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Karaoke Contest

Sakura-Con Idol 2024  

Sakura-Con’s 2024 Karaoke Contest is a two-part karaoke idol contest. You must have a badge to attend Sakura-Con on both Friday and Saturday to participate in this contest.

Please read all of the rules carefully before signing up as they have changed significantly.

For tips to get you ready for the contest, watch this short video: Karaoke Contest Tips

To view our SongBook, visit this page: Karaoke SongBook

When you are ready to enter, you can apply to compete here: Karaoke Contest

  1. Rules & General Information
  2. Eligibility
  3. Song Selections and Format
  4. Judging
  5. Contest Categories & Awards
  6. Karaoke Code of Conduct & Behavior
  1. Rules & General Information

Who wants to be Sakura-Con’s Karaoke Idol? This is a two-part contest with a preliminary round on Friday and a finalist round on Saturday.

The preliminary round will have room for 40 acts to compete. Of those acts, 10 will be selected to compete in the finalist round.

Sign-ups for the karaoke idol contest will be online this year on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please check the Sakura-Con Website regularly for the online contest registration form. It should be available January 2024.

In the event of a no-show or canceled act, we will have a waiting list available in the karaoke room. Please speak with the Karaoke Coordinator. The list fills up rather quickly so be prepared! A karaoke performer may only appear on stage once in allowance for an opportunity for more variety of performers.

You must specify the songs you are going to sing when you sign up for the contest. You may change your songs freely up until you check in for the contest, but you must specify something when you sign up. Once you have checked in at the convention and handed over your music, you are committed to your song selection. See the song section regarding the types of songs allowed for the contest. If you sign up for the same song as a previously entered contestant, the coordinator will contact you about changing your song. This is to ensure fair competition.

All registered contestants must check in at least 30 minutes before the contest to confirm their appearance. Contestants who fail to check in will lose their spot in the contest. Once the contest starts, the MC will only call the names of those who have checked in. For check-in, you will need your Sakura-Con badge and the music you will be using in the contest, which must be on a CD, an MP3 player (iPod, Zune, etc.), or in our music library.

The use of backup dancers in the karaoke contest is not permitted. Special effects and use of stage props must be approved by the Karaoke Coordinator and are by prior arrangement only.

For more information and sign-up info, please contact the karaoke coordinator or check the Sakura-Con Karaoke Message Board Forum.

  1. Eligibility

The contest is open to all registered convention members/attendees. You must have a valid Sakura-Con Membership/Attendee badge to attend the convention on Friday AND Saturday. If you are unable to attend the convention on both days you are immediately disqualified to participate in the contest. There is no additional cost to register for the contest.

Group performances are encouraged to sign up for the contest but are limited to 3 members due to stage size and availability of microphones. A person can sign up as a solo act or a group act, but not both. This allows for a wider variety of performers and gives others a chance to participate.

Sakura-Con Staff and Crew, Guests of Honor, and Industry members (if you have a legal music contract) are not eligible to win prizes in the contest, however, are allowed to perform during intermission at finals. Please check with the coordinator for arrangements.

NOTE: Previous IDOL award winners will NOT be qualified for the Idol category for the following 3 years after their win. HOWEVER, they ARE qualified for any of the other categories listed.

  1. Song Selections and Format

Song Selection

-Songs must be from the following categories: Anime, Japanese Video games, Japanese Drama or Soap themes, J-pop, J-rock, J-rap, J-R&B, or Japanese folk.

-English or other non-Japanese songs from the dubbed version of an anime series or video game are acceptable. (For example, the German theme to Sailor Moon, or songs from Robotech). We do not allow fan-translated lyrics to be used in this contest. Only official dubs.

NOTE: If you sing in English, 3 points will be taken off your lyric score due to low difficulty.

-As this is a contest for an anime convention, your song must be from one of the categories mentioned above. For purposes of this rule, image songs (songs that aren’t necessarily used in the anime, but are on the soundtrack) are okay. Songs from the live-action version of an anime (for example, the live-action Sailor Moon) are also acceptable for purposes of fulfilling this requirement.

TWO (2) songs are needed to participate in this contest: A preliminary round song and a song for the finalist round. The preliminary round song must be at most 2 minutes and 30 seconds (2:30) long from the start through the end of chorus 1. The song for the finalist round must be no more than 5 minutes long.

NOTE: If your preliminary song was edited by YOU to fit the specified time limit, PLEASE LET THE STAFF KNOW BEFORE YOUR PERFORMANCE.

You can sing the same song for the preliminary and final rounds as long as you create a short version track for the preliminary round. Singing the same song will not lower your chances of winning the contest.

Songs longer than specified will fade out when the limit is reached. If the contestant wishes a song to fade out early, he/she must indicate so to the Karaoke staff by placing the microphone back on the stand and bowing to the audience, or something similar so we know to stop the track.

INSTRUMENTAL VERSIONS ONLY. This is a karaoke contest. We want to hear you, not the original singer. The services of making any vocal track to a somewhat near karaoke track are available online or ask members in the Sakura-Con Forums.

Song Formats

-Contestants are allowed and encouraged to bring a CD of their own to sing along with. If you do not have a CD with which to sing, please contact the Karaoke Coordinator to make sure they have the appropriate song before the contest.

-Contestants who provide their own music must provide it in a format readable on an audio CD or MP3 player.

-Mp3 players are permitted, however, check with karaoke staff before the contest to see if it can be accommodated. We do not allow LPs, cassette tapes, laser disks, VHS or 8-track formats.

-Contestants may choose songs from our open mic library if they cannot provide their own music. However, this is at the contestant’s own risk. We are not responsible if the song sounds different from what the contestant was expecting, and we do not guarantee the availability of any particular song.

-Please check with the karaoke coordinator before the contest to see if your song is available in their library.

-Contestants may not sing a cappella style. You will be immediately disqualified.

NO LIP-SYNCING! If it is determined that you are lip-syncing, then you will be disqualified from the contest.

-Singing with a lyric sheet is ok, but will lower your score with the judges.

-If a contestant would like to play an instrument for their act in the contest, please check with the karaoke coordinator before signing up for the contest. It is important to see if set-up can be accommodated due to time restraints during the contest. Acoustic guitars are easy to set up, however, a keyboard or electric drum set could take up time and may not be possible.

  1. Judging

Contestants will be assigned a numerical score from 1-5 by each judge based on vocal/singing performance, lyric memorization/pronunciation, stage presence/presentation, and extra/wow factor. 20 total points. The scores from each judge are then tallied and averaged to come up with a total score for the contestant. The winners will be determined by the total sum of their scores and how their performance appealed to the judges. Judges will make the final decision on winners in case of a tie.

All decisions made by the judges are final.

  1. Contest Categories and Awards

The winner categories for the contest are listed below. All contestants will be judged and could win in any of the following categories:


Sakura-Con’s Karaoke Idol (Best in Show for Vocals and Presentation)

Special Winners:

Best Stage Presentation

Guest of Honor’s Choice


The grand prize winner will receive a complimentary membership for Sakura-Con 2025!

All winners of the competition receive Petal Points certificates to be used to buy items at the Sakura-Con prize store. Awards will be given to the above winners as a significant number of points. The number of points won for each winner category will be announced as we approach the date of the convention. In addition, winners will receive a plaque or medal for the category they win.

  1. Conduct

As a family-oriented convention for anime fans of all ages, Sakura-Con has certain standards of behavior that all convention attendees should abide by at all times. For more information, please refer to the convention’s Policies, and Rules of Conduct for the Sakura-Con Convention Period.

The following rules are in addition to the Sakura-Con code of conduct that applies to all attendees:

  • All aspects of the act, including, but not limited to: costume, conduct on stage, and song lyrics, are to abide by no worse than a “PG-13” standard. If you’re in doubt as to whether something is suitable, just ask yourself, “Would you do this in front of your mother?” If you’re still in doubt, please email or post and tell us what you have in mind, and we’ll work something out.
  • If any violations of this policy occur, Karaoke staff reserves the right to disqualify offenders from the contest or terminate the act in mid-song. In extreme cases, offenders may also be subject to convention penalties including loss of badge and removal from the convention.
  • During the contest, no interaction with the MC is allowed. Contestants may not touch or approach the judges’ table. Contestants may not go into the audience or use an audience member in their act. Actions that encourage general audience participation as a whole (such as asking the crowd to clap) are okay.
  • The only persons allowed in the performing area are the MC, Sakura-Con staff, judges, and contestants. Friends, relatives, fans, mascots, managers, agents, and any other persons or beings not performing in the contest are not allowed on stage.


All rules for the Sakura-Con Karaoke Contest are subject to change without notice. While we attempt to keep you up to date of any changes via the Sakura-Con website, these changes may occur at any time.

For ALL questions, suggestions, issues, and/or requests for confirmation regarding the Sakura-Con 2024 Karaoke Contest, please contact the Karaoke Coordinator at karaoke@sakuracon.org.

Thank you for your interest, we look forward to a great show this year!

Dulce Breazile (Moonlight),

Sakura-Con 2024

Karaoke Coordinator