PHOTO: Olds and Koon res­i­dences practice their routine for Mock Rock in Roche Sports Complex’s upper fitness studio. (Madeline Barry/Collegian)

The Hillsdale College com­munity gathered in the Dawn Tib­betts Potter Arena on Sat­urday to take part in our most trea­sured home­coming tra­dition: Mock Rock. The judges treated us to a display of neg­ative com­ments that left many in the crowd with a bad taste in their mouths.

Mock Rock needs a care­fully selected panel of judges and a better approach to eval­u­ation that rewards cre­ativity.

The three judges were neg­ative and treated some of the acts with unbe­coming disdain. The com­ments from the judge’s table became pro­gres­sively inco­herent as the night pro­gressed.

Based on the judge’s words, one would think some of the most enter­taining acts of the night were com­plete failures. In par­ticular, sophomore Mitchell Biggs’ ren­dition of Napoleon Dynamite’s iconic dance received a roaring applause from the audience but only neg­a­tivity and rudeness from the judges.

The Pi Beta Phi per­for­mance received a similar review when the judges didn’t sym­pa­thize with the tech­nical problems that plagued Mock Rock all night. They dis­paraged the women of Pi Phi for a well-exe­cuted per­for­mance done with barely-audible music — an impressive feat in itself.

Yet, the audience gave a warm reception to both Biggs’ and the Pi Phi’s per­for­mances, despite the neg­a­tivity of the judges. After deliv­ering neg­ative com­ments about some of the acts, for which the audience had cheered, the crowd responded to the judges with a chorus of boos.

As the event con­tinued, the judges only became more out of sync with the sen­ti­ments of the crowd.  Emcee Meghan Cain did Hillsdale a service by stopping the post-per­for­mance inter­views of the judges, pre­venting more cringe-worthy material from being said.

Mock Rock per­for­mances require many hours to practice and perfect. It cheats the per­formers out of hard work if the judges do not show up to do their jobs. The slop­piness and rude com­ments from the judges were not appre­ciated.

We should have seen judging that rec­og­nizes tal­ented acts and rewards unique pro­duc­tions.

At Mock Rock, we expect acts with stunts and well-exe­cuted dancing, but even more so, we love sur­prises, such as Biggs’ dance. When one man can get the entire bas­ketball stadium rocking, I believe he should have received more than just a write-off from the judges.

Or take another sur­prising per­for­mance by the Paul House.

The ladies of the Paul House uti­lized the talents of Jordan Wales, assistant pro­fessor of the­ology, to amaze the crowd. It’s awesome that a Hillsdale pro­fessor took his pre­cious time to do Mock Rock with his stu­dents. This was a unique angle, and it should be rewarded accord­ingly.

Both acts took cre­ative license and received standing ova­tions. What more can a Mock Rock per­for­mance do than have the crowd on its feet in appre­ci­ation? And what can be more irri­tating than a panel of judges who cannot appre­ciate cre­ativity?

It is hard to take the final results seri­ously when the judges could not rec­ognize a good Mock Rock per­for­mance. It’s also unfor­tunate that Mock Rock rarely rewards per­for­mances for thinking outside of the box.

Beyond some mediocre attempts at humor, I saw no purpose to the judging panel on Sat­urday night. Their assessment of the acts, or lack thereof, left a lot to be desired.

I expect that Mock Rock’s judges in the future will care more about the quality of the per­for­mance and the reaction of the crowd.


Nainoa Johsens is a senior studying political economy.