The Weird Illogic of NQC Mainstage

The Weird Illogic of NQC Mainstage September 26, 2011

The other day I was thinking about the mysterious process by which certain artists are invited to perform on mainstage and other artists aren’t. And a question occurred to me: Does it not seem strange that you basically only perform on mainstage if you’re either a really big name or a no-name?
I just don’t understand how it is that a group like the Erwins (who seem like sweet kids, so this isn’t at all intended as a personal slam), can get two spots on mainstage, while Beyond the Ashes, for example, gets zero. And Wilburn & Wilburn get a measly one song with a choir at the very beginning of the program, plus being on stage during the encore of a Perrys song. And don’t even get me started about a group like Paid in Full, who just celebrated 20 years of quality music.

Bottom line is, I get the idea of giving people nobody’s ever heard of before an opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to be heard, but I think that for the sake of quality it’s not fair to exclude other artists much more deserving of that time. Many times the showcase groups that “win” a spot on mainstage have little or no talent at all. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone—I named the Erwins because they appeared twice, but they’re not even the worst example. I won’t specifically name all the worst ones because I don’t think there’s any constructive point to it. Suffice it to say that I think anyone with a moderately critical ear who sat through the entirety of NQC would agree with me. And for that matter, there were big-name groups who didn’t impress me musically either.
But now I yield the floor. What are your thoughts, gentle readers?

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  • quartet-man

    Preach it, Sista!

  • I do not want that job at all. I would give the Isaacs about forty minutes per night, let Odie sing a song or two, throw a few of my favorites and friends a slot or two and then fill in the gaps with big name groups that have earned a spot.
    In other words I would do what I wanted to do with little consideration for peoples feelings or wants. If you throw in a little politics, that is pretty much what you have now.
    They own it and run it like they want to. If I owned it I would do it like I wanted to and probably Not make much money.

  • quartet-man

    I’m not denying their right to run it as they wish or even there might be variables of which we are unaware (I almost put both in my initial post, but they would have ruined the effect). But, this is a place to share opinions and I can’t disagree with YGG. Are you surprised, YGG? 😉

  • Not really. We’ve agreed on many things before. 😀

  • So are you saying that the various showcase groups get more time than more deserving groups because the people who run NQC like their singing/music better? I think somebody else’s hypothesis may have made more sense—that they’re cutting the number of more prestigious groups to save money.

  • Norm

    Have no idea if it is correct but a poster on another blog said it all had to do with the NQC saving money. The showcase winners apparently appeared for free. The time taking up with the Compassion ads were paid for by Compassion. These time wasters and others such as videos cut costs because more full-time groups did not have to be hired. I think NQC had something like 15 less professional groups this year. Another point: I watched the latest Gaither DVD on TV and the Nelons (even the guy) were featured a lot as was Taranda Green but neither were worthy of the NQC mainstage except for the Nelons as part of a four-group singalong.

  • Grigsby

    The process of deciding who sings on the NQC stage, for how long and in what order is a highly technical and scientific thing that involves a blindfold, darts, and dozens of 8×10 glossy photos of Southern Gospel artists.

  • I was joking mostly but I like Grigsby’s joke better!

  • Tammy

    I totally respect everyones opinion, however, I know everyone has their “favorites”!! It really is ashamed that we can’t be Christians about comments though!! There is a “system” or so I’ve been told, about how people get on Main Stage. While the Erwins may not have been “showy” like so many others, their sound was just as good as GVB!! I believe they won “Best of the Week”, so while you may not be a fan, someone must have seen or heard something that they liked. I think also some young people is exactly what the NQC needs. If not, we will not have anything to talk about in 20 years, because most of the crowd will be in Heaven. Why not support young men who have served the Lord all their lives, given up college sport scholarships, and won “Best of the Week” instead of bashing them!!!! While I agree that more groups need to be given time on the Main stage, it’s not right to question winners of Showcases, that come up through the rankings like the “political system” says to do, just because someone you think should have been on the main stage was not. I sure hope the young Erwins don’t read this. GET USED TO THAT NAME!! IT’S OUR FUTURE!!!

  • I was very careful to say not only that the Erwins seemed like great young guys, but that others were much worse and I was not placing them in the “no-talent” category. I did that on purpose so that it wouldn’t look like I was callously bashing them. I don’t intend to be snarky towards anybody unless I have some separate reason to dislike them, and even then I try to be careful. Sorry for any confusion. I’m sure they have a great future ahead of them. I was simply saying that there was another young trio who was even better and should have had more time to shine.

  • Tammy

    “Better” in YOUR opinion!!! We are all apart of the Body of Christ! If we would get our egos out of the way, God MAY be able to use us more effectively for HIS PURPOSE!! I’m sure the other groups have had their time to “shine” also, if they have been around for 20 years. I’m sure they have worked their way up through the “system” & been on Main Stage before. I just really think it is ashame that you say these boys didn’t deserve 2 spots on the Main stage when they did what the “system” says to do. They were picked by people with trained ears & who have been in the business for over 50 years. I was in there for that Sat am “Best of the Week” Showcase & heard the comments. One of the judges stated that “it was refreshing to see a group NOT sing with “stacked” tracks. These young guys were truly using their gifts & talents”. So, there must be something that they know!! I’m proud of these young men & I will support them in anyway I can! We need them for the future of the NQC! I also want my kids & grandkids to see them as an example. Giving up a college basketball scholarship to sing for the Lord is something I have NEVER seen out of an 18 year old. WOW!!

  • Once again, I completely agree that they are a great example and that they do have talent. I’m not trying to bash anybody. I’m sorry that you seem to have mis-interpreted me. Hope you have an awesome weekend.

  • On your last sentence, Doug Anderson played basketball his freshman year of college at Purdue, though I’m not sure if he was on scholarship.

  • As for the original post, I don’t look at is as the NQC giving the Erwins two slots. They gave a slot to the showcase winner each day, which the Erwins won one day. Then they had the BOTW showcase which the Erwins happened to win.

  • AmyH

    Enjoy blogging, YGG. 😉
    (Now you see why I don’t try it. JK)

  • Okay, thanks for the added info. My criticism was really not about just one artist—it was a critique of the system. It’s structured in such a way that a showcase group could end up with as much mainstage time as Wilburn & Wilburn, or more than Beyond the Ashes, Paid in Full, or Soul’d Out Quartet.

  • Simon

    It all comes down to what “name” sells tickets. In case you didn’t realize, The National Quartet Convention is a “for profit” entity. I do not claim to know the correct formula for success, but I’m sure the board would love to keep making money…just guessing.