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Strangestar Idol – Rules & Info

Below are our 2017 Strangestar Idol Rules. We will update the 2018 rules when received.

2017 Rules

Contest Rules | Audition Round | Final Round | Judging & Prizes

What is Strangestar Idol?

Strangestar Idol is a new breed of karaoke competition coming soon to a convention near you! This singing competition allows fans of Anime, Manga, videogames, J-rock/pop, nerd culture, and other media covered by San Japan to perform songs from their favourite fandoms in front of a live audience and professional judging panel!

As a community, we aim to:

a) promote a safe, supportive environment free from judgement or harsh critique (unless requested);

b) give convention attendees a place where they can come and taste the limelight in front of an enthusiastic crowd;

and c) foster talent within the nerd community and help them grow as musicians and performers via coaching opportunities (if desired) and knowledge.

For San Japan Strangestar Idol 2017 Pre-Registration Sigunup please go to



Contest Rules

1) In order to compete in Strangestar Idol, you must hold a valid badge in YOUR name for San Japan
2017, and be a registered attendee at the convention. The badge must be valid for any day(s) the competition is being held on.

2) There is no extra fee to compete Strangestar Idol; anyone with a valid convention San Japan 2017 badge in their name may enter for free providing they audition.

3) Entrants must be at least 12 years of age to enter the competition. Proof of age may be requested and must be presented at the discretion of the San Japan and Strangestar Idol staff.

4) Songs performed must be referenced in some form of media/fandom that San Japan celebrates. Acceptable sources would be Vocaloid tracks, anime theme or ending songs, television or movie themes, nerd- or fandom-themed funny parody versions of songs, and video game songs. This year, we are NOT allowing other genres of music (such as Top 40) that are not parodied, but are restricting the entries to forms of media covered by the convention. Please have a back-up song ready if you are not certain your first choice will be allowed. Songs may be performed in any language in this competition, however we put a lot of emphasis on performing a Japanese or English song.

5) Backing tracks are the responsibility of the entrant – NOT the hosts, and we will NOT have any way to get your music for you! Backing tracks must have no vocals or backing vocals on them whatsoever, and consist solely of musical instrumentation. Try searching YouTube if you are having trouble finding an instrumental backing track. If contestants wish to sing a capella (without music) or use a guitar/ukulele, they may do so – however, please be advised that we may have to manually/physically mic’ up your instrument on-stage in the event that we do not have outputs or jacks for electric-acoustic instruments.

6) Cosplay is allowed and encouraged at this event! Make sure you look your best for the judges – they will be taking the effort you put into your appearance into account!

7) As this is an ameteur competition, no professional vocalists, performers or voice actors may compete in Strangestar Idol. A “professional performer” is one who receives monetary income for his or her vocal or performing talents. If you enter the competition and are found to be a professional performer, any titles/places awarded will be stripped and you will be disqualified from the contest.

8) Backing tracks MUST be presented to Strangestar Idol staff on the day of the event on a USB stick or flash drive with your STAGE NAME written on it. We ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT accept music on any other medium (CDs, iPods, etc). Also, so you don’t end up frozen on stage while we search for the song, please try to make sure it’s the ONLY file on the USB stick so we can find it easily, or make sure it’s the only file in a folder named STRANGESTAR IDOL. I cannot stress this enough: PLEASE ensure you have your music on a USB stick or flash drive with your stage name written clearly on it, or you will be unable to perform in the contest.

9) You may perform as a solo act or a group. The maximum people allowed in a group is THREE due to the amount of microphones available. Please note that ALL members of the group must be available for ALL rounds of the contest, or the group will be disqualified. The same goes for solo performers – if you cannot make the Audition Round or send in an Audition tape, we cannot allow you to proceed to the Final Round.

10) Please be advised that, at Strangestar Idol, we DO NOT turn over judging sheets to the contestants at the end of the competition. This is because, in order to allow our Judges to feel as comfortable as possible when judging (which is a very difficult job to do), we want them to be allowed to make quick notes or remarks that may be taken a different way than intended out of context. However, because we understand that some performers take notes from these sheets to improve themselves, we will offer every contestant the chance to receive a bit of feedback e-mailed to them within the week following the contest.

Audition Round

This year, the Audition Round will be a little different to previous years. The biggest difference will be that we are allowing AUDITION TAPES to be sent to us via e-mail so that you don’t have to come out to the scheduled physical Audition Round if you don’t want to! We are hoping to speed up the auditions this way, as well as make sure you can enjoy as much of the convention as possible rather than being stuck in auditions for two hours.

Those who are proceeding to the Final Round will be e-mailed between 10 PM and 1 AM on Saturday September 2nd 2017. Please ensure the e-mail you sign up with is checked during this time.


Sending in an Audition Tape is the kindest thing you can do for your Strangestar Idol staff, and the least stressful thing you can do for yourself! If you are able to, we strongly recommend sending in an Audition Tape instead of attending the actual Audition Round.

  • Audition Tapes for the San Japan Strangestar Idol 2017 will be accepted anytime between Thursday August 31st 2017 (10am Central Time) and Saturday September 2nd 2017 (10pm Central Time) .
  • The best way to send us your Audition Tape is to upload it to YouTube (either as an Unlisted or Public video) and to e-mail us a direct link to it.
  • You can record your Audition Tape AT ANY TIME during the year, and keep it ready to send to us during this time.
  • The video can be shot in any quality as long as we can a) hear your voice relatively decently, and b) physically see you performing.
  • Remember to check out the JUDGING & PRIZES section below to see what we will be judging your Audition Tape performance on. To ensure you are able to impress the judges with your stage presence, we recommend setting up the camera or smartphone on a tripod, stand, or pile of books (I do that a lot, seriously), or use your webcam, and record your performance so that we can see most of your body in the room.
  • For the Audition Round, we require each contestant to perform one verse and one chorus (or about a minute of their chosen song), not the song in its entirety. If you record the entire song, that’s fine, but please be aware that we will only listen to the first portion for the Audition Round.
  • Please be aware that your chosen song CANNOT change between the Audition Round and the Final Round, so whatever song you choose, make sure it’s one you’ll want to perform at Finals if you get through!
  • We will be releasing a short video on How To Audition for Strangestar Idol in summer 2017, so keep an eye out for that!


If you aren’t comfortable sending in an Audition Tape, or you just enjoy the atmosphere of the Audition Round, you can show up for actual auditions at the convention.

  • The time and location of the Audition Round for the official San Japan Strangestar Idol 2017 can be found in your physical copy of the schedule, as well as on the official San Japan Guidebook smartphone app.
  • The Audition Round will only last ONE HOUR, and no longer. Those who sign up for the Audition Round online in advance (this means AT ANY TIME before the Audition Round starts) will be given priority when it comes to audition slots. We strongly recommend that, even if you only find out about the Idol on the morning of auditions, you quickly sign up online to avoid being disappointed at the Audition Round. We MAY allow walk-ins depending on time, but if we are as busy as we have been in previous rounds we won’t be able to.
  • Come prepared, ready to give your music in and perform your audition. We want to make
    sure we have time to get through as many people as possible.
  • Auditions will be held in a panel room. Contestants are encouraged to bring a friend or two for moral support, but this isn’t mandatory!
  • For the Audition Round, we require each contestant to perform one verse and one chorus (or about a minute of their chosen song), not the song in its entirety. The sound tech will fade the sound after the end of the first chorus.
  • Please be aware that your chosen song CANNOT change between the Audition Round and the Final Round, so whatever song you choose, make sure it’s one you’ll want to perform at Finals if you get through!
  • We request that all contestants and audience members remain very quiet and respectful during other people’s auditions. Any heckling or mocking of contestants will NOT be tolerated in any fashion. Support each other – that’s what great Idol shows are all about!

Final Round

This is it – so bring your Final Form! This is where we open the doors to the convention and allow them to see the incredible vocal and performance talent that San Japan has to offer!

  • The time and location of the Final Round for the official San Japan Strangestar Idol 2017 can be found in your physical copy of the schedule, as well as on the official San Japan Guidebook smartphone app. Contestants who are performing in the Final Round MUST arrive FIFTEEN MINUTES EARLY.
  • Contestants MUST perform the same song they performed for the Audition Round.
  • Contestants will be expected/allowed to perform their song in its entirety, not just the first part. Each contestant will have up to FOUR (4) MINUTES to perform; after that, music may be faded or dimmed if we are running short of time. This will be discussed with you beforehand if your performance exceeds four minutes.
  • Make sure you bring your own backing music – we cannot stress this enough! No backing music on a thumb drive or USB stick labeled with your performance name, NO PERFORMANCE.
  • We will have up to three handheld microphones available for you to use and should be able to directly plug any electric-acoustic instruments into the soundboard. If we are unable to accommodate this, we will need to physically/manually mic’ your instrument.
  • This stage of the competition will be open to an audience, and therefore we encourage you to bring your friends to come and support you. Remember that Crowd Response will be part of the Judging process, so having people there to cheer for you will help!
  • HAVE FUN! This is the most important rule and part of any Idol contest – have fun, support your fellow contestants, and make it another incredible year to remember!

Judging & Prizing

The Judges will be scoring each of the entrants out of ten on four different categories:

  • VOCAL ABILITY: How honed your vocal chops are, as well as whether or not you sing with emotion. Make it believable, get into the song you’re performing!
  • STAGE PRESENCE: Don’t be a statue. Move around, use the entire stage area, and make eye-contact with your audience. It’s about the show, not just the sound!
  • APPEARANCE: How great you look on-stage, whether you bothered to dress up or just threw on a pair of tattered jeans and an old tee-shirt. Look your best!
  • CROWD RESPONSE: How well did the crowd react to what you were doing? Did they love you or check their phones? Keep them enthralled to score big points here!

Winners will be selected based on scores out of forty for the following placings:


Trophies will be given out at the finale of the Strangestar Idol Final Round event, so make sure you stick around to the very end of the performances!


1) During the contest, entrants must remain ON THE STAGE at all times. Although we encourage you to use the space provided and move around, due to technical issues with feedbacking and sound difficulties, we do not allow any entrants to leave the stage during their performance.

2) Please keep the songs family-friendly. Any swearing or overly lewd/sexual behaviour on-stage will result in immediate disqualification.

3) We request that each contestant please come to the Judge’s table at the end of the Final Round in order to claim their USB sticks. If you do not, we will not be able to meet you afterwards and will give any remaining USB sticks we have in our possession to the convention’s Lost & Found.

4) All decisions made by the Judges are final and non-negotiable.

5) Trophies and any other prizing is provided by the convention itself, so please take a moment to thank them for their generous support of this Idol contest and for giving us all a safe, supportive space to perform at San Japan 2017!

For any questions you may have regarding the rules and regulations, please contact kieran(at)

To pre-register yourself for San Japan Idol 2017, please visit this form:

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