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Scoring Error Keeps Brownsburg from Show Choir Nationals Finals

Updated: Mar 27

Brownsburg Spotlight Singers & Company was on the short end of a scoring error at Show Choir Nationals on Friday, March 22, which resulted in the group not advancing to the March 23 finals round.

HomeRoom Show Choir has learned that one judge’s show design scores, while depicted in the judge-by-judge breakdown on the scoresheet, were not added to the total scores.

Brownsburg was 0.1 points behind in final score and 0.5 raw points behind Noblesville NHS Singers for the sixth finalist spot at the conclusion of the preliminary round.

Spotlight tallied 951.5 total points, while NHS Singers tallied 952.

However, had that judge’s show design scores been correctly factored, Brownsburg would have 1,002.5 total points, compared to 1,000.5 for Noblesville.

That converted to a final score breakdown of 200.5 for Brownsburg and 200.1 for Noblesville, placing Brownsburg in a provisional finalist spot.

The round of show design scores went unadded for every group, leading to incorrect point totals for all groups. The only placings that the error affected, however, were sixth and seventh.

Show Choir Nationals judges use pencil-and-paper judging forms while adjudicating groups.

Brownsburg initially contacted Show Choir Nationals about the error on Sunday, March 24, and received confirmation of the error on Monday, March 25, according to a source familiar with the situation.

It is unknown how the error occurred, as all correct scores were listed in the judge-by-judge breakdown on the recap sheet but were not factored into the overall show design and overall cumulative tallies.

Show Choir Nationals has been one of the most competitive events in the country in recent years, with point margins for prelims often landing in the fractions of points between choirs.

While being inadvertently left out of finals because of a scoring error hurts at any competition, it is especially tough to swallow at Nationals for a number of reasons.

Number one, it’s Nationals. Plain and simple.

Number two, Nationals takes place on the Grand Ole Opry stage. It’s the most prestigious stage many show choir performers will ever perform on, and being stripped of a second opportunity to perform on that stage is a gut punch.

Number three, Nationals is perhaps the only competition in the country where finals take place the day after the preliminary rounds. While the turnaround from prelims to finals at most competitions is tight and scoring errors are hard to quickly identify and fix, Nationals finalists were announced midday Friday before they performed on Saturday morning.

None of this, however, is to take away from Noblesville. NHS Singers went into finals sixth and finished the round in fifth, surpassing Cedar Rapids Kennedy Happiness, Inc. Noblesville won Best Band in finals and Sarah Rolinson took home a Best Female Soloist award as well.

Nationals is not the first high-profile show choir competition this year to have a scoring mishap. A tabulation error at the Wheaton Warrenville Choral Classic resulted in Mt. Zion Les Femmes added to the womens finals as a fourth contestant. At Wheaton, the womens finalists were announced at the end of that division in the middle of the day and the error was caught in the early stages of mixed prelims, allowing them to add another finalist.

Tuesday afternoon, Show Choir Nationals posted a statement to their website. "Dear Show Choir Community," the statement reads, "Show Choir Nationals would like to address an issue that has come to our attention regarding the preliminary round of the mixed division competition. An error in our scoring system occurred, which unfortunately impacted the rightful qualification of Brownsburg Spotlight Singers and Company in the finals competition.

We value Brownsburg Spotlight Singers and Company’s talent and dedication, and we deeply regret any missed opportunities resulting from this error. We understand the disappointment this has caused, and we extend our sincerest apologies.

As always, all prelims scores will be available to all groups. The six finalists will be determined by consensus ranking. Your continued trust and confidence in Show Choir Nationals is appreciated, and we are committed to ensuring a fair and accurate outcome for future competitions."

Included in the statement is an acknowledgement that prelim rankings at next year's Show Choir Nationals will change to consensus rankings, departing from raw scores. Consensus rankings take the choirs with the highest number of best votes from first all the way down to determine placements. It has gained traction in the show choir community in recent years, as more competitions look to use it as a more accurate depiction of the entire judging panel. Notably, at Solon earlier this year, a consensus system was used to crown Piqua as the grand champion over Grove City and Findlay when Piqua was behind in raw points.

Show Choir Nationals will return to the Grand Ole Opry March 20-22, 2025.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect an updated statement from Show Choir Nationals.

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