long about these guys. Louis played Champion comps – these guys played all non-Champion comps, as well as social-dance music, too, throughout the weekend. Seriously great music.)

Oh, and by the way, after the last Update Emily had this to say about Louis,

“So many forget about the DJ running the event behind the scenes and all the hard work going into it. Louis St.George is the best! He never ceases to amaze me with how well he multitasks between playing dance music and funny rotate songs and all the buzzing, ringing timpani sound effects. It’s hard work! And he did not sleep! I was there..and he stayed in the ballroom the entire time! And when everyone went to dinner and the ballroom cleared, Louis stayed to play the music for Classic and Showcases for the pros! Louis deserves an award!”


1. “Ha mindez csak egy álom” (Zséda)

2. “On The Rocks” (Grieves)

3. “No Diggity” (Tyler Ward)

4. “Overdose” (Ciara)

5. “More Than Words” (Frankie J)

6. “Word Up” (Little Mix)

7. “Adorn” (Miguel)

8. “Hold On” (Drake)

9. “I’ll Walk Away” (James Hunter)

10. “Fine Brown Frame” (Dianne Reeves & Lou Rawls)

11. “Lost In You” (G Brooks Collection)

12. “Come On Get Higher” (Matt Nathanson)

13. “Pretty Girl” (Jon B)

14. “You’ll Never Know” (Mac Graham)

15. “Whatever Happens” (Michael Jackson)

16. “Looking For Love” (Anuhea)

17. “Put Your Records On” (Corinne Baby Rae)

18. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (Inger Marie Gundarson) (we LOVE this song in DC – it’s a “DC standard”)

19. “5:19″ (Matt Wertz)

20. “Black Roses” (Anastacia)

21. “Hold My Hand” (Michael Jackson)

22. “Back To The Midde” (India Arie)

And these are just the comp songs! If only you could have heard the five nights of social dance music! WOW! I didn’t hear a single negative comment about the music – when does THAT ever happen?!? Everyone just kept repeating OMG SUCH GREAT MUSIC! All weekend that’s what you heard.

Speaking of social dancing … Maybe because of the music, or maybe because of the level of dancers, or the level of excitement, or the level of laughing all day and all night, or the weather – whatever the reason – social dancing this year was abso-louie-tly FABU-LOUIE-ISHIS! Everyone said so. No matter who I asked, the highlight of the weekend was social dancing.

Oh, and speaking of social dancing, that reminds me of the opposite of social dancing, Score Sheets!

Full scores are posted on Facebook. The exact score sheets which were posted on the ballroom wall after Awards! Find them here.

Judges Sheets made public!

One small step for SwingDiego, a giant leap for mankind.

Huge huge thank you’s to Parker, Earl, and Nathan for taking the lead in this. No small matter. As you know, the issue of hiding or revealing judge’s names and their scores has been hotly debated for years, and until now has always come down on the side of keeping them secret.

Scoring rooms are tense enough to begin with, but even more so with Homeland Security standing there staring, just waiting to catch you taking a picture so they can pounce. Even pencil and paper are forbidden at some events (and I’m guessing will still be, at some events.)

I had a woman leap on my back like a feral cat last year – no I will not say who. I am not exaggerating. She came shrieking across from the far side of the room, leaped onto my back and hung on piggy-back style clawing and waving wildly at my face, spitting expletives on my neck and left ear, trying to smack the phone from my hand.

The unpleasantness of it all may seem funny but take my word for it, don’t try cracking jokes, because This Is No Laughing Matter.

I learned this by cracking jokes.

I’ve heard good arguments for the seemingly paranoid-delusional secrecy:

  • Protecting competitors who do badly from embarrassment;
  • Protecting pro couples from having their scores seen by event directors and others whose hiring decisions might be affected,
  • Protecting judges from being harassed for, well, everything including being born,
  • Protecting the anonymity of judges in our incestuous world where we have social relationships (that’s putting it mildly) with the same people who judge and are judged by us.

These are all valid concerns, in my opinion, and derive from good intentions. And some not-so-good experiences.

I’ve heard stories about judges being attacked – just this weekend heard a Barry Jones story about appallingly rude behavior.

And the story about the time someone photoshopped the sheets, changed scores and placements, then published the new and improved copy online.

Some of the stories may be urban myths, some may have gotten more interesting over time. Who knows.

But whether or not they happened the way they’re told doesn’t really matter. The worries exist, and that does matter.

But I’m glad to see scores posted publicly.

I don’t think competitors will be affected much at all.

People who care about score sheets think everyone else cares about them too. But at best they’re only interesting until Thursday of the next week when the next event begins. And at worst they’re less interesting than airplane peanuts.

I think dancers, like the general public, are educated spectators and know that even great athletes have bad games – plenty of them, in fact.

I think anyone who has ever watched or competed at an event takes for granted that each day it’s a new ball game, some days you do well, other days you don’t; that injuries, weather, the floor, the judging panel, the audience, acoustics, whether you’re at the beginning or end in a large field – and luck, just plain luck – affect a performance on any given day.

I think everyone knows all these things, and no one’s professional reputations or personal dignity will be affected much, if at all, by making scores visible.

I do think judging may come under closer scrutiny, though.

For bias. Of course. Because as we all know, we always want to blame judges for being biased.

Or for outliers – judges who consistently score differently than other judges – because we always want to blame judges for being incompetent, too.

Judges will be able to say,

“For me, timing is the most important element. In my view you were off time.”


“I put showmanship above all else. In my view you were the best showmen today.


“I judged five heats, fifteen couples each, and I honestly don’t remember why I gave you that score. You must have looked better than the couple I scored below you and worse than the couple I scored above you. That’s all I can say.”


“I had two seconds to watch you. In those two seconds you were standing on your partner’s foot. She appeared to be either churning butter or making pancakes. So I didn’t put you into Finals.”

In other words, judges will be able to stand behind their scores.

They will sometimes have to say,

“This is not personal. We are friends. I respect and love you. I am judging as honestly and thoughtfully as I am able, and here are my reasons for the scores I’ve given.”

A lot to ask of a judge – of anyone. But that’s what’s required for the job.

And as for the competitors – it should of course go without saying that we will show respect to our judges. That we’ll learn to take a note and be grateful for the help. And that we will try to foster a culture of listening to feedback – without explaining, defending, debating, attacking — just listening with our mouths shut, to what may or may not be helpful observations.

It’s worth noting that judges feel more embattled, more bullied, than ever before in the community’s history. So it should go without saying that they won’t be forced to say impolite things like,

“I’m the judge. End of story! So GET OUT OF MY FACE or I’ll sick Jim Minty, Nick King, and Barry Jones on you. If that doesn’t work, Mark The Marine.”

Making scores transparent means all of us – judges and competitors – might have to act a little more like accountants and a little less like artists

Which should be no problem for anyone I can think of.

In any case, I’m glad we’re taking the step forward.

As numerous people have pointed out on Facebook and in private conversations, if we want to take ourselves seriously as a competitive sport then we need to do what other competitive sports and dance genres do and up our game, make the move from amateur league to pro, from secrecy to transparency.

And it seems in keeping with the spirit of this age of global access to information. Transparency is the Zeitgeist of our time.

We owe a lot to Parker, Earl, and Nathan for their leadership on this issue.

For their courage (because I’m sure they’re taking flak for their decision – I’m equally sure they can handle it); for their foresight; for their constant drive to innovate (“disrupt” as it’s called in the tech world;) for their ambition not to be the biggest (which has never been their goal although SwingDiego is arguably one of the biggest events on the circuit) but to be the best, always chasing perfection the way an artist chases perfection – that moving target we dancers know so well.

But most of all we owe a lot to them for their heart – their love of the dance, and of our community of dancers – which is behind every choice they make.

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