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Yes, Spotlight on Talent is still scheduled for 2021. Online registration will be available approximately December 1, 2020. The deadline for applications is January 28, 2021. This year because of Covid-19, we will only have the Finals on March 6, 2021. No Preliminaries this year. Our Board will be actively monitoring all local, state and CDC laws, rules and regulations for scheduling events and implementing social distance procedures. Any updates and changes will be posted to the Spotlight main page. Please check in periodically for any updates.
HACA doesn’t set the age/grade categories until after we have received all the applications and judges’ scores. This is because we want the age categories to be evenly distributed with about 9 or 10 in each category. Because applications vary each year, if we set them ahead of time we could have a category with only four contestants and another with 15. Generally, with a two Act program, the Matinee show at noon will be young students—probably up through middle school. The evening show at 7 p.m. will be high school students and possible some middle schoolers. We may have one combined group category, or it may split up between younger and older groups, determined by mean ages.
You will be judged on a total of 50 possible points. Forty (40) are for talent (how much “raw” talent you have for your age and how we you have developed that talent for your age. Five (5) are for stage presence (how relaxed and confident you appear on stage and how you connect with the judges/audience based on your age). Instrumentalists should acknowledge their audience before starting, dancers and singers should have audience eye contact/connection during their performance, and ALL performances should acknowledge their audience and applause afterward. Five (5) points are for appropriate appearance (this does NOT mean whether the judges think you are pretty or cute, nor is it how elaborate your costume, makeup or props are). This refers to the effort and thought that was put into your performance This refers to the effort and thought that was put into your attire. Does it detract from the performance? Yes, you should wear the same outfit for tryouts that you would wear for a performance in front of hundreds of people. Did you respect that performance enough to “dress up” for it? This would mean a different thing for a pianist than it would for a jazz dance. The preliminary judges sometimes will make suggestions for a change in your performance dress.
Solo Act Performances are limited to 3 minutes, Group Act Performances are limited to 5 minutes.
No, not in any way! Trends very from year to year, but we do not influence the judges. Each judging panel is equally divided between talent backgrounds. Also, judging panels are different from year to year.
The board discussed at length the focus participants should have towards perfecting their act, and we decided to change the maximum number of points in the categories to more reflect our thoughts on their importance. For 2011 and onward, the maximum points for talent are now 25, stage presence has been reduced to 3 points, and appropriate appearance has lowered to 2 points. We hope this will help to de-emphasize the implied importance of overly elaborate or expensive make-up, hair, costume, and/or props. We want to instead focus on the pure talent of the children who participate. In 2019 we had a bumper crop of preliminary competitors, so this revised scoring minimized the risk of multiple acts getting the same score and make it harder to make the finals cut. The producers changed the maximum score to 50 – 40 for Talent, 5 Stage Presence, and 5 Appropriate Appearance.
Primarily we wanted to give more students a chance to be a finalist and shine on the stage. We were having to cut such excellent performances to fit into one evening show. A side benefit is that each of the two shows will be shorter than the long, 4+ hour show. The reason Matinee is at 12:00 on the same day is to avoid having to rent this expensive hall an additional day.
Depending on the number of applications of solos and groups we receive, that will determine whether we continue with the two-show idea. In 2009 we had enough groups audition to split the group category into younger and older groups. That way the younger contestants can perform both their solo and group in one show, and then come back to enjoy the second show as an audience member. We hope to do that again in the future if group finalist numbers merit this.