They Stole Our Act
It's the big night for a given musical group, usually a show choir. Everyone in the group is feeling great, and ready to perform a routine or set that they've practiced to perfection, only to find out that they're going last, and the performers set to go before them are performing the same routine. The group now faces the problem of figuring out how to make their performance original in the precious little time that they have before their turn on stage.
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- The choir of Sister Act 2 finds that they're sharing "Joyful, Joyful" with the choir that has gone before them.
- Bring It On. A high school cheerleading team is humiliated at Regionals when the team performing before them uses their routine. Turns out that the guy who taught them the routine had been peddling it to many different schools.
- Happens in A Mighty Wind. Throughout the film we see The Folksmen practicing a song called "Never Did No Wanderin'," but on the day of the concert, the first group to go on, The New Mainstreet Singers, perform it, forcing The Folksmen to pick a different song to open with.
Live Action TV
- In one episode of Jeeves and Wooster, Jeeves sabotages Tuppy Glossop's act by arranging it so that all the performers before him sing "Sonny Boy", the song he plans on singing.
- Glee: New Directions faces this problem during sectionals, when their set list is leaked to the other school's glee clubs.
- Happens again, when Will and Bryan Ryan realize they're doing the same song to audition for a performance of Les MisÚrables. The solution? They are forced to sing it as a duet.
- Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas : The eponymous jug band discovers that a guy going before them in the talent show sings the old favorite "Barbeque", which they had planned to sing. Fortunately they have time to go out in the alley and work up a new number.
- In the episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin learns piano, this happens to him at the end-of-year recital.
- Slight variation of this done on the TV show version of ''The Ten Things I Hate About You." Bianca and Chastity find out ahead of time that they are doing the same song, and Bianca has to do a song switch. After Chastity's Auto-Tune breaks during the show, she and Bianca agree to sing the original song together.
- This happened in an episode of Drake & Josh. After a chorus stole and performed Drake's song, Drake and Josh instead perform Soul Man from The Blues Brothers.
- On an episode of Are You Being Served?, the gang rehearses a skit they're going to do for Young Mr. Grace's birthday, only to find out the cabaret that was hired are going to do the same skit. They instead redo what they did the previous year.
Manga and Anime
- Skip Beat!: Moko and Kyoko have worked out a great routine for their audition, and... The Libby has stolen it from them. They change the skit on the fly and pass the audition.
- Also, Fuwa Sho deals with this problem when a band comes out of nowhere and blatantly plagiarizes his already-published work. then his soon-to-be-published work as well
- The Simpsons: In the tryouts of a kid Idol show, Lisa's original song was 'Hush Little Baby', but the girl ahead of her sung it really well. Homer makes up a song about Springfield on the spot for her and she gets into the show.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Bloo plans a hiccup act for a talent show, but his rival Blake Superior uses the same act, only with burping. This leads to a burp-hiccup competition between the two that Bloo wins. Neither of them, however, win the talent show; they are beaten by a friend who plays his armpits.
- Adventure Time episode "Five Short Graybles" has LSP about to perform "These Lumps" on the talent show until a group of candy people started singing it.
- The Doug episode "Doug's No Dummy" had Doug work up a ventriliquism act (after Roger entered him in the school talent show), only to see Chalky Studebaker perform a similar act with two dummies.
- According to Joseph Simmons (Reverend Run of Run-DMC) in his autobiography, LL Cool J was stealing their stage raps and other parts of their performance during the 1986 Together Forever tour (consisting of Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J) and using them during his slot as the opening act. LL was kicked off the tour for it.
- There's an old joke that uses this trope. Two novice preachers will be giving sermons sequentially at a gathering. The one who'll speak first overhears the other preacher practicing. Realizing the second preacher's sermon is superior to his own, he steals it. The first preacher delivers the (stolen) sermon to thunderous applause. The second preacher starts with, "That was the finest sermon I have ever heard. Since I cannot improve upon it, I will instead repeat it word for word." He does so and wins undying fame.