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Topic: Magicians in talent shows
Message: Posted by: cafeinst (Nov 8, 2009 11:44AM)
I just was in a talent show at the government agency that I work for. I did a magic act in which I made my 3-year old son appear in a box, did the Tricky Turvy Bottles, Comedy Traffic Lights (with my other 3-year old son), and Doug Henning's Rubik's Cube solver with the Die Box (modified for a Rubik's cube). All of the tricks went off without a hitch.

I got great audience response. A few of the audience members told me I did great. But I didn't win the talent show. There were 9 acts, all of them singers except me, of varying levels of ability. But I didn't place in the top three. I'm wondering what I can do to win next year.

Also, I have read elsewhere that magicians don't tend to do well in talent shows. Is this because it puts judges on the spot - If they give the magicians a high score, it means that the judges were fooled by the magic, which some don't like to admit? Or is it that singing is just something that people are more impressed by than magic? A friend of mine told me a long time ago "anyone can do magic."
Message: Posted by: Payne (Nov 9, 2009 10:37AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-08 12:44, Caféinst wrote:

I got great audience response. A few of the audience members told me I did great. But I didn't win the talent show. There were 9 acts, all of them singers except me, of varying levels of ability. But I didn't place in the top three. I'm wondering what I can do to win next year.

[/quote]

Take up singing. Nine times out of ten a singer will win a talent show regaurdless of how good the magician is.
Message: Posted by: MichaelOzMagic (Nov 9, 2009 07:37PM)
I have been trying to do a talent show for the past three years! each year I havnt won. But the thing that keeps me going is that I get A LOT of publicity form the people in my area. Also I been in the same situation that you were in. That is that singers and dancers are your biggest problem. Judges mainly look at it this way, who will make them the most money. So that's the biggest thing. I look at as your here to entertain the audience. If you really want to have a better chance try a magic competion, that what I am about ready to try!!!! Just my veiw on things,
Michael
Message: Posted by: David Waldorf (Nov 10, 2009 10:31PM)
Caféinst,

Each situation, each performer, each judge is going to be different. Doing a magic act when everyone else is singing is intimidating (I know, because I have done it), but you may get extra points for being "original". Then again, if your act sticks out, it may be subject to harsher judging.

I think the biggest thing to remember is that the judges are human. However "judgmental" they may be, however ruthless in their criticisms, if they like your act, you are going to get a higher score. Obviously, if you flub the tricks you're fried; but if you have done your work in front of the mirror, so to speak, you shouldn't have to worry about that aspect. Instead, work on connecting with the judges, as well as the audience. I made a joke about the time limit they had imposed on me. I don't know if that helped me win or not, but I suppose I'll never know that.

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Nov 11, 2009 11:46AM)
How about combining singing, dancing and magic in one act?
Message: Posted by: ku7uk3 (Nov 11, 2009 06:03PM)
Combo acts that include singing, dancing and magic rarely go well. The Judges say you should specialize in one area and make it all it can be. They don't care if your great at all 3, and the act was fine, their opinion doesn't change.

And yes, Singers always beat magicians in talent shows. Judges see singing as a talent that you have to nurture and work with. While magic is seen as something you get in a set for your birthday as a child and your just showing of your latest toys. They don't see the skill in it, especially those tricks you listed above. There all tricks that you buy from a toy shop magic kit and perform as written in the instructions. To them it not a talent - its just showing of your purchases.

Magicians have won talent shows like the guy who won Sweden's Got Talent, but its very rare, and has to be all manipulative skillful stuff that takes time to master.

Steve
Message: Posted by: David Waldorf (Nov 13, 2009 10:45PM)
Steve,
I won a talent contest using a simple rope escape from Mark Wilson's book. That said, it was a small county-fair contest, with not much for prize money. And, I went on to state, and lost out to a banjo player.
Message: Posted by: magicjy (Dec 4, 2009 07:47AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-08 12:44, Caféinst wrote:
I just was in a talent show at the government agency that I work for. I did a magic act in which I made my 3-year old son appear in a box, did the Tricky Turvy Bottles, Comedy Traffic Lights (with my other 3-year old son), and Doug Henning's Rubik's Cube solver with the Die Box (modified for a Rubik's cube). All of the tricks went off without a hitch.

I got great audience response. A few of the audience members told me I did great. But I didn't win the talent show. There were 9 acts, all of them singers except me, of varying levels of ability. But I didn't place in the top three. I'm wondering what I can do to win next year.

Also, I have read elsewhere that magicians don't tend to do well in talent shows. Is this because it puts judges on the spot - If they give the magicians a high score, it means that the judges were fooled by the magic, which some don't like to admit? Or is it that singing is just something that people are more impressed by than magic? A friend of mine told me a long time ago "anyone can do magic."
[/quote]


I would ask the government agency that you work for the HIRE and PAY you for your act after all the other talent (singers) perform in the contest. Suggest they use your magic act so there is no dead time while the judges are counting up the scores.
Seems to me you are giving your talent to them for free an they are not being appreciated. Just an idea!

Joseph Young
Message: Posted by: keith2606 (Aug 13, 2013 10:16PM)
I joined a talent show before upon invitation from the local radio station and didn't win too. The judges have already someone in mind even before the finals. One of them said that himself. It tough cos there are children and old people doing dancing and singing and usually the singers will win. That's life.
Message: Posted by: lchan (Oct 8, 2013 12:20PM)
Singing is considered as a talent. Performing magic means to the layman judges that you have a strange hobby and the money to buy tricks from magic shops.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Oct 13, 2013 03:36PM)
I entered a talent contest called "The Bong Show" (a Virginia Beach night club take-off on "The Gong Show") where the three judges scored the contestants on a scale from 1 to 10. Most of the acts were singers and maybe a comic every now and then. After each performance, the contestant was told his/her score. I performed my dancing cane and card manipulation act. I got a combined perfect score of 30 from the three judges. But a singer a couple of acts later also got a perfect score. The audience was asked to choose between the two of us by a round of applause and the singer won. But I was happy that I did as well as I did with a crowd that was more interested in drinking and picking up a date than in watching a bunch of entertainers, most of whom were amateurs.

It helped that I did a silent act to disco music (this was in the late 70's). Other magicians had done talk comedy acts on previous nights and were "bonged" off the stage before they finished their acts, so I was happy that I held my own in front of a tough crowd.

Although Ichan may be right in saying judges might regard a magic act as "a strange hobby and the money to buy tricks from magic shops," the fact that I did manipulative type magic made it obvious that my tricks weren't bought from a magic shop.

Oh... and the singer who eventually won was a high school student named Juice Newton.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 9, 2014 09:20AM)
Years ago, I remember entering contest.

One time, the winner drank alcohol through a straw connected to a hat/container.


Other times, I have won or placed.

Harris
Message: Posted by: taiga (Feb 8, 2014 12:40PM)
I won a talent show when I was a student at university. Ther was singers, comedians, music bands, world beat musicians, opera singer, Blues guitarist, and some strange performers (one of them was walking around the stage and the room while telling a story about ''the hapiness never offer gifts to anyone'') The day before the contest we had a dress rehearsal and I had made my own choice of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and I wasn't in my list of potential winners. You should have heard the opera singer (a semi-pro by her own right!). I did a version of 'McDonald's aces' (with a spectator sitted beside me) and the 'portable hole' from D.Roth. I had a camera and a giant screen. The judges said that they founded really impressive the idea of 'special effect movies quality' of my live presentation.(That was 20 years ago, seems like yesterday!)It was a strange feeling to win against all those talented students. Nice memories!...
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Jul 22, 2014 05:55PM)
I just won one talent contest with an illusion act of 8 minutes. That was 10 years ago.

I agree to a few comments here, comparing singers to magicians. But here is my opinion how a magic act could win in talent show :

Be original ! Original in the props you use, the presentation, your caracter or stage stage persona and the music you use. You just need to watch the TV talent show. So many magicians don't get it to the final or don't win, because they mostly aren't original in one point of all mentioned aboved. The most commun point is, they're presenting illusions or tricks that have been seen already somewhere.

Be original in the material and the props you use. Get something new, never seen before and have it professionally build.

If it's a parlour or close up act. Find you're own way to present it in a new way. The only magician that has won the Talent TV show is Charlie Caper from Sweden. Why ? Watch his audition act : It's fresh and new even though he uses simple props ! BUT he had everything he needed to win : talent based mostly on skill, a never really seen before act, his own stage persona or caracter and a simple easy to follow script.

Otherwise I have to agree that as long as you have single singers competing against magicians, the singers will always win. Steve explains this very well in his post. One exception might be if there aren't single singers in the contest but only groupes, which was the fact in my case 10 years ago. In my humble opinion magician acts should only compete in theatrical artistic competitions with no singers or bands playing.

Just my humble opinion. ;)


Oliver.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Nov 21, 2014 06:35PM)
I have won a talent show against a great singer. It is possible. Comedy and responding to the audience is some of the key ingredients. I also was 2nd place as teenager locally held by a radio station. Again, comedy and a good audience participation trick was the reason I won over all those singers.

Caféinst, it may have been using your child instead of an audience member that overshined your performance. I would suggest you use audience members, on the spot. Were you playing to your child or to the audience. You have to bring your audience into your show. Your child was part of your show, so they may have felt left out. Your child is around you all the time, or the audience may have felt you coached them to react to your tricks.
Message: Posted by: Zlwin Chew (Mar 1, 2015 02:37PM)
Sing, dance, and do magic.

Just like Darren Romeo, The Voice of Magic!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 8, 2015 03:38AM)
ALSO! --Never follow a BANJO PLAYER!
Message: Posted by: ColtonRaelund (Feb 17, 2016 04:02PM)
I say that you have three judges; a Magician, a Singer and a Dancer (or a similar combo). THAT would be FAIR!
Message: Posted by: Anatole (May 23, 2016 02:10PM)
IBM Ring 103 held a contest/audition for choosing the three members from our Ring to be on the First Night Show of the national IBM convention in Norfolk back in 1984. Of the three judges for that selection process, one was a drama teacher, one was the entertainment editor for the local newspaper, and one was a member of our Ring. That made for two lay people and one magician. The three acts chosen by the judges were two comedy talk acts and one manipulation act. Those three magicians did a great job on the opening night show, which was recorded by Japan's NHK TV network for broadcast in Japan. Two of our three local performers on the first night show appeared on that special.

My main point is that we deliberately chose two lay judges because we wanted to know what types of acts lay people reacted to most favorably. The one magician judge had an insider's perspective of the performances that was important since a good portion of the audience that would be watching on the first night show would be members of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. All in all, the system we used worked out remarkably well in the final analysis.

I think an important factor of the two local acts that made it to the final cut for the Japan broadcast was that one was a silent act and the other had a comedy routine that was so visually striking that you didn't have to understand his English patter to enjoy and be mystified by his performance. (He did a cut and restore routine while at the same time doing the Bert Easley "Lean Illusion" while a lay audience volunteer was trying to cut a length of rope in two.)

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Oct 6, 2016 09:30AM)
Better that you enter simply doing the best you can and doing something you enjoy performing. The winning of such things when it comes to non singing acts is, to a big degree, largely arbitrary and at the whim and particular proclivities of who happens to be judging. You can't affect those things so just concentrate on the things you can affect. That would be, what you perform and how you perform it.

Oh and... Best of luck with it. :)
Message: Posted by: SKILL (Jul 19, 2017 10:00PM)
Find people that help you build the act, also Be original in the material you choose
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Jul 27, 2017 12:41PM)
Talent shows are different than magic contests. Do not prepare a talent show contest like you would a magic contest (ex: FISM, FFFF, TAOM, SAM, IBM, etc).
With Talent shows you are dealing with laypeople. They don't care. The 3 best things you can do for a lay contest is 1) wow them but don't be too technical about it, 2) get them to laugh, 3) Give them a story, be entertaining to watch.
I just recently won 2nd place at a county fair talent show by doing a small short sponge ball act followed by fiber optics. I had butterfingers and the rope slipped, and the method for fiber optics was exposed but no one noticed.

With laymen talent shows - you're going to stick out, There will be hundreds of musicians and singers. The odds are in your favor because judges like seeing something new.
Message: Posted by: Ubernutz (Aug 7, 2018 07:16PM)
Norvil incorporates singing into his routine, always an option :)