Bhangra Blowout Application Process

Discussion in 'Main Bhangra Discussion' started by Akshaya, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Akshaya

    Akshaya Member

    First of all, congrats to all the teams that were accepted to compete this year at Bhangra Blowout 25!

    While MBT completely respects the board’s decision, we’re extremely disappointed at being denied the opportunity to compete this year. We aren’t trying to be "sore losers" and understand the hard work that the BB board puts in to this competition having competed the last two years. We rather want to start a conversation on further refining the process of how lineups are chosen for competitions of Blowout caliber. The concept of having a nationals was discussed briefly last year but we just wanted to bring this up again in light of our situation with Blowout.

    In any other sport, you have to win several games to even be considered for the championship. Within the Bollywood fusion and raas circuits, there is a clear cut point system to get to nationals (Bollywood America, Legends, etc). With Blowout being called a “collegiate championship” in Bhangra, why should it be treated any differently? Why is there so much more subjectivity & uncertainty within the Bhangra circuit?

    We as a collegiate team have worked so hard to prove ourselves this season (as have the majority of these other teams). To us, Blowout is the “best of the best” and everything we have done thus far has been focused towards this goal. With a second place at Boston Bhangra Competition and first place at Aa Dekhen Zara, we feel like we’ve proven ourselves to be a strong contender as one of the top collegiate teams this season deserving of a spot in this lineup, and were the only collegiate team this past season to have acquired two placings so far.

    There are obviously many factors that go into picking lineups, the audition video probably being the most important to any board. It can also be argued that our audition video should have been so good that the board should have had no reason but to select us. Prior placings in a season don’t necessarily determine the success of any given team, but when we spend an entire season working towards this goal and are denied this opportunity over a team that has never even competed before, for example, we’re rightfully frustrated.

    It’s great that many competitions nowadays are trying to diversify lineups to allow new and upcoming teams the opportunity to compete. But is Blowout really the stage to do this? Many competitions are also run by Indian Student Associations or dance teams at various universities. Lineups are chosen based on the vision of each competition board which is respectable. But is it fair that we allow say, a raas team, to determine our fate on such a big “championship” stage? The Blowout lineup had also been extended beyond eight teams in the past in 2016, so we were disappointed that a consideration could not be made again this year.

    My only proposition is to make Blowout an invitational for future years (like a Elite 8 & WBBC) to hold collegiate teams accountable for actually competing within a season and rewarding them for their successes even against independent lineups.

    I’m interested to hear the thoughts of others on this subject.

    Again, congrats to all the teams that were accepted and best of luck to you guys and the Bhangra Blowout 25 board for all the competition preparations!
    desi99, HdBrar, smehta313 and 24 others like this.
  2. hsdeol

    hsdeol Active Member

    imo if its not an invitational its audition tape > everything. From what i remember blowout had pretty strict guidelines for the tape and previous performances werent accepted (its been like 5 or 6 years since my collegiate days so dunno if this has changed). If youve done well all season and have a bad tape I dont think you should be accepted over a team that hasnt competed (or has but didnt place) but has an awesome tape. again just my take.

    2 hypothetical situations to consider

    1. lets say a legandary team (someone like JJ or something) doesnt compete all year but decides theyre gonna have a go at bruin. they make a dope tape and its clearly better than all the other teams that applied. Should teams that competed (+/- placing) get in over them with a worse tape?

    2. Lots happens with college teams throughout the year. Teams are very lucky if they start and end the season with the same roster. Lets say a teams starts with a roster of 12 that goes on and competes and places at shows, but 2 or 3 of the dancers decide not to dance in the 2nd half of the school year and alternates need to be called up. If this new roster of 12 isnt as strong as the placing roster and the tape made isnt that impressive, is the teams competition and placing history over the year really a fair representation of what would be brought to the show?

    I understand your point and its a good one to bring up. If the committee isn't biased or picking teams their friends are on, recently made audition tapes are a great way to select teams that will do the best at the show.
  3. sdadoo15

    sdadoo15 Active Member

    For almost all competitions, I completely agree that audition videos are more important than anything in determining lineup. However, the key difference here imo is the fact that BB has coined their competition "The Collegiate Championships" for the past 3-4 years. BB has established themselves as the end product of the season for all collegiate teams, and this competition is meant to be a battle between the top 8 collegiate teams of that season. Think about how the last true bhangra "championship", Elite 8, determined their lineup: season success.

    Saying this, hsdeol made some good points about why lineup shouldn't be strictly based on season success. I think BB would greatly benefit from weighing audition video equally with season success. I also agree with Akshaya in that BB should become an invitational competition - I love that the collegiate circuit has a competition to work hard towards all year. I understand deciding the "top 8" teams is a subjective matter, but there are many objective factors (i.e. placings) that can help determine which teams are the top 8 teams of the season.

    I also believe a Nationals system would solve all of these types of problems but that is a different story :)
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  4. BhangraSUCKS

    BhangraSUCKS Active Member

    Who cares
    Rishi K. likes this.
  5. alprozeh

    alprozeh New Member

    Would you consider releasing your audition tape?
  6. prabbhatti

    prabbhatti New Member

    I see what you're saying. But I think the point being made here is Blowout's emphasis over the years on being a "championship". No offense to the committee that made the decisions, I'm unsure of who it was, but to me a certain committee that may not have as much Bhangra experience isn't as fit to make a decision simply based on a team's audition video versus also looking at the results from more proven judges throughout the season that have placed certain collegiate teams. So I think it would make more sense for a competition like Blowout to consider a team's success along with the audition video. And with teams like JJ, or other top teams like BK, that don't compete consistently, in the cases that these teams get into a competition it is definitely not based simply on their audition video. I believe in these cases their reputation and track record is also taken into account & the committee wants a team with a legendary reputation in their competition. Deservedly so. Another great example is Nachdi Jawani. What committee would not want an NJ team in their competition? Lol Of course, I'm sure these teams would have solid audition videos as well. But having seen MBT compete this year it's hard for me to believe 8 or 10 other collegiate teams many of whom who haven't had rly any significant placings, had a significantly better audition video than them. I'm all for blind audition videos in some cases, but with the collegiate circuit there really aren't any dominant or legendary teams that would come out of nowhere after not competing all year that would deserve to get in simply based off their audition video compared to another team that has been placing all year. Especially with the dancer turnover with collegiate teams, the talent gap between collegiate teams really does not seem as huge as it may be for a team like JJ and some other independent teams. In my opinion, in this case, success from that season should definitely be taken into account versus only looking at a blind 3 minute audition video where the segments don't even have to be continuous. And in most cases, collegiate teams want to take their best roster of the year to Blowout. If you do want to give the opportunity to collegiate teams that haven't competed for 1 or more years to compete at your competition, that's fine. But I think teams that also have built up a solid resume in that specific season should be rewarded as well. Because what sense does it make for teams to go up against & win against independent teams at top tier competitions during the year to only be denied the opportunity to be crowned as one of the best collegiate teams for that season in the end lol same goes for a competition like Bruin. A lot of people see Bruin as a sort of "championship" level comp at the end of the bhangra season. And they have consistently done a great job of rewarding teams that have done well that season along with also giving opportunities to talented teams that didn't compete a lot in the season they went to bruin like MOB Sydney, Tune Squad, Ankhiley-E-Gabroo, etc. Blowout has always done well with this process too, which is what surprises me about this year. The difference here is though that Blowout themselves calls their own competition a collegiate championship, so I think they should be following the success of teams that season even more closely.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  7. JesseMangat

    JesseMangat Member

  8. Shastri

    Shastri New Member

    Agree with the nationals system idea.

    I think that a comp like blowout should be based on video though, like Hsdeol stated. While placings may seem like an objective matter, you also have to take into account the skill level of the teams at those competitions, and then weigh that against the skill level of teams at other competitions It would just be messy decision-making for the board and we would be back in the same situation, asking what happened.
    HdBrar, Raghavtrip, Medha and 5 others like this.
  9. JesseMangat

    JesseMangat Member

    @Shastri Idk man haha I have a lot of respect for the teams we placed ahead of this season including VSB Waris, Nachdi Jawani, KPGD, and Stanford who justtt placed second to VanCity. If your argument is that teams of those caliber aren't up to par with those we are about to see in the Blowout lineup then you've got me scratching my head for sure. But at the end of the day all we are trying to say is sometimes a 2 minute audition tape isn't going to necessarily reflect how a team will perform after a month of prep and to 7-8 mins of continuous dancing on stage.
    karan_ravi, iffy, Anusha and 7 others like this.
  10. KarnSingh

    KarnSingh Active Member

    There are outliers and mistakes that occur in every circuit. Some teams should have placed higher/lower, gotten in/rejected, etc. We've all experienced getting rejected from a lineup/podium and seen the teams that came out ahead of us, and scratched our heads. The system demands improvements, but not an overhaul. Implement/urge better standards for team audition reviews (centralize a review board? nawh fuck that lol), but just straight up calling for a bs bhangra nationals is not warranted.

    Am big fan of MBT and this suxxxx...."Collegiate Championship" or nawh these are just semantics people use to pump themselves up. Your videos do enough justice to the credibility of your season. People will still remember you for WHAT you brought, and not WHERE you brought it.

    Sometimes it's just the way the cookie crumbles. But every little conflict/issue on the bhangra circuit is being shot up nowadays with protest for some sort of huge reform and battle for change. I personally feel that disturbing the system too much can lead to uncontrollable/unwanted consequences. Overall goal is to preserve the culture and use the circuit as a container. Preservation requires occasional and well-understood enhancements. We are too quick to fight for change, yet too incapable of predicting the consequences.
  11. Shastri

    Shastri New Member

    @JesseMangat I wasn't making any commentary on the skill level of the teams your team or any other team might have placed ahead of this season. I was just saying that as a rule, comparing placings is more of a subjective matter. I really do feel for you guys though and wish things could be done differently.
  12. Raghavtrip

    Raghavtrip Member

    Props for bringing up this issue and getting some discussion going on this, I know this is a concern a lot of college teams have had in the past as well.

    An issue with making a competition an “invitational” competition and rewarding teams for their successes in competitions throughout the year is that the more competitions a team attends, the more competitions they have a shot at placing at—I know with regards to my college team 5-6 years ago, it was very difficult to raise the money to afford to attend multiple competitions. When the team can’t afford to attend a competition and members have to pay out of pocket, it restricts bhangra to those who can afford it. I’m sure this is the case for many other college teams with limited funding. This is a major reason why some teams spend all year cleaning and only go to one/two competitions--they just don't have the money to try their luck at placing at more competitions, and they don't want team members to have to shoulder the burden of the costs.

    Making a competition invitational based on placings/videos from competitions throughout the year thus disadvantages teams that cannot afford to attend enough competitions to build their reputation for the competition, which sort of makes this a feedback cycle for those teams; if you don’t have enough money to go to as many competitions, you can’t build your reputation for the year, which then prevents you from going to certain competitions that are invitational, and the cycle continues. Many universities also fund teams based on success (because collegiate teams winning brings more attention to that university/increases applications) which entrenches new and underfunded teams in this cycle and may further hinder a new team’s ability to compete based on skill/audition video.

    That being said, your comp videos this year were sick—choreo was clean, formations hit, and there were a lot of creative ideas. There definitely needs to be a solution to the issue you brought up, but I think that making a strictly invitational "collegiate championship" is not the ideal one. Beyond this issue and others listed above, like @Shastri said it would still be subjective and would still necessitate that the competition board knows a lot about the circuit, teams, competitions, etc. in order to understand the context of a placing. I definitely agree with you that a two-minute audition video definitely doesn’t always reflect the caliber of a team, just like exams don't reflect someone’s full knowledge of a topic but are still used to assess someone’s abilities—but it’s hard to think of a way to change this from the competition’s end without making it unfair in other ways.

    It might be a good idea for some competitions to try having a publicly selected panel of experienced judges watch and rank the audition videos? Just a possible idea which I'm sure has its own pitfalls, but sorta illustrates that there is no real way to objectively evaluate teams competing to be the best at an inherently subjective artform.

    The nationals/point system thing has also been discussed in depth here for some more perspectives:
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  13. LiL JaTT

    LiL JaTT New Member

    Yeah dawg I totally feel you Eskettit. My Gucci gang, who I aint saying no names, finna did the most tip top, top notch, state of the art bhangra dance sequence in the world dawg, believe me ahhahaha. We got lambos and chicks from Harvard (would of been class of 2020 if I accepted ahaha esskettit) to be in the video, which was filmed next to the dumpster of my old high school. But dawg let me tell you, when we found out from BB that we didn’t make it, I almost finna started cryin dawg. Not from the fact that we didn’t make it but becuz they told us over fb messenger! Like Shiz man! But after winning multiple zonal competitions in India (Harjoty dawg will post em soon I’m sho), we fo sho fo sho thought we’d get in. I think if you win in the mother land man, you win everywhere dawg. Thats real talk. If you think we be lyin check out our audition tape right here right here

  14. Ankush

    Ankush Well-Known Member

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  15. hardeep_singh

    hardeep_singh Well-Known Member

    what's the lineup?
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  16. BhangraLord

    BhangraLord New Member

    I agree with @Akshaya, and I think her concerns are well-justified. It seems pretty odd that a collegiate team with 2 placings this year (and the only one at that) should be denied a spot at an event heavily marketed as the "Collegiate Championships". The MBT audition video had me amazed as to how full-time college students could pull that off! The attention to detail is present and there are definitely deliberate choices made in terms of formations, which I appreciate. That is not to say that there are ways to misrepresent the group that will be performing through the tape, but that is a different story. In conclusion, let me say this. I strongly feel that something has to change. I'm by no means the last word on this, but I'd imagine it to be very disappointing to the MBT members after a Blowout-worthy season to get this result when frankly there are others teams with less impressive sets who got bids.
    smehta313 likes this.
  17. hardeep_singh

    hardeep_singh Well-Known Member

    Illini Bhangra
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  18. smehta313

    smehta313 Active Member

    Not sure what the application entailed, but MBT definitely had a more successful "season" than several of these teams. It's surprising and disappointing to not see the team in the lineup.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018 at 5:23 PM
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  19. HdBrar

    HdBrar Welcome to the Dark Side.

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