As A Professional Judge, I Have 12 Tips for You

This year I've had the opportunity to go with Evangeline on a few theater competition trips and I also got to judge some of the rounds. I loved it. I swear I was in my element. Ask Evangeline, she will tell you how there is not a talent show, choir concert, play, dance recital, that I don't spend the entire time critiquing and also singing the praises of some of the participants.

One time while at one of Evangeline's school choir concerts, I wrote notes about each performance beside their names on the program.

I am Simon Cowell and I'm OK with that.

Except my hair looks good.

And since I played a judge in the movie Pitch Perfect I'm obviously more than qualified to offer my advise.

So young thespians, singers, dancers, all people who display their talents publicly, I have some tips for you when you perform in talent shows, plays, whatever, from me, a real professional judge ;-)

I'm giving you these tips for free so, you're welcome.


12. DON'T BE BORING

Like Simon I get bored easily, even with good performers because, well, even great singers and actors can be boring. If you bore me, you lose me, I don't care how great you are. Boring kills great talent because boring is boring. Don't be boring.


11. SLOW SONGS USUALLY SUCK

I know, you're in love or you were in love and now you're sad, you want to express your pain, you feel it and you just know you can make the audience feel it and love it, but you're wrong...most likely because you're not Celine or Adelle, I know, I know, you sing as good as her right? Wrong, and it doesn't matter, you are at a high school talent show, HIGH SCHOOL your friends and the punks in the audience who earned extra credit by going there, don't care if you think you sound like Adelle, they want to be entertained and you are boring them.

All talent shows should have a two slow song limit.


10. DANCE ALONE 

I don't hate dance troops or even dance duos if they are exceptional but I personally like a strong individual dancer because hey, that's ballsy. You're up there alone, your kickin it hard and there's not some less then stellar other guy dancing with you distracting the judges. I respect anyone who will dance alone.


9. ACT OR GET OFF THE STAGE

I went to a play once and the main actor was either stoned or asleep or maybe just chicken S#*%! I was so mad at that kid! Everyone else was killing themselves, getting into their roles, becoming the characters, but the lead, who I know is talented, acted as if he was reading straight from the script. It was awful. If you are gonna get up there and stay you, don't even bother. As an actor your job is to know your lines so well that you become the character, that's it, do it!


8. PROJECT AND ARTICULATE

If we can't hear you, we can't hear you, if we can't understand you, we can't understand you.  It's that simple. You're wasting every one's time, including yours, if you don't project your voice and articulate your words.



7. DON'T BE NERVOUS

Simon one time told a contestant on American Idol, "you only need to be nervous if you have nothing to offer." and I loved that! I know everyone gets nervous but we shouldn't see them, we should see the talent, which, if allowed, will take over the nerves in a few seconds.


6. TREAT EVERY PERFORMANCE LIKE YOUR LAST

That stupid saying "YOLO" is true, this is it, we could all die tomorrow, give it all you got like it's your last song, word, dance, character.


5.  STAND UP STRAIGHT

I swear I spend so many hours a day telling Evangeline and her friend Cheramie to put their shoulders back and stand up straight! It matters. It conveys confidence, it makes you look taller and thinner and helps you articulate and project your voice. DO IT! ALWAYS! You'll thank me one day.


4. MOVE

Don't sit, your not in a coffee shop or a living room. Move about the stage, dance, especially if you're singing a fast song, you gotta move. Choreograph your routine, plan your moves. Use your face and arms, whatever you have to do other then standing there still. That's boring.


3. CONNECT WITH THE JUDGES

Judges have preferences, some know the contestants, which isn't fair but it's a reality in high school talent shows, so you have to make a special connection with them if you don't have that advantage. Look them in the eye, sing to them, dance with or around them, don't kiss up or over do it but do it.


2. PRACTICE

Hard work is what separates successful, talented people from unsuccessful talented people. Care deeply, be passionate, screw all the phonies who make fun of you, let them eat your dust don't let anyone steel your thunder. Dreams are worthless without action, without work, so.. "work! Work it girl!"



AND the most important thing you can ever do as a performer...


1. LISTEN TO AND WATCH YOURSELF

Now this right here is the one thing that most performers hate to do. It's painful most of the time. Watching that video and hearing yourself sing off key for an entire song could possibly be too much to endure BUT listen to me, you must do it! It's the only way you can see and hear where you need to improve, and that is why you have to do it. You're young, you're perfecting your craft, you wanna succeed right? Then you got to watch and listen to yourself so you will know what needs work.

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