This Sunday, January 30th, Refresher’s Week culminates in the showcase event at The Den, Notts Got Talent. Hosted and produced by the SU Exec and NUTS, the event hopes to showcase all the talent our fair university has to offer in one place. Impact starts its double feature on Notts Got Talent by attending the much more low-key audition process, which took place on Monday, January 24th. Read on for a preview of the upcoming event!

The ‘mastermind’ behind Notts Got Talent is Douggie McMeekin, The SU Exec Activities Officer. On the night itself, Douggie will be hosting with Matt Leventhall, with NUTS presenters Ali Blatcher and Lawrence Bolton handling backstage duties on camera. A talent competition, in this day and age of prime-time TV is nothing without its judges, and Notts Got Talent has got three of them. Alex Corck-Adelman, Katie Mackay and Simon Murphy make up the esteemed panel, yet some may ask why this is. It was never explained just what qualified these three to cast their opinions and make or crush the dreams of the auditionees. Alex claimed to be an “endurance athlete”, which though undoubtedly impressive, might raise more question marks than it does convince. I don’t expect to see Paula Radcliffe or Mark Cavendish whispering in Simon Cowell’s ear anytime soon, so am baffled as to what relevance this had. Katie Mackay, representing the SU, had her tongue resolutely in her cheek when informing us that her role as Equal Opportunities and Welfare Office has taught her how to put a condom on a marrow. If that’s not talent, then we don’t what is. Simon Murphy on the other hand, seems to have a genuine talent. In addition to growing into the funniest and most charismatic member of the panel, informed us that in fact, he is a qualified butcher. Butchery also seemed to fit the bill in terms of what each judge was looking for on the day. Simon and Alex emphasised the desire to find “something different”, whilst Katie simply wanted to find “talent.”

Due to an embarrassing scheduling error, NUTS, who thanklessly set up the SU Hub in the Portland building, had to de-camp over to The New Theatre. This exercise served to show just how impressive NUTS is at setting up professional looking shoots at very short notice. It seemed that the television station’s hard work wasn’t mirrored in the judges, who did not seem at ease with the task they had been given. Hopefully, NUTS can use their technical wizardry to make the final cut look much better than the content that was recorded. The intention of “just having fun”, and “playing it by each act” seemed disappointingly casual considering the industry from those off camera.

The talent, on the other hand, was refreshingly prevalent. Although things started off with a heavy singer/musician slant, more diverse acts drifted in and impressed the audience, if not the judges. An early front-runner seems to be Elias, a singer and ukelele player who charmed the judges with his laid back demeanour and entertaining adaptation of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry”. Lawrence Bolton dubbed classical singer Tom, “The Susan Boyle of this competition.” and could entertain audiences with his whole-hearted performances. Break-dancers, flair bartenders and jugglers all made their ways through to the final, and with more acts to come, Sunday night seems finely poised. It seems clear that Notts does have talent, and by heading to The Den this Sunday, you can find out who has the most!

Adam Dawes

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16 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 27, 2011 at 09:35

    I found the first part of this article largely disagreeable. After what seemed to be a successful day of auditions it seems unnecessarily cynical to spend just under half of the article criticising the volunteer judging panel. Having spoke to them there is no doubt you were aware that these were judges who were asked to help out by Douggie (essentially as a favour). I’m not sure which authorities on talent you expected to put aside 10 hours of their day to judge a talent competition for a few slices of pizza but fortunately Katie, Alex and Simon assisted when asked. If anything I feel they deserve positive recognition rather than the skeptical critique you have afforded them.

    Furthermore, I can’t imagine Alex seriously describing himself as an endurance athlete, so to quote him out of context is both misleading and embarrassing on your part.

    Overall I think its just a shame that this article was written in such a way that even its headline reflected negatively on the event. The positive aspects included in the final couple of paragraphs were, in my opinion, overshadowed by a series of antagonistic statements in the introductory paragraph.

  2. Anonymous
    January 27, 2011 at 11:31

    I find this article frustratingly inaccurate and a testament to the media’s ability to misrepresent people and events without any questions raised over the writers’ integrity or consequences meted out as a result.

    Having spent the better part of my afternoon at these auditions, and knowing some of those taking part personally, I find it really unfair that the judges are essentially described as amateur compared to NUTS and unqualified for the job.
    It hasn’t been recognised that all three of them were essentially chosen as a favour to both the SU and NUTS and volunteered their time willingly.

    Also none of them purported to be qualified for the job and the idea of Alex’s inclusion as an endurance athlete is taken entirely out of context as he was merely asked an ‘interesting fact’ about himself, not the reason for his inclusion as a judge.

    The sentiment that any weaknesses of this talent search are due to anyone but NUTS are also unfair and misplaced. The whole operation is essentially an amateur best effort, with students participating for their own experience. The judges were the only people present with entirely unselfish motives and were interesting and witty throughout.

    My intention is not to rant about this article or event in particular (although it was frustrating to read) but to make a point about Impacts’ reporting. A lot of effort is put into events such as Notts’ Got Talent by the SU, SRSs and students and to see such a good event described in anything but positive terms was disappointing. I think Impact should be more responsible in the way they report and have a higher level of integrity in terms of the way they represent people.

  3. January 27, 2011 at 12:25

    As both an Impact Exec member AND someone who auditioned, I think I am quite well placed to respond to these comments.

    Firstly, Impact articles are written solely from the perspective of each writer and if that’s how Adam feels based on what he saw on the day, then he has the right to say so!

    The commenters above (who I would feel more respect for if they said who they were as I always think that if you have an opinion to raise it anonymously is quite cowardly) also have the right to disagree with his view but to say that

    ‘but to make a point about Impacts’ reporting. A lot of effort is put into events such as Notts’ Got Talent by the SU, SRSs and students and to see such a good event described in anything but positive terms was disappointing. I think Impact should be more responsible in the way they report and have a higher level of integrity in terms of the way they represent people’

    I, personally, think is ridiculous. The article does have positive points but it is a review after all so there is, therefore, the need to discuss what the writer saw as the good and bad parts of the audition process. I am increasingly hearing people complain about Impact reporting when it does not have a “slant” that suits them. Just because a lot of effort has been put into Notts’ Got Talent does not mean people cannot have their own opinions on it! And, it is not for Impact to censor people left, right and centre. We haven’t censored your comments – which we could easily have done by not approving them – but you want us to censor other peoples’ opinions?

    Moving on to my role as an auditionee, I actually agree with the initial sentiment of this article. The NUTS team were really friendly but the judges were horrible! Honestly! I didn’t take personal offence because I understood (once I got there) that it was meant to be X-Factor-like so they were bound to be a bit mean. However, I ended up feeling like the girl on the last X-Factor series who asked one of the guest judges (Natalie Imbruglia), “Who are you, may I ask?” When Simon Cowell’s mean you accept it because you know that he’s Simon Cowell and if you put up with him you may just end up winning a record deal. Whereas, for Notts’ Got Talent I turned up to the audition thinking that it would just be a quick sing and a yes or no or we’ll be in touch to let you know. Although I did get through in the end, I left pretty stressed out and wondering (just like the author of this article) what talents/relevant experience the judges themselves had…

  4. Adam Dawes
    January 27, 2011 at 12:21

    The embedded video has shown that the auditionees were talented, and the great job that NUTS did on the day (especially considering their last minute movement) proves that they have the necessary skills for the job at hand. However, my queries were merely to try and establish what qualifies the judges to perform that role.

    NUTS have clearly taken this seriously, and used the best people and equipment for the job, and the auditionees have also taken this very seriously as a competition. Why then, couldn’t the powers that be find a panel that would actually have a criteria for judging and criticising the talent on display?

    There are many musical and performance societies within the University who could’ve been utilised for this, which would have led to a much more legitimate panel. In addition, an explanation of who the judges were and why they were there would’ve helped the viewer learn who these people were. The article set out to do just that, and regrettably, came to the conclusion that it did.

    As the person writing this article, the only opinion I have is that I want Notts Got Talent to succeed on every level. Unfortunately, the reasons for the judging panel line-up were never explained to me, and if they were, my question would still be the same – of the over 30,000 students at Nottingham University, were these three people the only ones that were available, and if not, were they the three most talented?

  5. January 27, 2011 at 12:50

    A few questions have been raised as to the writer’s integrity here. I would venture that enforcing a positive slant on any story in which people put in effort would do far, far more to compromise the integrity of a writer and Impact than allowing them to go to an event and tell it how they saw it – ie what has happened here.

    The implication here, and it has occurred when people have tried to be critical in the past too, is that Impact has an agenda – that we send out our writers with a specific line to take when reporting on a story. Any suggestion of this, implied or otherwise, is scurrilous and insulting to the hundreds of students who contribute to Impact. While it would be politically expedient (especially within the Portland Bubble) to force our writers to cover certain stories in certain ways instead of letting them tell it how they see it, it doesn’t take a talent judge to spot the foolish nature of such a policy.

    For these comments to be raised by people who haven’t even the testicular fortitude to put their names to them is sickening to me. At least when Impact’s writers are genuinely critical, they have the courage to stand by what they have said and be held accountable. I know who I have more respect for.

  6. Alex Corck-Adelman
    January 27, 2011 at 13:00

    The comment I’d like to make, which does relate to Adam’s methods of reporting, and obviously not Impact’s as whole, is that he has completely misrepresented the quotes from all three of us, and portrayed them in a manner that, to a reader, appears as though that’s why we think we’re qualified to do the job. I can’t remember his exact wording, but I think he asked for an interesting fact about ourselves, and those were what we came out with (endurance athlete, marrow, butcher). All very tongue in cheek. He didn’t ask us ‘what qualifies you to be a judge’, but I will argue with anyone for as long as they like that this is what the article implies. It didn’t have relevance Adam. It wasn’t meant to have relevance. Because you didn’t ask what qualifies me to be a judge. It did have relevance to the question you did ask though, so apologies for not being psychic.

    He was there, having a laugh with us, fitting in with the vibe of the day in general. To then go away and do what he’s done is, in my opinion, completely unfair. I feel betrayed, on a personal level – not by Impact, who do a great job reporting and publishing things, but by Adam. Ironically I had the latest issue of impact in my hand when I got told about this article, and had just finished a conversation about how professionally put together it is. On the day he was very nice and friendly, and to then go away and write this is extremely surprising. If he was paparazzi, working to make his living and with only his paper and his readership in mind, I’d understand. But as another member of the SU, as someone working for another SRS, and as someone who seemed to be enjoying the day, I don’t know why he felt the need to put this slant on the article. We didn’t propose ourselves as the three most talented people in Nottingham. We aren’t the three most talented people in Nottingham. But instead of focusing on this poor selection of judges (as you see it) and the ’embarrassing’ scheduling error, you should have focused more than a third of the article (perhaps the whole thing) on how good some of the talents were, how good a job NUTS did, and on publicising the show on Sunday, which, as a preview article I assume this was meant to do.

    Also, the second paragraph, about the hard work NUTS put in, and, essentially, how we were rubbish and didn’t care and let them down – I fully agree about NUTS. I’ve been present at a couple of things they’ve done before, I’ve watched their live coverage of council, a couple of their shows (campus cupids is a particular favourite. Especially the Katie Mackay episode. Again giving herself up for NUTS. Don’t know precisely what qualified her for that though, other than being single. Maybe you could write a scathing article about it Adam?) But anyway. NUTS did an amazing job. I don’t know what went on with the SU Hub, but as always, NUTS just got their heads down and sorted out the New Theatre. Simon and myself, who had got there at 10 as requested, offered to help, but, lacking the necessary expertise, our offer was politely declined. So instead we walked around campus for an hour and half with some of the NUTS crew trying to find extra contestants, and to film a bit of extra footage.

    I am confused about why “just having fun” and “playing it by each act” are in quotation marks, unless you’ve said them out loud to yourself while writing? But I’m more annoyed by you saying that was our intention. Absolutely incorrect. We know that NUTS want this show to be amazing, because they want everything they do to be as good as it can, but also because they are planning to enter this for some national competitions. Although NUTS’ technical expertise was unquestionable, the procedures of the show (I don’t know if that was down to them or Douggie) were unclear even to our minds. We tried repeatedly to clarify before filming, but, admittedly, it wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. If you’d done a bit more research/been willing to give up more of your time like myself, Simon and the NUTS crew did (I had lectures as well as you by the way, and I was meant to be going home this weekend, but gave them both up to do NGT) you’d have realised that we didn’t put the show together, or decide the way it was going to work, and that we were there under the direction of Douggie and Perry who were regularly coming and giving us advice/pointers.

    I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Maybe you could write a better article afterwards? I don’t mean better as in more positive towards me – I don’t really care. Sticks and stones and all that. I just mean better for your own benefit. If you want to write as a career you’ve really got to raise it. And raise your morals as well while you’re at it.

    Corcky x

  7. Anonymous
    January 27, 2011 at 13:20

    Are any of the judges thinking of running on the SU Exec?

    • dan
      January 27, 2011 at 14:14

      @Dave

      I think in many ways it would be great if Impact did have an agenda rather than being little more than a lifestyle magazine. With such ‘drama’ happening around in student politics right now, why does Impact merely cover rather than attempt to push agendas or at least support them in a more activist way. Compared to other Unis or European student literature this is all pretty banal. Or maybe it merely reflects the audience. You would know more than me after all it is you who could set the agenda. But that maybe isn’t a point for here.

      Good luck to the talented 🙂

  8. Alex Corck-Adelman
    January 27, 2011 at 13:23

    I meant to write this in my initial post but forgot.

    @Vanessa. Apologies if you found us horrible. Without ruining NUTS’ secret, we were told to be mean. In fact, every couple of editions, someone from NUTS came over and asked us to be meaner. We found this hard, as everyone on the stage was more talented than us, and even if they weren’t, none of us want to be horrible to anyone. So again, I feel that the criticism here is misdirected.

    @ Anon. Don’t really know why this was posted under Anon, as it’s not offensive or controversial, unless you’re someone that shouldn’t be asking that question, i.e. someone from impact/su exec and you just want it to seem like it’s coming from a normal student. Naughty. Regardless, it would be contravening SU Election rules to say anything other than ‘maybe’. Katie Mackay’s thinking about it though x

  9. anon
    January 27, 2011 at 13:24

    Adam Dawes, you should be highly embarassed with this article. It’s absolutely pathetic. I don’t understand what your agenda is? Why have you painted Alex to be a fool? I’ve known him for years and there is no way he would have said that if you asked the question that you claimed to have. Even if you did, it would definitely be a joke, which you would have known if you had a sense of humour. The fact that you’ve portrayed him as an idiot is totally unfair and I just don’t know why you’ve done it. I’ve read a few of your things before and none of them are very good, this one is easily your worst, its practically libelous. The thing is, if you’re going to contort what Alex said then fine, but at least make it funny! This article was completely devoid of humour and you’re just abusing your position as a writer to depict others as dicks, like your good self. I don’t know if broadsheet journalism was what you had in mind as a career, but I’d definitely give it up. Maybe try tabloid rubbish or go into politics? Looks to be more like your skillset. You’re clearly a selfish individual with no care for the truth or other people’s name and I hope IMPACT get rid of you.

    Lots of love xxx

  10. craig
    January 27, 2011 at 14:04

    Adam mate, you need to get in touch with the sports section. I could just see it now, ”xx’ was terrible in today’s football match, really couldn’t do anything right, embarassed himself and cost his team the match. Why was he chosen for the Uni 2s, he doesn’t deserve it?!’. I’m sure they could really do with your revolutionary, scathing writing techniques. Or why not insult the Vice Chancellor? You’re such a big man, I’m sure you’ve got the ‘testicular fortitude’ (as the chieft put it) to do that haven’t you? Or maybe just pick on people that aren’t so ‘talented’ yeah mate? Silly, silly little man

  11. leanne
    January 27, 2011 at 14:33

    Vanessa, your point about ‘censoring’ people’s comments is worthless. No, you’re not censoring people’s comments on here, but that is unbelievably standard for a blog like this. The role that Adam plays and the role that commenters play is very different. Adam has a responsibility as a writer for Impact to be opinionated but fair, he was definitely one of these and it certainly wasn’t the latter. We can write whatever the hell we like because its not gonna be read by 30000 students or whatever it is, it will be lucky to reach 30. He is abusing this responsibility. As Craig says, we are a University, yes slate Trent by all means, slate restaurants (as I’m sure Adam does for nights) but don’t slate our own students. We should be proud of each and every one of our students, who are you to say someone isn’t good enough? Would you do it to a member of a sports team? NO. Adam’s use of the word ‘talented’ is equally invalid. I think it was Oscar Wilde that first questioned the existence of this word, it is utterly meaningless. Do you propose that there was an audition for the judges?? Jog on. The judges did a good job, its easy to see who’s crap and who’s not and they did well on the day. Adam, you need to have a word with yourself.

  12. January 27, 2011 at 14:37

    @ dan:

    “I think in many ways it would be great if Impact did have an agenda rather than being little more than a lifestyle magazine. ”

    I do get your point, but as you go on to suggest, yes, Impact does reflect only the opinions of the students who want to write for us. The more students who want to write the more likely we are to have a diversity of opinions so if you know people who hold strong views get them to come to a meeting with their ideas for an article. And, yes the clock’s been wrong for ages. Should really get that fixed – whoops, that my job, I’ll get on it!

    @ Alex Corck-Adelman:

    Thank you for your honesty and coming forward with your name to make your comment. I do understand where you’re coming from and I did kind of get that vibe. When I said it was horrible it wasn’t so much whether you (and the other judges) liked my singing or not it, it was more the whole charade which I found honestly quite traumatising simply because I wasn’t expecting it to be a “production” of any kind if you see what I mean. I saw it more as any opportunity to sing (which I hadn’t done in a while) and wouldn’t have auditioned had I know it would be X-Factor like, but it’s water under the bridge so no worries.

    @ Anon: If you don’t like my singing then that’s fine! Personally, I think I sounded fine the 1st time (do you even KNOW the song and how it’s supposed to go?!) but I think the stress had gotten to me by the 2nd time round! But anyway, I would ask if you were there? As what you are seeing is of course the edited version of events. If you were you would have seen that the microphone was feeding back the whole time I was singing the 1st time and also for some strange reason there was no laptop or CD player so my backing track had to be played from the theatre sound box which meant that I could hardly hear it from where I was on the stage. Obviously, both of these things coupled together were off-putting. That said, it was their decision to call me back and put me through so don’t blame me! (Thanks by the way lol!)

    @Anon (same one or perhaps another?): 1) Man/Woman up and state who you are for goodness sake! I really don’t take seriously anyone’s opinion who can’t even be bothered to attribute it to themself. 2) Your comment is slightly (meaning VERY) overdramatic don’t you think? Jeez.

  13. Ben Bakewell
    January 27, 2011 at 14:40

    Adam you’ve written a poor article with seemingly pointless inflammatory statements calling individuals out by name at will. You’ve cheapened yourself and let Impact down in my opinion with an article that just screams ‘misleading’.

    I’m not a regular Impact reader, but from this evidence you haven’t portrayed yourself or the publication well. Maybe you think you’ve done your job by creating a miniature sandstorm, if so, grow up. Credit to Alex C-A for taking the opportunity to give some sort of retort to the situation.

    The article and writer deserve to be discussed, but more importantly Impact should consider giving the judges official editorial space to retort outside of the comments. section.

  14. January 27, 2011 at 14:50

    @ leanne: I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on your point about Adam’s article being read by 30,000. Firstly, this is an online only article which will not go into the printed version of Impact (as far as I am aware anyway!). Secondly, people are just as interested in reading the comments as the article so don’t think that people don’t read your comments too! Before I was on the Impact Exec (and even now if I’m honest), some articles I only read so that I can add my opinion to the debates which spring up on here. So, your comment may be just as influential as Adam’s article. As you’ll have seen from mine and Alex’s comments you can write as much as you want so your right of reply is there. It’s up to you to use it. With regard to your view that Adam’s article is not “fair”, that’s such a subjective view! I’m sure he would say it was fair so is your opinion more valid than his?

    @ Ben: Really?! I think people are really making something out of nothing here but hey what’s new?!

  15. Douggie McMeekin
    January 28, 2011 at 16:24

    A happy family we are, we are. Firstly, a thank you to Impact for giving their time, tis always kind and never expected of you so much appreciated. Adam, I believe some statements were perhaps slightly bold from someone who only spent a very small proportion of time with what was an extremely long process , however, again I appreciated the mere fact that you showed an interest.
    NUTS were, as I think no one disagrees, exceptional and without Mike and his team I would still be sitting at my computer looking at last years NGT logo wandering where to start. I am far from the “The mastermind behind Notts Got Talent”. I do however take full responsibility for the event and all complaints etc… should be directed at me please. I suppose this now leads me to answer the question:
    “Why then, couldn’t the powers that be find a panel that would actually have a criteria for judging and criticising the talent on display?”
    I think anyone on the planet who feels they have a “criteria for judging and criticising” needs to go ahead and pluck themselves from the depths of their naughty zone. Further to this, anyone who suggests that these three people are doing this on any sly motive is simply wrong. I asked them and they said yes, if I’d asked anyone else they would have had the opportunity to say yes, but I didn’t, I asked them and I’m glad. They are charismatic, sociable people who bring something interesting to the show (in this day and age I think the ‘judging’ responsibilities are more geared towards providing entertainment then actual selection as I would argue that this is a relatively easy task which (and I’m sorry to break the 4th wall) was achieved by a team larger than just the three of them, I would state that Danni Minogue has about as much talent as exists in Lawrence’s left thumb). Are they the best people for the job? Anyone who thinks they can answer this question needs to refer back to the sentence about the naughty zone. Are they good for the job? Subjective. Tuck in.
    I asked Simon because I saw him stand in front of 2000 fresher’s in December (maybe November??) and he kept them fully captivated for 2 hours. I challenge any student to do that with as much zest as he had (I feel I may regret the use of the word ‘zest’).
    I asked Kates because she is hilarious. Again, subjective. Feel free to tuck in. (She also ran in 2 cross campus elections and won (both times) so for those who question how ‘in touch’ with students she is… soz.)
    I asked Corky because I thought he would complement the other two. Speak to him for 5 minutes and you’ll see that he’s funny, intelligent guy (or you could write more comments on this article, that’s cool too). He’s also won a bunch of elections… congratulations big man.
    We have c.30,000 students here and I haven’t met many who aren’t at least half decent, so I agree that there were many many other options. Sorry if people disagree with my 3 choices, I’m pretty pleased and I am soooooper excited about Sunday. I hope I will see you all there.
    Lots of Love,
    Douggie x