Otafest’s best vocalists fight for the top position in the spotlight! Formerly known as “Otafest Idol”, contestants dazzle the audience and judges with their best voice to discover if they truly have that Ota Factor.

E-mail factor@otafest.com if you have any questions or need help finding an instrumental for your song!

Ota Factor

General Information

  • Contestants will perform up to two (2) songs, one for the preliminaries and one for the finals.
  • Performers may choose to perform only one song with no penalty to their final score.
  • Performers who choose to perform two songs will not receive a bonus.
  • During preliminaries, participants will perform the first two minutes of their song (roughly the first few verses and chorus).
    • For songs with long intros, participants may opt to skip ahead, closer to when the lyrics start.
  • The entire song must be performed for the finals.
  • There will be 25 preliminary contestants. The remainder of applicants will be added to a wait list.
  • If there are any no-shows, the wait-listed participants may have a chance to perform.


  1. Songs must be either in Japanese or related to anime/manga/Japanese video games (for example, the English theme to Sailor Moon is acceptable).
  2. Songs must be no shorter than two minutes, and no longer than six minutes.
  3. Please choose three songs for the preliminary round and three for the finals, in order of preference. Songs are first-come, first-served, so if your first choice has been claimed by someone else, you will have to pick from your second and third choices.
  4. Tracks that have had the vocals removed with an editing program are not allowed. Fan-made instrumentals will be allowed with consent of the coordinator, but please submit your instrumental ahead in advance for evaluation.
    • Please submit the highest-quality file you can find (320 kbps is ideal)!
  5. Singing without music (a cappella) is not allowed.
  6. Lyrics sheets are allowed, but they are the participants’ responsibility. Lyrics will not be provided at the event.
  7. Group entries are not permitted.


Vocals will make up 50% of the performer’s final score. Judges will be looking for whether or not the performer stayed on key, the strength of the vocals, control, and how well the vocals fit the song (for example, does the performer’s voice sound like it’s straining to hit notes).

Performance and/or Audience Interaction will make up the remaining 50%. Scoring in this category will be based on the type of song; for example, an upbeat song with lots of energy will have the Performance aspect weighted more heavily than the Audience Interaction aspect, while a slower, softer song might have the opposite. Judges will be looking for whether or not the performance was appropriate for the song, and whether or not Audience Interaction was attempted/achieved (again, depending on the song).


Applications are closed.

At this time, we have made the very difficult decision to postpone Otafest until May 21-23, 2021. Please see our official announcement here.