I think the balance of scoring should be even between shaping and product control.
Nail competitors are, well, a competitive bunch. I just returned from the NAILS Magazine Show in New Jersey and had an opportunity to talk to a lot of them about what’s going on in the competition circuit. I looked at the models and scoresheets, and let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t the judge of that contest! Every set of nails I saw was practically perfect, and the competitors grilled the judges for explanations of every lost point.
I did judge the beginning tip and overlay category at our show (I had gone through our judges Network program to become a certified judge), and I came away thinking some changes ought to be made in the 10-point scoring system. I shared my concerns with our competition director, Sharon Parker (who also handles the Gary Sperling Show and the Ace Show in Florida). In the 10-point system, a contestant starts with a perfect 10 in each category and points are deducted for each nail that has a flaw. Every contestant is judged by three different judges to ensure objectivity. Competitors are judged on C-curve, nail shape, length (and consistency from hand to hand), nail thickness, cuticles, and side-walls. All those categories locus on shape and filing skills.
I think the balance of scoring should be even between shaping and product control. For example, a competitor could sculpt, file, and perfectly shape a set of nails and get all 10s in the shaping categories (worth 80 points), but she could have a sloppy smile line, cloudy product, air bubbles, and a visible tip line and vet that category is only worth 10 points. What really distinguishes the top nails is the ability to create absolutely natural-looking color on the tip and nail bed, regardless of the tip or powder color. Sharon is considering some changes in the judging criteria.
On the same note, NAILS Magazine’s competitors ranking ranks all U.S. competitors based on the number of times they place in a competition, regardless of the competition. We’ve heard from several competitors that perhaps that system does not fairly weigh the big national competitions where they are pitted against all the best competitors. And since not all competitions follow the same scoring system, we cannot count points overall.
I would like to see all competition sponsors use a single standard of certification or training of judges and a consistent scoring system. It would raise the standards competitors must meet and would ensure that judging was consistent wherever you competed. A standard that would be fair for all and that would bestow the mark of excellence on competitors who truly deserve it.