Artist Promotion

How Talent Competitions Can Develop You as a Singer | Are Talent Shows Good or Bad?

Posted on

Many singers choose to enter a talent competition as a way of getting noticed in the industry or for exposure to a wider audience. They can be a strong way to develop as a singer and gain exposure to a far wider audience. But are talent shows good or bad? 

There are many ways in which talent shows can develop you as a singer, as a performer and even contribute to child development. Talent show prizes can be lucrative and offer fantastic opportunities with exposure to industry professionals. 

In this article, we take a look at singing competitions and the advantages and disadvantages of the talent show – including local, national and televised contests.  

How talent shows can develop you as a singer 

The talent competition 

Talent competitions have been around as far back as we can remember, in one form or another. They provide excellent entertainment and some good-natured competition. But not everyone is a fan and many people – especially parents whose kids want to take part – worry that entering could be damaging, disappointing or scary.  

Are talent shows good or bad? 

So what is the truth behind talent competitions? Are talent shows good or bad for your career, your development and mental health? 

The benefits of entering a UK talent show are actually extensive. But the potential advantages do depend on what shows you’re entering, what your objectives are and how you approach it.  

Here are some benefits of entering a talent show, and how doing so could help develop you as a singer or musician – and maybe even land that big break you’ve been waiting and hoping for. 

The benefits of entering a UK talent show

How talent shows can help artists develop

Here are some benefits of entering a talent show, and how it could help develop you as a singer or musician.

#1 Gain performance experience at local talent competitions 

If you want a chance to sing in public, but aren’t ready to book in professional gigs – or don’t have the contacts to do so, a local talent competition is an ideal way to perform before an audience and have some fun in the process.  

Singing competitions near me in 2019 | What is a singing competition? 

Singers can use talent shows as a way of gaining more experience in the music industry and performing on stage. Without any experience it’s difficult for a singer to gauge which songs work well for an audience and which don’t.

Performance experience is an invaluable skill to have as a singer as it can often be a way of getting recognised by a wider audience. Talent shows help to gain experience due to the volume of people you’re potentially performing for.

#2 Receive constructive feedback from singing talent show’s UK judges

One of the strongest ways to develop as a singer is to know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong; this is where talent shows can be really useful. During the process of a talent show, singers are given expert feedback on how the performance went. This is invaluable to your development and ongoing success.  

While at first, it can feel a bit challenging to hear, singers can use this feedback to work on their performance and their vocals. And that can make all the difference to future performances. It’s wise to take this feedback on board as the judges will have a great deal of experience and knowledge in the industry. They know what they’re talking about and are trying to help you get better, not catch you out and criticise. 

#3 Win local talent show’s prizes for career development

But it’s not just the taking part that counts – it’s the winning too. At least it is if you want to make some money and land a recording contract. Many talent show finals are high profile, at top venues. These kinds of shows attract talent scouts, as well as agents and labels, searching for talent to sign and promote.  

You’ll need to get through some local heats first though, as competition at the final stages gets tough. So work hard on rehearsing and preparing. Hire a vocal coach to help you perfect your song/s, record yourself to watch back and get as much feedback and experience as you can before you enter.  

Singing auditions UK – Finding a talent show near me  

To help you find one near to you here are some details of top national and local talent shows with regional heats. These don’t include televised talent shows which we’ll cover later in the article.  

More places to keep an eye out for local talent shows include Gumtree, local newspapers, The List, Time Out, social media and Star Now  

Talent shows near me | Singing auditions London 2019 

Londoners – and those close to the capital – will find more opportunities on the doorstep, with talent shows cropping up all over. Here are some for you to look out for: 

Check Facebook and Twitter frequently for potential shows in your area too.  

Objectives of a singing competition

Lucy Spraggan at open mic uk

#4 Open doors to opportunities and connections 

What are the objectives of a singing competition? Well, organisers want to discover new talent to sign and provide enjoyable shows for those audiences watching. The objectives for artists include gaining experience singing, as well as the exposure, opportunities and connections that come from these kinds of platforms. It’s also fun and challenging.   

 When acts get to the level that they really impress they will then start to be asked to perform at other gigs and events, which are great opportunities for further exposure. Lucy Spraggan, for example, was asked by several festivals to perform as a result of her Open Mic UK show performances. She no doubt has thanked her lucky stars for these life-changing opportunities.

#5 Build your fanbase at singing competitions in 2019

Performing well and impressing within a talent show will help build your fan base. Audience members will take your details and find you on the internet; so make sure you are easy to find on the internet! 

How can I show my talent for singing? 

Getting seen and heard is the hardest part of becoming a professional artist. As well as entering contests, why not set up your own YouTube channel, Spotify and SoundCloud account to promote your work? Book a professional recording session so you sound your best. 

Perform at gigs as much as you can too and publicise it everywhere you can. You may be spotted online or live, so you need to cover both of these bases fully. You could also try and get an agent or manager, as well as sending your material to labels and A&R.   

#6 Gain valuable industry exposure 

Open Mic UK winners 

A talent show is often a chance for industry professionals to see you performing and hear your voice. Talent shows are becoming more and more popular, people running the shows have had the opportunity to invite industry professionals to judge for the shows. 

It may only take an A&R from a record label to see a singer perform to want to learn more about them. Sometimes all it takes is the right person to attend a singing competition or talent show to give you the opportunity to become a success in the music industry. 

Open Mic UK 2019 winner 

Open Mic puts on local talent shows in cities all around the UK. Each years we hold auditions at our talent competitions where you can get the opportunity to progress to the grand final in London, being judged by industry professionals along the way. 

The winner of this year’s contest will receive a fantastic cash prize and a package to further their music career. 

Find fame with singing talent shows on TV  

For a lucky few, appearing on a TV talent show can grant career wishes and provide fame and fortune. As this appears most appealing, these shows receive an over-subscription of entries from aspiring stars. It’s true that you can get your big break with one of these. But there are some significant disadvantages of televised contests, which we’ll go into shortly.  

If you are planning to apply for a TV talent shows, which ones are there and how do you go about it?  

Talent shows on TV | TV talent shows list  

All the TV talent shows will have application forms and details on their websites. Here are the ones currently available to you.  

There have been and will be others including shows like Stars in Their Eyes, Popstars, I’d Do Anything and Over The Rainbow. These aren’t just pop-based – Andrew Lloyd Webber periodically sets one up to find a new ‘star’ for a West End musical theatre production. This, in turn, gives great publicity to the show. Audiences feel invested in the choice of singer/actor and flock to see it when it opens in London.  

It’s all about the marketing but does also enable unknown singers to achieve the dizzy heights of stardom very fast.  

Be aware of the truth about talent shows and TV talent shows 

So now for the bad news. TV talent shows are not just about finding hot new talent. In fact, they’re actually far more focused on creating watchable telly and getting ratings, than the acts themselves. Because of this, there’s a lot of staging, pre-planning and rigging that goes on. It’s driven by marketing, PR and media hype.  

The producers will have ultimate control of what you sing, do, wear and even how well you do. This can be contrived and impact the flow of talent into the music industry – as well as giving the wider music world a bad name. Having a story to tell alongside your act will help you get air time. Be aware that it’s not just about your talent. If you have a gimmick or stand out as different and surprising, you may stand a better chance in this arena. 

Pros and cons of reality TV 

Taking part in a reality TV show (and this includes TV talent shows), can be very bad for your mental health. If you fail, you do so very publicly and are criticised in front of a nation in a format that can be played back over and over. Even if you do well you will be scrutinised, trolled on social media and your personal life will end up in the press. You may also disappear from the media as soon as the ‘next big thing’ arrives on the scene. Working in television is a hard and cut-throat world.  

However, it is arguably the quickest route to fame and fortune and will open many doors. So use it to your advantage and grow a very thick skin. Singers like Stacey Solomon and Rylan Clark-Neal have diversified into highly paid, high profile wonderful careers as TV personalities and presenters, as a direct result of taking part in a TV singing contest.  

Reality shows and TV talent contests can act as a real-life, modern-day fairy godmother to many. But it helps to know what you’re getting into ahead of time.  

School talent show opportunities 

School Talent show opportunities 

Talent shows are on a wide spectrum – from the big, hit shows, to the very opposite: small local competitions in schools and community halls. Don’t underestimate the value of these latter contests. They can be a great stepping stone, grow kids’ confidence and enable them to go onto bigger things.  

Children’s singing competitions UK 2019 

Children often flourish in a competitive environment and it helps prepare them for adult life, where competition is everywhere, especially in the workplace. Here you can foster a healthy and fun attitude to competing. 

Taking part in any musical activities is excellent for babies, kids and young people. Find out more about the effects of talent shows and competitions on children and their cognitive development in this article:


Talent shows ideas 

If there isn’t any talent shows available in your area, why not stage your own? You could do this in the form of an open-mic style night with judges and a prize, a variety talent show, a lip-sync battle, or singer impressions night – you’ll have to supply your own dry ice though! 

Advantages and disadvantages of talent shows 

While there are advantages and disadvantages of talent shows – local, national, international and televised, it does seem clear that there are more positives than negatives. Whether you want to take your music career further or not, entering competitions can develop you as a person, provide lasting memories and a sense of achievement.  

If you would like to find out more about our UK talent shows, or find “talent competitions near me”, visit our auditions page to see when the next dates and venues are announced. Now you know how talent shows can develop you as a singer, why not enter one today?! 

Related questions

What was the first talent show on TV?

UK talent shows have been on TV for many years. Series such Opportunity Knocks which first televised in 1956, then New Faces in the 1970s.

But in terms of singing talent competitions as we know them in their format today, the originator is probably the Popstars TV show that launched in New Zealand in 1999.

That was the precursor for the format that has proven to be so popular over the last 20 years, now seen in shows such as The X Factor, American Idol, and Britain’s Got Talent.

Why are talent shows so popular?

Talent shows are hugely popular, both for the entrants and viewers. If we’re talking about UK talent shows on TV, there are a few reasons they consistently get such high viewing figures.

For example, they let viewers imagine themselves on stage.

When we watch singing shows, we get to imagine ourselves on stage. The viewing public can often see themselves mirrored in the people striving to be successful, thinking “I could possibly do that”.

Also, many people dream of what it could be like to be a famous singing star. The shows are popular as they give exposure to ordinary people who otherwise might not get an opportunity like this.

But it’s not just talent competitions on TV where you can get this experience. Local talent shows such as the ones we organise at Open Mic are another route into a possible singing career.

What talent competitions are near me?

As well as our national auditions (click here to see cities and dates), you can also hone your skills at open mic nights.

Many of the singers and musicians you see taking part in talent shows have honed their craft and performance at local open mic nights.

For more information about open mic nights, here’s an article on how they work, and also details on whether you can sing covers songs legally

Do you think talent shows can develop you as a singer? Are they good or bad – and have you been a contestant on a TV talent show? We’d love to know about your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.