NQC Revamps Regional Artist Showcase

This afternoon, NQC announced changes to their regional artist showcases. They will offer better lighting and live video screen production throughout the week. The best performers from Monday through Friday will appear before a judges’ panel on Saturday, where the best two will be selected for a mainstage performance that night.

They have, in point of fact, selected the best performers from the showcases for a one-song mainstage appearance for years, but in the course of this rebranding, there appears to be more emphasis and more production value put into the showcases. (There is no word yet, though, on whether those showcases will be offered to those who have purchased the live online streaming package.)

To avoid confusion, there are three tiers of performances (other than special event showcases) at the National Quartet Convention.

  1. Freedom Hall mainstage evening performances. This is the top tier, for the artists with the largest followings among NQC attendees.
  2. Featured Artist / Artist Spotlight Showcases. This is the middle tier, for artists with established followings, but nonetheless followings deemed by the NQC board to not be as sizable as mainstage invitees. Last year, for example, up-and-coming trios Freedom and Statement of Faith performed here; both did so well that they were invited to sing a song to open the evening performance on their respective nights. The Collingsworth Family appeared here for several years—including after their first Gaither Homecoming Video appearance—before their invitation to mainstage. Also, whenever NQC does not re-invite an artist who has previously appeared on the mainstage to appear there, they customarily extend an invitation to appear here.
  3. Regional Artist Showcases. This showcase is open to any exhibitor who desires to sing. (That’s not a rumor; NQC says so on their site, here.) These are the showcases being revamped.

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  1. Technically, there have been 5 levels of performances at NQC in the past.

    1. Main Stage

    2. Featured Artist Showcase (Thursday through Saturday) – these are artists who just missed the main stage and get paid for these appearances.

    3. Featured Artist Showcase (Monday & Tuesday) – fits the description you gave of the FAS/ASShowcase above. Non-paid.

    4. Artist Spotlight Showcase – These are considered stand out performers of the Regional Artist Showcase and typically due two songs opening the Regional Artist Showcase.

    5. Regional Artist – your description matches the above and these artists have only gotten one song.

    I’m not sure I really like where they are going with the RAS with these new “improvements”. It seems like it’s more of a talent contest mixed with American Idol type live critiques.

    • How do you categorize the showcases that tend to be big draws, like the Together showcase or Song Of A Lifetime?

      It seems there’s actually a sixth category for special themed showcases. Some of these represent the true pinnacle of achievement at NQC, over and above a main stage appearance.

      The Gaither Vocal Band Reunion will be be a popular two hour showcase in 2011, for example.

      • David – that’s why I specifically said that special event showcases were not falling under my classification. Sometimes they are indeed bigger and more significant than anything that happens on the main stage. A good example from last year: The Gold City reunion was easily THE event of the convention – it was the one that had the buzz going in advance and the discussion afterwards more than anything else.

  2. Just a question, Is this just putting “lipstick on a pig?”