Many pageants are now requiring contestants to perform a talent on stage as part of the judging process. This often worries some girls if they can't figure out their talent. I promise, even if you think you aren't talented, you have the talent in you. You just have to dig down and find it. (Read: Pageant Talent: The Complete Guide)
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There are many different forms of dance for a contestant to choose from. Just to name a few, there's lyrical dance, ballet (especially en pointe), jazz, acrobatic, interpretive, hip hop, and twirling. When picking which type of dance you want to focus on, look and see what type of message you want to tell the judges. Are you trying to tell them about a more visual side of your platform? Or would you rather like to show the judges how down to earth and fun you can be? Either is a great choice, but picking the best option is always up to you.
I highly recommend starting at a dance studio before making your own routine. A lot of judges know many dance techniques, and how some things are supposed to look. Even if you watch videos online of how to dance, going to a professional will make sure you are performing correctly and make sure you know what you need to work on.
Photo: Beyond the See Photography
Many girls choose a vocal talent. But if you've never had feedback from someone who has experience singing onstage or coaching someone before, look into it before jumping into vocal. Working on your voice every day and vocalizing can really improve your voice. Your voice is your instrument, and if you don't tune it, take care of it, and practice with it, it will never improve.
What you also want to think about is what type of song you should sing. Can you belt ballads? Are you a theater junkie? Want to be a country star? Your voice is unique and you should know what type of music you sing well before picking the right talent, let alone talent music. Look at some videos on YouTube on how to warm up your voice before singing, too. Remember, practice makes perfect.
I have known many girls who have played instruments all their lives, but pick a different talent to perform onstage. Playing an instrument for talent is a wonderful gift. If you have grown up playing the violin, piano, guitar, french horn, or even the bongos, you can use that for your talent. But if you have never played and instrument before and want to for your talent, don't worry! Something I always tell girls I coach when they want to play an instrument, learn a song on that instrument, just one song.
Practice it everyday until it is perfect.
Then play it at your pageant and no one will ever know you've never played before. You never know, you may discover you are a fast learner in the process and pick up other songs faster a long the way. It all starts with baby steps. As with singing, it's important to find someone who can teach you to play your song properly, because many judges are instrumentally gifted and will evaluate your technique. You don't have to learn a hundred songs on the instrument you want to play before you perform with it. Just pick a song you think would be good for talent and something you would enjoy playing and really give it your all. You are the only person who can make it outstanding.
I have seen many girls win titles while doing monologues. A lot of girls think that this is the last chance talent, but really monologues are great ideas. In the amount of time given, you get to portray someone in a scene or skit or musical you've seen before. This is a time for you to be someone you've always wanted to be and show the judges you are very versatile. Monologues range from comedy to dramatic scenes, so it all depends on what you're trying to portray. I once saw a girl perform a skit by Lucile Ball and it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
It's always good to make the judges laugh. But some girls like to bring the waterworks, but that also gets the job done too. Another form of monologue I have noticed to become popular is a stand up comedy routine. I recently saw when a girl at Miss West Virginia's Outstanding Teen perform a stand up comedy routine. She made up the routine on her own, based on former routines she has seen before. And she had the crowd rolling in the aisles. So whether it be drama, comedy, or even add some puppetry with it, monologues are always a good idea to bring out the actress (or comedian) in you.
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One of my favorite things to see is girls raising the bar and performing two different talents at once. There's singing and dancing, dancing and playing an instrument, singing and playing an instrument, and so much more. This is a way to make yourself look very skilled, but sometimes doing two things at once can hurt you, so be sure to perfect both talents by themselves before throwing them both together.
By performing two talents at once, you can also work up your stamina. You already have to be in shape, why not go a little further so when you're doing a series tumbling pass, then belting out a song, you don't sound winded or out of breath. But like I said, always be careful when putting two talents together. It could either really help you, or really hurt you. Just be sure to practice, practice, practice!
I have see girls perform CPR, paint, and give many different expository speeches as their talent before and have done well. In 1955, a Miss America contestant taught the audience how to properly pack a suitcase. When in doubt, think of Miss Congeniality. She was playing water glasses, but when her talent was all sipped up by the other contestants, she turned to teaching self defense. Although in the movie it was hilarious and cute, this is something you could really use as a talent.
Say your platform is domestic violence, your talent could show the judges how to defend themselves if ever in the needed situation. What's important is you have all you want to teach in the designated time memorized and perfected. If you choose to show the judges how to perform CPR, spice it up a little and tell them how one of the easiest ways how to know the speed when beginning CPR is to sing the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees in your head. This is your time to show the judges you aren't just beautiful but also very talented in whatever aspect you choose.
Be unique. I once competed at a pageant when a girl chose archery as her talent. It was awesome! Granted you may have to talk to the director to see if you are allowed perform that as your talent, but it never hurts to ask. If you see something on TV you would like to try, try it. I know several girls who tried aerial silks after seeing Pink perform and they love it (it's also really great exercise). Always look for feedback from other people when you're picking a talent. Whether it be friends, family, or a pageant coach, they will tell you the truth if your talent is pageant perfect. When I asked Miss West Virginia 2012 Kaitlin Gates what she would say to a pageant girl looking for a talent to pursue she said, "I always trusted the input of vocal coaches, especially those who are familiar with the industry, and then I chose a song I felt comfortable with.
It's also very important a contestant can relate to their song or their talent in general too. When the natural emotion and feelings start coming through during her performance, that's when you know it's real." Your talent is the time to reflect you in powerful way. It can show how athletic you are, how wonderful you sound, and how gifted you are, not only with beauty, but with brains. Talent is also so much fun. You get to be free and let out the special part of you that no one else can be. Never worry about anybody else, because your biggest competitor will always be you.
Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart. Photo: Sylvart