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Appealing is a term used to describe the presentation of a move in front of a judge or panel of judges in a Pokémon Contest. Across the two generations of games in which it has appeared, appealing varies greatly. In the anime, however, it is the same in all Contests seen so far.
In the games
In the Hoenn region Contests, there are five rounds of appealing, while in the Sinnoh region Super Contests, there are four. In both competitions, Coordinators have their Pokémon performing one move in each round in order to impress the Judges and the audience.
Every move that a Pokémon can learn is categorized under one of the five Contest categories and adds Appeal Points to a Pokémon's score in a Contest. The table on the right shows the Appeal Points and other Contest properties of the move Ice Beam.
In Hoenn, Pokémon take turns appealing in the secondary judging. They are able to affect the performances of each other. Effects on other Pokémon include reducing their number of hearts, making them nervous, and so forth.
Move combinations score extra hearts. Moves that are of the same category as the Contest the user is competing in may excite the audience, and if the audience becomes extremely excited, the Pokémon scores extra hearts.
Internally, each heart is worth 10 points in the appeal score for a Pokémon.
In the first round, the turn order is determined by how well each Pokémon did in the primary judging. In the rounds after the first, they are ordered from who won the most hearts to the least in the preceding round, unless one of the appealers' moves changes or randomizes the order.
Statuses induced by Contest moves
If a move a Pokémon uses makes it "settle down just a bit", indicated by a circle icon, it prevents one jamming from another Pokémon's move; after a single jam occurs and is prevented or the round is over, the Pokémon loses this protection.
If a move a Pokémon uses makes it "become oblivious to others", indicated by a circle icon, it prevents the user from being jammed at all during the entire round.
If a move a Pokémon uses tries to jam another Pokémon, the user or the other Pokémon are indicated with either a swirly spiral icon or an ear icon.
If a Pokémon becomes nervous due to another Pokémon's move, it is indicated by two tildes on top of each other, a bit like an "approximately equals" sign.
If a move a Pokémon used in the previous round renders it unable to appeal in the current round, it is indicated by an "X" icon.
Stars may be earned in an appeal as marks of "good condition", and may be received from the Judge as a result of an earlier-used move. They add one more heart to the appeal.
When the Judge has a question mark over his head, each Pokémon is indicated with the text "NEXT TURN: ?". When this happens, the turn order for the next round is scrambled.
When the Judge has a number 1 or 4 over his head while watching a Pokémon's appeal, the performing Pokémon is indicated with the text "NEXT TURN: X", where X is the number over the Judge's head. When this happens, the Pokémon becomes first or last in the turn order of the next round, depending on the value of X. If another Pokémon uses a similar appeal and also moves to the beginning or ending, the Pokémon that appealed first will move to the next turn, and "NEXT TURN: X" will change accordingly.
When the Judge has a swirly spiral over his head while watching a Pokémon's appeal, the performing Pokémon has repeated the move it used last turn. The first time a move is repeated, the Pokémon loses two hearts. The second time, it loses three hearts, and so on. There are a few moves to which this rule doesn't apply, such as Hidden Power. To prevent this from happening accidentally, the name of the move used in the previous round is gray when selecting a move to appeal with.
When the Judge has a single exclamation point over his head while watching a Pokémon's appeal, the performing Pokémon is indicated by a flashing red dot, and a combo is possible with the move just used. If the Pokémon knows a move it can perform a combo with, its name will be red when selecting a move to appeal with.
When the Judge has a double exclamation point over his head while watching a Pokémon's appeal, the performing Pokémon has just performed a combo with the two previous moves it appealed with. The Pokémon will then receive double the amount of hearts it would in a basic appeal.
When the Judge has a star over his head while watching a Pokémon's appeal, the performing Pokémon receives a star.
The audience's excitement over a Pokémon's appeal influences the number of hearts it earns. This is shown by the excitement meter, a series of five ovals that may be filled or emptied.
Performing a move whose category is the same as the category of the Contest causes the excitement meter to go up by 1. Moves that are of the two related categories do not affect the excitement meter, while moves that are of the two opposing categories causes the excitement meter to go down by 1.
If a Pokémon uses a move and the excitement meter reaches five, the Pokémon receives six extra hearts during its appeal, and the excitement meter returns to zero.
Pokémon Super Contests
In Sinnoh, Pokémon perform their moves in the Acting Competition (Japanese: 演技審査 Performance Examination). At the end of each round, the Judges award extra points to the Pokémon: 3 points if only one Pokémon performed to them, 2 points each if two Pokémon performed to them, 1 point apiece if three Pokémon performed to them, and none if all Pokémon performed to them.
Contrary to the Hoenn region Contests, the Pokémon get their position by their scoring in reverse: the best scorer goes last and the worst scorer goes first.
Performing a compatible move (i.e. a move that is of the same category as the Contest) to any Judge causes their Voltage to go up by 1, however, an incompatible move causes the Voltage to go down by 1. The Pokémon who fills the Voltage meter will receive a bonus from the Judge they performed to: Keira and Jordan give +5, while Dexter gives +8.
Unlike Generation III, a Pokémon cannot perform a move more than twice in a row for any reason. A Pokémon may not enter a Super Contest (including Visual and Dance practice sessions) if they only have one move; this makes it impossible for Ditto and Unown to legally obtain any Super Contest Ribbon.
The number of points earned from the Acting Competition is 10 times the number of hearts received.
In the anime
In the anime, Coordinators show off their Pokémon's moves in the Appeals Round (Japanese: アピールステージ Appeal Stage), an apparent combination of the rounds found in Generation III's Contests used to weed out less talented Coordinators before the second round. The object of the round is to demonstrate attacks in a unique and entertaining way. The appeals are awarded points by the competition jury, usually formed by Mr. Contesta, Mr. Sukizo and the resident Nurse Joy. The Coordinators with the highest scores proceed to the next round. The number of Coordinators that advance to the second round is different for each Contest. In Contests held under the Double Performance rule, Coordinators have to appeal with two Pokémon.