What is the deadline to apply to Spotlight? 

The new Spotlight application will open on May 22, 2021. Applications are accepted until the October 22, 2021 extended deadline. Your application and uploaded video for each category you want to apply to must be submitted by the October deadline. We are not able to receive applications after this deadline.

What are the eligibility requirements? 

You must be a Southern California high school student who attends a public, private, online or home school, completing high school curriculum. Your home base must be in one of these counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, San Diego, Riverside or San Bernardino.*

* Dance students who will be attending a dance program away from home and outside of Southern California during the Spotlight year and whose parent(s) still live in Southern California may participate in Spotlight as long as they attend auditions, rehearsal and final performance if advancing to Grand Prize Finalist. Proof of study will be required from dance program. You may not be an apprentice or member of a professional dance company and participate in Spotlight.

Important requirements:

  • Previous grand prize finalists are not eligible
  • Previous participants, Merit, Semifinalists and Honorable Mention awardees are eligible
  • You can apply to more than one category; however you will only be allowed to advance to finals ​in one, determined by which category you advance to the finals first
  • You must participate in final rehearsals and performance if you become a Grand Prize Finalist.

There are seven categories for students to apply in: Acting, Non-Classical Voice, Classical Voice, Dance, Ballet, Jazz Instrumental and Classical Instrumental.

How do I apply?

In order to apply to Spotlight, you must complete an online application and submit a video audition. There are no fees to apply to Spotlight. The process is easy and can be done online.

Do I have to submit my audition video as soon as I apply?

No, you are able to start an application and complete it at a later date. The information you have entered will be saved and your application will be available to you until you complete the submission process. Please submit a video that has been recorded sometime between November 2020 - October 2021. Just make sure your application is complete and submitted by October 18, 2021.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to Spotlight?

No, permanent residents and international students who are studying in the U.S. are also eligible to apply.  Students must meet the eligibility guidelines listed above. For International Students: The award may be subject to 30% federal tax withholding, depending on the student's circumstances. 

Can I apply in more than one discipline?

Students may submit in more than one category, however not within a discipline.  In other words, Spotlight has seven categories in which students can apply.  Students can apply to as many categories as they want.  For example, If you play an instrument in both jazz and classical, dance contemporary and ballet, sing musical theater and opera, as well as act, then apply to all seven categories!!! We’d love to see you!!  The exception is that students cannot apply more than once to a category: e.g. if a student plays both flute and piano, they must choose which instrument they will play within the Jazz or Classical Instrumental category. They can however apply with flute to Jazz Instrumental and piano in Classical Instrumental. Please refer to the category guidelines for details and if you have any questions, just email us at spotlight@musiccenter.org

Spotlight Judges

Spotlight judges come from both the academic and professional worlds and bring an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise with them, which they share in student feedback letters and live auditions.  Click on the category for the list of Spotlight Preliminary and Semi-final Judges from last year.

Spotlight Preliminary Judges - 2021:

Spotlight Semifinal Judges - 2021:

How will my work be judged?

Your video and/or live audition will be judged on technical and artistic merit by expert panels of judges.  Each panel consists of nationally and internationally distinguished teachers and artists within each of our seven categories.  Detailed written feedback will be provided for students at every level of participation.

Questions?  spotlight@musiccenter.org