Performing for a competition is stressful to say the least. Choosing the right song/songs and sticking to an allotted amount of time can drive you nuts!
Many times artists will second guess themselves and sometimes even change their minds last minute on what songs to do right before they go on stage. I witnessed a train wreck like this at a competition I was helping judge.
This was a band that played the year before, so our panel was familiar with their sound and style. Their first couple of songs were ones they and the fans knew well, and got a good response from the crowd (which was one of the judging criteria). Then before their last song, we saw the lead singer saying something to the band and they then launched into a cover song that was very much not ‘them’ – in fact, opposite of who they were!
All of us judges looked at each other with that, ‘What the---??’ look on our faces, and scratched our heads at their bizarre choice. The audience was a bit stunned as well. Needless to say, it failed miserably, and when they didn’t place in the competition, we saw the tension explode among the band members after the event.
Point is, don’t be calling an audible last minute and do a song you’ve not prepared (and agreed on) in advance. You’ve also got to really think through and find out the factors for each competition. Will you have a ‘real’ audience or just judges? Is it a vocal competition or are they judging other parts of your show and performance? What are they looking for/scoring you on?
Temperance wrote in to us at onstagesuccess.com, asking about a competition in which she has 7 minutes to perform. She wants to do an audience participation thing and wondered if she should just take the whole time, break the song down, and involve the audience doing a sing-along part. In some cases I would say yes, because the MOMENTS are what you should be thinking about – NOT ‘how many songs I can do’. However, the song she chose has a very easy sing-along part which the audience will probably already be familiar with, so it shouldn’t add a lot of time to the performance. She may be able to do that AND another song, depending on the length.
On the other hand, if these judges are watching to see how well you relate to and engage the audience, it may be great to take some extra time talking to the crowd about the song over a vamp, then having them sing the part (repeat it after her), then having the band kick back in, and continue having the crowd sing with her on that part throughout the rest of the song. A lot depends on her skill at commanding the crowd, whether one song is a good enough showcase for what she wants the judges to hear, how long the other song is, etc.
This September at our 2-day Bootcamp, you’ll learn how to choose the right moments for your shows and competitions, and create a set list for different situations, - as well as a boat-load of other amazing stuff! Check it out; http://tinyurl.com/6s7wvv7