Talent shows are popular events that range from an elementary school event all the way up to prime time television, with shows like American Idol. Talent shows can be a lot of fun in the right environment, but can easily become overly competitive and hurtful when the wrong wording is used. Those who put together talent shows should take into account what level of performer they are dealing with, and act accordingly. If you're putting together a show where the performers are not all professionals who are used to dealing with rejection, take some care in making sure your participants have a positive experience no matter how their act goes.
If you're putting on a non-competitive talent show, think about offering superlative awards to all participants. Recognize each act for something it brings to the table. Some acts may be easy to categorize. A brilliant hip-hop dance act might be awarded with "Smoothest Moves." Some acts may require more thought. Maybe a participant came up with a comedy act and it didn't yield the kind of laughs it intended. This participant might get an award for "Most Creative Act" or "Bravest Routine."
In many cases, judges comment on talent show performances. If you're dealing with inexperienced performers, keep the constructive criticism to a minimum. There is no need to tell a little girl who is singing publicly for the first time that she was "pitchy." On the other hand, judges might make helpful comments that do not make reference to talent- like, "You have a beautiful smile- I'd love to see you have even more fun up there!" It's always nice for people in talent shows to hear genuine praise- but be sure to be realistic. Encourage young or inexperienced performers, but don't set up unrealistic expectations. It's downright unfair to send off a tone-deaf singer telling them that they should pursue a professional career. However, it's acceptable and recommended to tell that singer that they did a nice job and you enjoyed their performance.
Skip the Talent
The term "Talent" in talent show can thwart some people from getting involved. To create a calm and supportive environment, opt for another word. A "Variety" show is a friendlier option and might even get participants to branch out and offer up a larger variety of acts. When people hear the word "talent" some think,"Oh, but I can't sing or dance," but a simple change of lingo can open up possibilities for people who'd like to get involved but have a less conventional skill.
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