The pageant talent competition is one of the newer events in pageants, added to the Miss America Pageant as an optional competition in 1935 to show that contestants were more than pretty faces. In the half a century since, the talent competition has been a popular part of the pageant industry. While beauty pageants like Miss USA don’t include a talent event, most scholarship pageants traditionally do require talent. In fact, in the Miss America Pageant system, talent competition is the most important event, valued at a whopping 20 to 50 percent of scoring (the judging format undergoes change occasionally).
Other pageants that include a talent competition include Miss Black America, the Cinderella system, Miss American Coed, and Miss Country USA. Many pageants offer talent as an optional event, or expand the guidelines beyond “stage talents.” In Miss T.E.E.N., and Miss Teen of America, entrants can perform a talent, demonstrate a skill or hobby, or give a speech.
Judging the Pageant Talent Competition
Although the exact judging criteria for the pageant talent competition differs depending upon the pageant and the specific talent a contestant performs, judges usually consider the following qualities:
- execution and skill
- technical difficulty
- discipline and dedication
- facial expressions and on stage personality
- entertainment value and showmanship
- interpretation of the selection
- originality and creativity
- costuming and effective use of any props
- accuracy and recovery from mistakes
- effectiveness of opening and finale
- the total impact of a performance