Talent Show Rules & Regulations

Boy playing trumpet on a stage.
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Talent shows are events where performers display a particular skill or talent to an audience. Often held in schools and sponsored by the school or a community group or organization, these shows can be structured as competitions in which a panel of judges or the audience evaluate the performers, or can simply be forums for members of a community to strut their stuff. Rules can vary, but there are some regulations that are common to most of these events.

1 Performers Must Be Part of a Particular Group

Generally, entrance into a talent show is limited to a select group of participants belonging to a specific community. For example, entrance into a school talent show is usually limited to members of the school, while a teen talent show is limited to teens and a town talent show is limited to residents of the town.

2 One Entry Per Performer

Most talent shows allow performers to perform only once, unless the show is competition with more than one round.

3 Safe and Family-Friendly

Most talent shows require that acts be family-friendly -- no profanity, sex, nudity or violence is allowed. They must also be safe, as most talent shows forbid acts that involve fire or in which the performers risk injury.

4 Time Limit

Nearly all talent shows have a time limit for acts. The limit varies by show but most require that an act run no longer than five minutes.

5 Acts Provide Their Own Props

Performers are generally required to provide their own props. For singers and dancers, this can mean their own instrumental accompaniment, while acrobats and contortionists are required to provide their own mats. Sometimes, a talent show may permit a family member to provide accompaniment for a performer.

6 Performers Must Attend a Rehearsal

All performers are usually required to attend a rehearsal. This allows judges a chance to preview the acts and to help identify potential problems or rule violations before the actual show.

7 Final Decisions

Those putting on a talent show generally reserve the right to cancel or restrict a particular performance, even if the performance does not violate a rule. The decisions made by judges or the show’s management in setting rules or evaluating a performance are usually considered final and are not subject to complaint or alteration.

Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.