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What Makes a Winning Performance?

I like to think of a winning performance as "The Perfect Storm" of artistic mastery and audience love. For a vocalist competing, a winning performance is "The Perfect Storm" of:

1) Raw, God-given vocal talent;

2) Technical mastery of all elements of vocal performance (voice/acting/movement);

3) Life experience packaged into a clear and moving message communicated genuinely with passion and vulnerability;

4) The right "look" - or mastering the marketing and branding of the singer through costume/hair/make-up and the resulting look, effect, and "feel" of the singer;

5) The perfect song, which we have discussed is not only a great song but also perfect for the singer (usually difficult to perform) and which resonates with the audience, such that it is relevant and exhilarating; and finally

6) The "WOW" factor, sometimes also known as the "X Factor," or a surprising or awesome, sometimes mysterious, characteristic of a singer, which sometimes trumps or surpasses the other elements listed above, such that the audience is left dumb-founded by the performance.

A good example of a vocalist with "WOW" factor is America's Got Talent Courtney Hadwin, a seemingly shy, awkward, under-whelmingly presented 13-year-old girl, who absolutely transformed into a technical phenomenon with incredible amounts of soul and artistry the moment she opened her mouth. All you can do after watching her performance is say "Wow":

Here are 4 samples of winners of Dixie's Got Talent from our studio in all three categories, pop, musical theater, and classical crossover. Each one of these artists has elements of "The Perfect Storm" that resulted in judge and audience votes, which culminated in a win and accompanying scholarship money. Take a look at their performances below, and see what you think each vocalist brought to the table.

1) Payton Kemp (2013):

2) Miranda Wells (2014):

3) Ellie Felice Seegmiller (2015):

4) Marlie Root (2016): (begins at 11:30)

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