How Audience Judging Works

First things first: if you’re unfamiliar with the idea of a poetry slam, visit our page explaining the basics, and how the audience plays a crucial part in the show.

Next, a few notes on the role of audience judges:

  • Judging in each bout impacts tournament standings, inevitably determining the champion.
  • While in the lineup and as the audience is being seated, 5 judges will be randomly selected by the slam host. Judges should be impartial to all competing poets (ie: no personal bias).
  • Judges will be given scorecards and instructed to apply numerical scores between 0.0 and 10.0. based on the poet’s content and performance.
  • You may apply your own scoring rubric based on your experience with any aspect of writing and performance. Even if you’ve never read a poem, been to a slam, or heard of spoken word before, your opinion still has value in contributing to the show. The audience will be met with a range of styles and voices, and however you are impacted by the experience is basis enough for a valid score.
  • That said, the audience may have a different opinion – but stick to your guns and stay consistent.
  • Before the competition begins, a “sacrificial poet” will deliver a performance that will help to “calibrate” scoring. After the poet leave the stage, our host will instruct judges to lift their scorecards in unison (judgment comes swiftly!). Scores will be called out and recorded, while other audience members can voice their opinion on the results. This process will repeat for each competitor for 2 rounds, after which the scores are tabulated and a winner is determined.