A pageant singer’s costuming should instantly convey the mood of her musical selection in the talent competition.
A singer’s costuming in the talent competition is one of the most important aspects of creating a cohesive, effective talentperformance. “We try to work the talent outfit around the whole song,” explains Robin Elliott-Bear, of Robin Elliott Ltd. She cites the example of a state finalist whose costuming helped create an aquatic mood for her performance of The Little Mermaid. “We did a sequin dress that was royal blue and turquoise and she looked like The Little Mermaid. She was a great actress with a pretty good voice — but her ‘total package’ made you feel like you were in the water with her while she sang.”
One of the secrets to selling opera is wearing a spectacular costume that gets — and keeps — judges’ attention.
Never sing classical music in a contemporary beaded gown. A singers performing a contemporary popular song should use costuming that is an extension of her pageant music.
- Rebecca King, Miss America 1974, set the mood for “If I Ruled the World” with a regal scarlet velvet gown encrusted with rhinestones.
- Leanza Cornett, an AIDS prevention advocate, used symbolism in her choice of attire. She performed the tearjerker, “A New Life,” clad in a pure white gown accented with a blood-red AIDS ribbon.
- Susan Powell, Miss America 1981 (Oklahoma), won the talent competition performing the comedic area, The Telephone, in a pastel blue gown trimmed with rhinestones and boa feathers.
- Kati Stam, Miss America 2009, wore a beautiful white gown with a full train that beautifully reflected for her vocal performance of Via Delarosa (The Road of Suffering of Jesus Christ).
- Laura Kaeppeler, Miss America 2012, wore an elegant red gown for her performance of the Italian aria Il Bacio in the talent competition.
- Kellye Cash, Miss America 1987, opted for a fitted black gown with sequin artwork across the shoulders and back when she sang the popular vocal, I’ll be Home.
- Vanessa Williams chose a perfect glittery silver sequin gown when she sang Happy Days Are Here Again during the talent competition.
- Carolyn Sapp, Miss America 1992, performed Ain’t Misbehavin’ in a stunning, sensual white and silver gown that was so pretty, we couldn’t take out eyes off her.
In each case, the singer’s costuming conveyed the theme of her music and created a specific mood onstage.
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