Talent Competition Tips
Tips for the Pageant Talent Competition | Talent Training | Unusual Pageant Talents | Talent Competition Mistakes
In preparing for the pageant talent competition, whether your pageant talent is a romantic classical piano selection, an exciting acrobatic routine, or a charming ventriloquist act, it is important step is to blend personality, facial expressions, body language and costuming to communicate the theme of your performance and to create an unforgettable mood onstage.
To help you on your road to winning the talent competition (or even surviving it, if you have little talent), we have provided a list of the most successful pageant talent music, listed by type of talent (singers, musicians, dancers, baton, gymnastics, acrobatics, etc.)
This page discusses how what to do if you don't have a talent, unusual talents that have competed well, and how to handle mistakes during the talent competition.
Related: Introduction to the Talent Competition
Need a Pageant Talent Late in the Game?
Quality training can help a pageant contestant develop a talent even at a late stage in her pageant career. (Read about Debra Maffett's beginning pageant talent training at age twenty-one and going on to win the Miss America Pageant talent competition at age twenty-six!)
Girls seeking to develop a pageant talent quickly should bear in mind that it is easier to learn to sing in a limited time period than to master other musical skills. "It's easier to develop a vocal talent than it is an instrumental talent," says Keller. "An instrument takes years and years and years of practice, so you can't suddenly decide when you're eighteen that you want to play the piano in the Miss America Pageant. It just doesn't work that way. You would have to have several years before you could get a degree of difficulty acceptable for that level. But with vocalists, voices develop much later in life, so a lot of women don't know they have a voice until a music instructor at school or something says, 'Oh, you have a voice! Why don't you do a little solo here?,' and they're off and running."
The key is it's got to be entertaining. The secret to selling any talent is showmanship. Any talent, if it is entertaining and performed well, can gain high scores.
Related: Introduction to the Talent Competition
What if I Don't Have a Pageant Talent?
Sometimes, bluffing can help a gutsy contestant who lacks a stage talent. For instance, after being warned that her dramatic act wouldn't go over at the national pageant, Oklahoma's Jane Jayroe came up with a more flamboyant "talent" - conducting the pageant orchestra. She was voted Miss America 1967.
Her predecessor, Debbie Bryant, concocted a vaudeville spoof that she never dreamed might earn her the coveted crown. Without a stage talent, she decided to perform a melodrama with a heroine in distress, villain, and rescuing hero. As strobe lights flickered, Debbie performed all three roles by flapping around in a three-part costume. "I knew that my talent wasn't my strength," she quips. "You can't fall too much on your face when you're having fun, making a spoof out of it."
The pageant's national director, Lenora Slaughter, wasn't as magnanimous. "I'll never forget," Bryant recalls, chuckling, "some of Lenora's first words to me were, 'Well, you won't ever have to do your talent again! '" But, the judges knew they had their winner the moment they met Debbie and they weren't going to lose her over a trivial matter of talent.
Similarly, two other ingenious contestants faked their way to the national throne by learning to play one song on a musical instrument. Texas's Shirley Cothran won her national title after memorizing one medley on the flute. During her reign she charmingly let the public in on her charade. "I'm not a flautist or a flutist," she'd admit with a giggle, "but a Texas flute-tooter. Because 1 can play the B-flat scale and one song - but I play it very well!"
Marilyn Van Derbur resorted to a similar strategy after her sorority drafted her into their school's local preliminary pageant. Faced with the requirement to perform a talent, she decided to try the organ because the judges couldn't compare it with anything else. When a friend composed a difficult-sounding -- but easy-to-play -- medley of "Tea for Two" and "Tenderly," Marilyn practiced four hours a day to memorize the pieces. Although it was the only tune she could play, it was sufficient to win her the local, state, and national titles.
However, Marilyn's first TV appearance after being crowned Miss America illustrates the dangers of bluffing. When she arrived for an appearance on The Steve Allen Show, the host complimented her on her organ performance the night before and mentioned that when they went on live coast-to-coast television. Luckily, Allen opted for a piano/organ duet and Marilyn survived the broadcast by smiling like mad and pretending to play along while Allen carried the tune!
So while bluffing talent sometimes pays off, girls who do so should have a mental game plan for situations they may encounter if their bluff proves a tad too convincing!
Pageant Tips | The Talent Competition | Best pageant talent music for musicians and other talents | Talent tips for singers | Best talent music for singers | More talent competition tips | Talent costuming
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