Who judges the Reality Show judges?

Bessa Simons, Ofie and Hammer

MTN Hit-Maker III judges: Bessa Simons, Ofie Kodjoe and Edward Nana Poku Osei, better known as Hammer of the Last Two

If you have ever watched a reality show and felt that the judges didn’t do their job well or felt they were biased in their judgement, then you are not alone. I am in the same boat with you and I believe many reality show enthusiasts are too.

There is something about reality shows in general that attracts everyone’s attention. Although, I may not be able to put my finger on whatever the pull-factor is, I know that in general, such shows are exciting to watch or listen to.

Over the past few years, reality shows have been very popular in Ghana. The numbers keep swelling up.

However, it appears that, people are usually so much engrossed in the shows that, they hardly care about the people who are brought on to advise the contestants and adjudicate their performances.

After all, whether you like their take or not, a viewer’s point of view doesn’t change a judge’s score.

This is the area that I feel needs to be looked at more carefully in terms of who qualifies as a judge and who is picked to do the job.

From beginning of this year, a number of reality shows have taken off. A few weeks ago, MTN launched their MTN Hitmaker music reality show which is in its third edition.

I learn that the judges, Bessa Simons, Ofie Kodjoe and Edward Nana Poku Osei, better known as Hammer of the Last Two, have already started working on the submitted works by the budding musicians.

Another telecom company, Vodafone, has also launched its music reality show, Vodafone Icons Icons Remix edition. The Vodafone Icons reality show is in its fourth season. The auditions started in Tamale, moved to Kumasi and climaxed in Accra with rapper, M.anifest, songwriter, Gena West, and radio presenter, Miss Naa as judges.

One thing that is certain to repeat itself as far as judging of the contestants is concerned is disagreement among the judges. I have seen judges openly disagree with one another’s opinion as though there were no set parameters for them to use in judging contestants.

The most shocking one I saw was when two revered judges openly disagreed with each other to the point that each suggested that the other judge didn’t know what he was about.

In the said show, one of the judges praised the performance of one contestant to the high heavens and asked the general public to vote massively to ensure his triumph.

The second judge did not only disagree with the praises that the first judge had showered on the contestant, for what he considered an awful performance. He doubted the credibility of the judge in jumping to praise a contestant who had not done what was expected of him.

As a viewer, I was sad at watching those two colleagues doubt each other’s credibility in such a manner in the full glare of the contestants. What could possibly be wrong? I asked myself as I watched the show.

I know on authority that a lot of thought, energy and money is put into organising reality shows but I doubt if the same importance is put into scouting for the best judges.

George Quaye of Charter House who has been involved in the organisation and management of many reality shows tells me that, the first thing to look out for before picking your judges is the brand of the show.

Even with that, he said “You are looking at the brand from two angles; the brand of the reality show and the brand of the judges you intend putting on board.

“The brand of the reality show determines the brand of whoever you want to put on board.”

He said that disagreement among judges is actually not a bad thing. “It may be better on some occasions for judges to disagree because it brings out their human nature and we get to know, they are not cosmetic.

“They are not just there because they’ve been asked to come and judge, so they should like everything equally.

“What the judge’s disagreement does for you is that, it shows you that, there are individual differences at play”, he said.

There you go. The next time you watch a reality show like TV3’s Ghana Most Beautiful and you don’t appreciate or like the judge’s opinion, just remember George’s stand on it.

In that case, my initial question remains unanswered:  Who judges the judge’s opinions? Or perhaps, viewers must simply ignore the judges opinions and just enjoy the show?

By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz


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