How to Handle Pageant On-Stage Questions
Final Questions Often Come From Your Contestant Fact Sheet
Understand that your on-stage questions in a pageant often come directly from your contestant fact sheet. That means that you CAN often help shape what questions you are asked!! Whether the format is an on-stage interview, a live question from a judge, or a top 5 final question, creating a winning image depends upon using carefully chosen personal information to mold how judges view you.
Obviously, the success of your onstage interview with the emcee often depends on the quality of the material the emcee has to draw upon…and you supply pageant organizers with the information they will draw upon in writing their on-stage questions. “We take the information off of their contestant fact sheet and entry form and they have a conversation based on that information,” confirms Tina Birkett, of the Miss Teen All American Pageant.
If a contestant’s entry form or fact sheet offers interesting hobbies, athletic awards, academic pursuits, career goals, or family trivia, the emcee will have an assortment of colorful topics to ask her about. The better the topics, the better the questions, the better the onstage interview, the better your scores.
However, you can never tell what entry on your pageant fact sheet will catch the emcee’s eye and lead to an unusual question, so be prepared for anything and everything. For example, during her on-stage interview as a semi-finalist, Dick Clark asked one teen contestant to do an impersonation of her favorite character (which she had mentioned in her contestant fact sheet) – on live national television. Nothing like a little pressure, but she gamely went along with it.
Know Your Contestant fact Sheet Inside-Out
Know your contestant fact sheet inside and out, and be prepared for question related to anything on that fact sheet!
- Always take a breath before speaking.
- Try not to grab the microphone from the emcee.
- Don’t lean toward a hand-held or stand microphone. Stand tall and graceful. Let the emcee bring the microphone in toward you.
- Even if you are scared-look confident and relaxed.
- Jitters can raise the voice. Lower your voice a bit. And breath!!
- If the host asks you a question, don’t stare at the judges when answering. Look at the host, then include the audience and judges as you speak.
- If a judge asks you a question, smile at him or her first, then include the other judges and audience.
- Get to the point. Don’t ramble.
What Judges Look For During Final Questions
While the judging criteria will differ from pageant to pageant, some of the qualities judges consider include:
- Personality, charm, sincerity, charisma
- Confidence, poise, and composure before an audience
- Pleasant conversationalist
- Ability to think on one’s feet under pressure
- Able to articulate one’s opinions and values
- Voice, vocabulary, grammar, eloquence
- Content of remarks
- Courage of her convictions
- Use of wit and humor
- Suitability as a role model! sponsor spokesperson
- Overall impression
Onstage questions, introductory statements, casual conversations, and final questions and interviews provide an ideal opportunity for a contestant to create a winning image because they all help judges to get to know the candidates better.
Every time a young woman opens her mouth to speak, her personal style is immediately evident. Is she a casual collegiate athlete, an intellectual law student, a wholesome future kindergarten teacher, or a gorgeous, but ditzy, aspiring actress? The way she communicates types the young woman.
Consequently, use on-stage questions as an opportunity to create a winning image by emphasizing what is special and admirable about you.