Another thing we judges agreed on is that we don't want just a generic novelty song for the radio. Not that those songs are not valid or that they don't make a lot of money for who wrote them. There is a place for novelty hits. But in general, we want to encourage the contestants to strive for the trifecta of what being a professional writer is all about -- to be original, well-crafted/timeless, and be a hit. It's not easy to do, but it's worth trying, and we wanted them to strive for that bar.
The hardest thing about Episode 1 was eliminating someone so soon. It's a tough call to make so early, and none of us relished the chore. As we investigated into how the co-write went, we felt Nevin was the weakest link. He was not able to contribute or be useful or original in a meaningful way. But this was a hard call, because it must be determined if he didn't contribute due to his own lack of ideas or drive, or due to the fact that the other writers shut him out. If the latter were true, it would have painted the picture a different shade in our eyes.
In the end though, we felt Nevin should be sent home. But it's always a hard choice that leaves my stomach in knots.
That said, I know all of us judges were impressed with our cast, and we began to look forward to watching this young group of talent grow.