A Pokémon Contest is a competition where Pokémon Coordinators enter in. In the anime, Pokémon Contests are held in many cities and towns of a region while in games they are more rare. These contests are held in buildings known as Contest Halls. The idea behind this type of competition is about captivating your Pokémon's style. Winners of a contest receive a honorary ribbon or in Kalos, A Princess Key. After Coordinators collect five ribbons of a region, they are allowed to enter the region's Grand Festival.
Pokémon Contests are only referred as such in Pokémon games: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald, while in Pokémon games: Diamond and Pearl, they are referred to as Pokémon Super Contests, and in Pokémon games: Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, they are referred to as Pokémon Contest Spectaculars. There are five appeal-type categories where Pokémon moves fall under in these competitions. Those being: Beauty (referred to as Beautiful in Contest Spectaculars), Cool, Cute, Smart (referred to as Clever in Contest Spectaculars) and Tough. Each move has their own effect, which comes down to upping the user's appealing score or effecting other Pokémon. This could be done by using the move normally or using a move at certain time or position in line. These five categories not only go with moves, but also sections within the contests, which each have four ranks which will ultimately determine the difficulty of the competition. Those ranks include: Normal, Super, Hyper and Master, all of which a trainer must enter and complete to move on from easiest rank to hardest rank.
Generations III and VI
In this round, the judges base a trainer's Pokémon by their condition. The condition of a Pokémon falls under the same five appeal-type categories as their moves. PokéBlocks are used as a source to up one or more of a Pokémon's conditions. Depending on one of the contest types picked, it will reflect upon a specific appeal-type category for their Pokémon's condition, which means it'd best to base the choice on the contest type off of the condition best working for the chosen Pokémon.
In this part of the competition, there are four turns to have a trainer's Pokémon perform a move to impress the judges. These moves are reflected by the contest section trainers enter in. For example, if entering in the "Beauty Contest", then its best to use "beauty-type" moves.
In this round, Pokémon are judged by their condition (in a similar manner to how PokéBlocks were used, poffins are used here for upping the condition(s) of a Pokémon) and how well dressed they were based on the contest type picked.
In this round, each Pokémon have to make up dance steps (up, down, left, or right) and the other Pokémon have to follow them. The lead Pokémon has to make up a step within the certain bar time, with the total amount of steps being four. Based on the actions of a Pokémon leading and following, will decide its score.
These rounds work the same as the move rounds in Generations III and VI.
In the anime
Contests can held under a Single Performance or Double Performance rule. The Judges are usually Raoul Contesta, Mr. Sukizo and Nurse Joy. There is also an announcer who introduces the contestants and comments during the battles.
The first round involves the Coordinator's Pokémon demonstrating its moves in an appealing manner. During the appeal, the judges score the Coordinator. Those with the highest scores proceed to the next round. The amount of people varies for every Contest.
In the second round, the Coordinators battle with others to beat each other and get rated by the judges to see how graceful the Pokémon did. The battle ends when the five minutes pass and the Coordinator that has the least of the circle loses. And before the time ends, if the circle is out before the five minutes is up the one with the circle out first loses. In addition, if a Coordinator's Pokémon get knocked out/are unable to battle then victory goes to the Coordinator whose Pokémon haven't been knocked out.
Upon registering for a contest, this card is given to a Coordinator as a means to of official evidence of their entry.
Ball Capsules and Pokémon Seals
In games, these items are given to Coordinators alongside their Contest Pass after registering, while in the anime, these items have to be bought. Ball Capsules are purple, see through, ball-shaped items used as a medium for Pokémon Seals to operate. After applying a seal to a Ball Capsule, you would put the Ball Capsule around the Poké Ball. With this appliance, when a Coordinator releases their Pokémon, special effects specific on the seal will emit from around the Pokémon to make for a showy entrance.
In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, you are able to dress up a Pikachu, given to you, for a contest.