Pop This category is for chart style top 40 popular music. It includes slower pop ballads, as well as up-tempo pop songs. This is the most commercial of all the categories and it is for songs with mass (often younger) audience appeal.
Singer / Songwriter This is the category for performers who are also songwriters. Songs can be in any style or genre. The only rule is that the songwriter sings their own song. Important: in this category the vocal performance is judged together with the songwriting as a complete package. This is the only category where the vocals are also judged, in all other categories vocals are not judged.
Instrumental All styles and forms and genres of instrumental music are welcome in this category. Classical, rock, acoustic, electric, theme music, film music, jingles or mood music, songs without lyrics, or improvisational pieces – there are no limits. Any type of instrumentation is welcome – eg a single acoustic instrument, electronic, multiple instruments, all keyboards based, live band/ensemble performances etc.
Folk/Americana All folk songs including traditional folk, regional styles, world folk styles, modern folk, easy listening folk/acoustic styles.
Rock All types and styles of rock including alternative rock and indie music. Past entries have included classic sixties and seventies rock, Indie and Alternative, Grunge, Heavy Metal, Rock Ballads, BritPop, modern contemporary rock and pop/rock crossover. Contestants in this category include bands as well as solo songwriters.
Country This popular category is for Country music only and it has seen some outstanding entries in many different country styles in past years. The Country category includes all the many different styles and variations of country music and includes traditional country, ballads, foot stompers and pop crossovers.
Christian/Inspirational All songs with a religious or faith theme including gospel, Christian, praise, worship etc. All musical styles are welcome in this category – traditional, modern and alternative, pop, rap, choral, soul, rock etc etc. Christmas carols may be entered in this category.
Jazz / Blues All styles are welcome, from ballads and big band, to experimental and modern. The category is suitable for all types of jazz from traditional to contemporary jazz based easy listening, experimental jazz, or heavily jazz influenced rock band styles (eg Steely Dan). You may also enter instrumental jazz pieces in this category. Blues entries can be hard core blues, or light acoustic blues, traditional, retro, latin influenced blues, raw basic blues, complex songs or simple 12 bars. Instrumentals are also welcome in this category.
Adult/Contemporary Adult contemporary tends to have lush, soothing and highly polished qualities where emphasis on melody and harmonies is accentuated. The format is heavy on romantic sentimental ballads which tend to use mostly acoustic instruments.