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Inept Talent Show Contestant

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A character or a collection of characters decide, ill-advisedly, to enter a song contest or talent show (in a Britcom, usually the Eurovision Song Contest or a ripoff thereof) despite the fact that Alice can't sing, Bob can't write songs and Charlie can't play the ukulele. He, she, or they will either:

  1. Fail to win, in the most excruciating and humiliating way imaginable or
  2. Appear to fail to win in the most excruciating and humiliating way imaginable, and then come in first place.

If there's a whole series of these, it's a variant of Terrible Interviewees Montage. See also Hopeless Auditionees.

Please stick to in-universe examples for this page.


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    Comic Books 

    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Puppet Show" the Scooby gang is coerced into performing in the school talent show. The original airing featured them on stage stiffly reciting their scene over the closing credits. This was replaced in syndication by standard credits and theme music but restored for the DVD release.
  • The Carol Burnett Show: Carol Burnett, as her "Eunice" character, has a spot on The Gong Show and is so convinced that her singing talent will be her ticket away from her family that she does a lot of bridge-burning before the show. Bad idea.
  • Father Ted did this with Ted and Dougal entering Eurosong (a Bland Name Eurovision) with "My Lovely Horse". Notably, while they personally wanted to win, they were chosen specifically to lose the contest for Ireland, which was tired of hosting it.
  • The entire premise of The Gong Show. Nominally a Game Show and talent search, the show gave amateur performers of all types a chance to show off their stuff and had one basic rule: Don't Suck. Even that was too much to ask of some contestants.
  • In the "Hype Pressure" episode of The Goodies, Graeme and Bill form a folk duo called 'the Twofolk'. They appear on Tim's cruel talent show 'New Faeces' and perform a hideous song called "The World Is Full of Women and Men". Despite being booed by the audience, they are a hit with the supposedly unscrupulous panelists, who admire the song's naïveté and purity. Tim's "theatre of cruelty" series is cancelled as a result.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: The winning entry from Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest is a nonsensical ditty called "Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong".
  • In Scrubs, the Janitor told Elliot he was part of an a capella band, and that it was the best employee band in the hospital. This angered Ted's band who challenged him to a showdown. The result was that Elliot said they were both really good.
  • Utopia (2014): Every single entrant in 'NBA's Got Talent' in "Blue Sky Thinking". Highlights include a dance act whose smoke machine sets of the fire alarm, a white accountant attempting to do gangsta rap, and Ash's truly inept magic act, where he fails to guess Tony's card multiple times.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WWE will occasionally have "talent competitions" that specifically play to a babyface's strengths. Always, the heel will wind up fitting this trope.
    • John Cena vs. the Big Show in a rap battle.
    • Stacy Keibler vs. Molly Holly in a dance-off.
    • R-Truth & Eve Torres vs. Ted DiBiase Jr. & Maryse in a "song and dance" competition.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Remember "Elektronik Supersonik," one of the Internet's first Viral Videos from the pre-YouTube era? What you might not know is that it was a tie-in with an entire Borat-esque mythos about the fictional Ruritanian nation of Molvanîa, and was, In-Universe, the country's entry in the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest. Or that they also made a follow-up entry in 2005, "I Am the Anti-Pope."
  • Nightmare Time: Linda sabotages the competition, getting rid of everyone she considers a threat. The few contestants that are left are those who she deems too inept to win, such as Ashley Robins, whose juggling routine ends up with a number of her bowling pins on the ground.

    Western Animation  
  • The Beetlejuice episode "Stage Fright" has Claire Brewster sabotaging Lydia's tryout in a school production of "Romeo and Juliet". Claire gets the Juliet role, which Beetlejuice uses to take over her body and make a ruckus of the play. Miss Shannon, the school's teacher, is aghast but the school's headmaster loved it.
  • Done in an episode of The Fairly Oddparents, where Timmy's homemade, crappy film is recognized as a great comedy (though it wasn't intended as such).
  • In Family Guy, Peter and Lois formed a hippie-esque folk duo, A Handful of Peter, when they were younger and decide to revive it for a talent show. The problem being that that they get stoned out of their minds because they don't think they're creative without it. At the talent show they perform a song called "In God's Eyes We Are All Hot", but afterward we learn that they lost, and we see that their actual performance was nothing but atonal screaming.
  • Ron Stoppable in Kim Possible's talent show episode showcases a lot of unusual if not low quality talents, especially compared to Bonnie's amazing ballet but somehow wins.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoon "Hamateur Night" (1939) presents a series of talent acts that are judged off stage—bad acts are discharged with the judge striking a boxing ring bell. Egghead keeps interrupting the proceedings with an ear-bleeding rendition of "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain." When it's time to judge the winner, Egghead wins. That's because the audience was filled with Egghead lookalikes.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Show Stoppers", the Cutie Mark Crusaders enter a talent show hoping to find their cutie marks. Their performance is a complete disaster, to the point that the set literally collapses around them. They end up winning first prize... for best comedy act. They take absolutely no insult and are delighted that they won.
  • In Rex the Runt, the gang enter Stinky Basil's "Search for a Star" contest. Predictably, most of acts are dire, from an Elvis Impersonator making fart noises with his armpit, to a bespectacled dog singing "Kumbayah" while bashing his partner on the head with a tin tray.
  • In The Simpsons one of Homer's lifelong dreams was to be on The Gong Show, which he did with Barney in 1977. Their act was so bad that they got more gongs than "the breakdancing robot that caught on fire".

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