Miss New Jersey
As both a dancer and a musician, I have had a wide range of experiences. Whether practicing the piano at home or at a dance studio, I understand the hard work that goes into creating and nailing a talent routine. While we would like to have every performance be perfect, sometimes, life doesn’t go as we plan. What should you do when you mess up your routine or forget it halfway? From personal experience, I know exactly what it feels like—during one of my pageants I forgot my piano piece halfway through! Here is some of my advice for you, as to what to do when you perform if you mess up, or forget your routine.
Remember: You Are the Performer!
First and foremost, I think it’s important to realize that you are the only one who knows your routine. Even if it may be a popular song you are singing or playing, there are multiple different variations you could be playing—the judges don’t know which one you are executing! If you are playing/singing a piece, and you mess up, KEEP GOING. You are the performer!
You control the stage. Whether singing, playing an instrument, dancing or performing some type of routine, it’s vital to remember that no matter what, you are in control. If you accidentally do something wrong or different than what you have practiced, it’s OKAY. Just keep going. Smile bigger, work harder. If you have to spontaneously alter your routing a bit, do so. Recover as fast as possible and pick back up as soon as possible. If you must add extra steps, or a few extra notes, that is acceptable. Just do what you need to regain your composure.
Control Your Nerves
A second point I would like to make is about your nerves. It’s easy to let our nerves get to us, but, when we do, it can make the routine go even worse. When you make a mistake you have two options—let it get to you, or to mentally beat it. Before you go onstage to perform, remind yourself that you are ready (a self pep-talk never hurts!). Be mentally tough.
The moment you forget or mess up can be nerve wracking. Don’t beat yourself up if the routine doesn’t go as planned. Even the greatest performers in the world have their mishaps! If you maintain yourself internally, it will shine through externally, too. Thus, slow down and think. It will be okay.
Now that you’ve moved on after your mistake, it’s important to act like it never happened. If the performer doesn’t dwell on the mistake no one else will, either! Trust me. It’s not whether you perform perfectly or not, it’s how you handle yourself that counts. Judges want to see a competitor that can manage herself in any situation. They will completely forget the mistake if you do. Perform like you didn’t mess up, no matter how big the mistake, or smile like you meant to do it.
If you make an upset face or look panicked, the audience will pick up on it. I had a judge come up to me after my pageant and tell me that had I not looked panic-stricken, she’d have never known I was playing the wrong part of the song! I didn’t make my performance believable. Had I, I would have been scored much differently. Be bold and smile big like your life depended on it! Portray yourself as confident and nothing can stop you.
The first time I ever did a pageant with a talent competition, I completely failed the talent part. But, it wasn’t the fact that I failed. I made a resolution for the next time that no matter what, I wouldn’t allow myself to forget my routine. Mistakes will be made. Big deal. What is important is that you try again.
Don’t let one moment ruin the rest of your opportunity. Do another pageant or competition. Try harder and learn from the past. I can guarantee that you will not regret it. Let your mistakes be help you set goals and be an inspiration. Action is your best defense. Reward yourself with a second chance. Use the experience to revise your skills and to better prepare for any future competition. In pageantry, we want to be perfect. We practice hard and work endlessly, for our goals.
While this may seem like obvious advice, practice as much as possible in order to feel confident when you are onstage. It will be more beneficial than words can say. Do some breathing exercises before you walk onstage to help calm your nerves. If you make a mistake, recover as quickly as possible and act like nothing happened. Smile big, and give it your all! Most importantly, do not dwell on your mistakes and be ready to improvise. The best thing you can do is act with class and grace and keep doing your best!
Her tip is: "Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”Learn More