A talent show is an event where participants perform talents of singing, dancing, acrobatics, acting, drumming, martial arts, playing an instrument, or other activities to showcase skills. Many talent shows are performances rather than contests, but some are actual contests. In the instance of a contest, participants may be motivated to perform for a reward, trophy, or prize of some kind. For example, a high school might not have many students with any interest in performing in front of the student body for the sole purpose of performing alone and may offer different prizes as an incentive for these students to participate in the contest. 
In recent times, talent shows have become a notable genre of reality television, such as America's Got Talent, Idol, Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice and Rising Star, which have been critical in catapulting some amateur artists to stardom and resulting in their commercially successful careers.
Non-competitive talent shows for troubled youth
Talent shows can be seen as a way to help boost the self-esteem, confidence, and assurance of youth. Some communities and companies see talent shows as a way to help prevent juvenile delinquency among children, teens, and young adults. As a result, these communities create programs such as Girls Only! in San Diego to promote the growth of these otherwise trouble youth to better the community. Such programs are created with the hope to prevent youth from the possibilities of entering delinquency or lives of crime.
- Parke, Beverly N. (2003). Discovering Programs for Talent Development. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-0-7619-4613-7.
- Redden, Guy (2008). "Making Over the Talent Show". Exposing Lifestyle Television: The Big Reveal. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 129–144. ISBN 978-1-4094-9286-3.
- "Girls Only! Toolkit" (PDF). San Diego District Attorney's Office.
- "Girls Only! Toolkit". San Diego District Attorney's Office. Retrieved 15 December 2014.