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Noise editor: Rumble rules being rewritten

As the Rumble heads into the semifinals round this weekend, The Noise editor T-Max -- the Rumble's unofficial historian, having seen more nights of the Rumble's musical combat than perhaps anyone else in Boston -- is questioning the scoring decisions made by the new Rumble regime, which led last weekend to Rumble coordinator Mark Hamtilon singlehandedly overturning a numeric victory by Clouds and instead awarding the victory to the Men. In an email to the Phoenix, T-Max wrote as follows:

[Rumble coordinator] Mark Hamilton interprets the Rumble scoring rules differently than they have been in the past. He doesn't realize it but he is changing the rules that were created with a certain logic in mind. Mark's method does not respect the judges' numerical score. If he claims a band the winner because they have the majority of first place votes, he's disregarding the point system. From what I know of the rules (and I've made a point of following the Rumble rules for the past 26 years), looking at which band has the most first place votes only comes into play when there is a numerical tie. When there is a clear winner in the original score, and that winner is the same when the highs and lows are dropped--they are the winner. No reason to look any further. If there is a numerical tie, then number of first place votes breaks that tie.

As reported in this space last week, Hamilton stepped in to reverse a win by Clouds, who were awarded more points according to the Rumble's longstanding voting system. Despite the fact that Clouds had eked out a narrow victory over runners-up the Men, Hamilton awarded the victory to the Men on the argument that the Men had received more first-place votes. After pointing out the voting discrepancy, OTD demanded that Clouds be immediately awarded a wild-card slot -- a command the Rumble promptly followed. Ironically, the week before the scoring flap, Hamilton was overheard joking that T-Max had been grilling him on the ins and outs of the Rumble's rules and regulations.

Although OTD has received no official response from Hamilton or the Rumble, the issue may well seep into this weekend's semi-final round, in which the Men and Clouds meet in a no-holds-barred rematch at Harpers Ferry on Saturday night. Rumor has it that Clouds have been mulling an onstage response to the controversy.

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