• September 22nd -24th, 2022
  • Salt Palace Convention Center

Cosplay Contest Pre-Judging
Meet & Greet Room 255 A | 10 am

Cosplay Contest
Grand Ballroom | 7 pm



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We want to see your amazing cosplay! For us to be able to do that please connect a photo/video gallery link to your account.  This link should be connected to a photo/video gallery where you show off the cosplay you are entering into the contest. Feel free to use any photo/video gallery site of your choosing but we strongly recommend using the following:

  • Facebook 
  • Google Drive 
  • Dropbox 

We urge you to not use Instagram because of the 1-minute video limitation and the lack of not being able to create a separate folder where ALL of your photos and videos can be stored in one place for us to see.

You do NOT have to do a video of your cosplay, but it’s something that can be useful and might set you apart. Please limit videos to 3 minutes or less each. Progress pictures of your cosplay are much appreciated and they are expected for the Intermediate and Master categories.

(If your cosplay is already finished with no progress pictures, there is no need to worry, but please explain your process in a video, if you can for us to see. We would love to hear what steps you took to create your piece)  Please note that an entry with no pictures (work in progress or finished) or an optional video will have a very low chance of progressing past the online phase and those that do progress to In-Person judging will have their scores reset.

You can modify your gallery as much as you want until the registration deadline for the contest closes on September 10th at 11:59 p.m. Only then, will our judging panel view all of the online submissions and give each one a score.

*We thank everyone for entering into the contest, but want to remind you that ONLY the contestants that make it past the “Online Submission” part of the contest will qualify for the “In-Person” and “Onstage” portions of the contest. Cosplays that have received an award in a previous FanX cosplay contest are not eligible*


All participants that make it past the “Online Submission” portion will be notified via email that they have qualified to enter the contest and move onto the “In-Person” judging.  

Cosplayers need to come in FULL cosplay to the “In-Person” judging on Saturday, September 18th. It is necessary that the judges see you wearing your final cosplay that you would plan to wear on stage during the competition. Make sure you come ready with anything that is crucial to your cosplay (this includes makeup). 

Please be mindful of the FanX® weapon policy to ensure that your cosplay accessories are permitted into the venue (ALL cosplay weapons must go through our checkpoint and have an official safety sticker from our security team). Here is the link to our weapons policy in case you missed it. 

*Please note that you will need to wait in line to see the judging panel. Some cosplayers opt to get into full cosplay when they arrive at the venue or moments before they see our judges.* 


  • Room  TBC
  • Salt Palace Convention Center (Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah)


  • Novices: 10am -11am
  • Intermediate: 11am - 12pm
  • Groups: 12:30pm - 1pm
  • Masters:1pm - 2pm

*Please note that it’s a first-come, first-serve basis. If you come at the end of your category’s block of time, expect a longer wait to see the judges*.

What takes place :

This is where our judging panel gets to see your cosplay up close. They will ask various questions that pertain but are not limited to:

  • Questions about the creation process
  • What techniques were used
  • What paints, fabrics, and materials were used and why they were chosen
  • Questions about your character

Other things to bring:

Please provide us with proper documentation! This will help the judges compare and contrast your outfit with the original to give an appropriate score. This may include:

  • Printed or copied photos of your character for reference (MUST HAVE).
  • Step-by-step progression photos of your cosplay throughout the creation process.
  • Fabric or other material samples used on your cosplay. 
  • Paint samples used on your cosplay.
  • Any other appropriate evidence that you created the cosplay you are entering into the contest.

Note: if you have already completed your cosplay and it is difficult for you to bring certain kinds of documentation for the “In-Person Judging,” no need to worry. You will have time to talk with the judging panel and explain how you created your cosplay and answer their questions. Documentation always acts as proof, but we understand that some people either don’t know or might have forgotten to document certain things. We never want anyone feeling like they will automatically lose because they do not have ALL of their documentation.

In-Person Judging Criteria:

Craftsmanship – The quality of construction, material choice, design, and fitting are all elements of craftsmanship. Basically, the cosplay should be well made. For instance, messy seams would count against the costume (Unless that is what your character has on their outfit. We will look at your printed photo of the character to compare). Keep in mind, a simple thing done well can often be better than a complex thing done poorly.

Originality/Accuracy – If the costume is based on an existing character from a movie, anime, comics, games, novels, etc. then it should look like that character. It should be accurate to the source material. If the cosplay idea is original, then it should show originality. Innovative uses of material, original props, and solid design aesthetics can definitely help your original cosplay creation.

Level Of Difficulty – Does the costume exhibit a variety of material uses? Are there moving parts or electronics involved? Are there multiple pieces that have been worked together to make the costume? IE: Using wood, fabric, plastic, rubber in any combination. Having lights and moving parts does NOT guarantee a high score, rather, showing creativity and a well-executed final product will usually increase your chances. 

Presentation – This is where we look at all of your documentation, your progress pictures, and how it is presented. Think of this as a cosplay report on your creation. Go ahead and show off all the cool things about your cosplay and what it took you to make it.

Overview - Judges will stick to these 4 main criteria for scoring. They will also take into account your category of difficulty. A “Novice,” won’t be held to the same difficulty standard as a “Master.”

Time Limit – At this moment we cannot guarantee a specific amount of time in front of the judges yet. We need to make sure we can accommodate all of the contestants that need to be seen according to the show’s running time and judge availability. Be prepared for at least two minutes to discuss your cosplay and its construction with the judges.

Travel Tip – Please make sure that you have a plan A and B for getting to the venue in time, (just in case anything happens). We would hate for you to miss out on this part of your scoring for the contest. If for some reason you cannot or do not make it to “In-Person” judging you are still eligible to go on stage and receive your “Onstage” score meaning that you can still be seen on stage the night of the contest. 

Remember that this contest is for YOU! The judges want to hear what you have to say about your cosplay. This is your time to impress the judges, so tell them everything they should know about your creation. 


All contestants that move on past the “Online Submission” phase also qualify for the official stage portion of the contest the night of September 18th in the Grand Ballroom. The Stage Portion of the contest goes from 5pm-7pm. Below is the information of where to go, what to look for, how to line up, what to expect and the on-stage judging criteria.

Contest Start and End Time: Contest is at 7pm.  Call time is 6pm (below) 

Competitor Check in Time and Location: Check-in time is one hour before contest start time (subject to change) in Hall E (at the main entrance to the con on the south side of the Salt Palace, by registration). Hall E is directly across the hall from the construction area on the south end of the Salt Palace.  You CAN have an assistant with you to help you get ready or bring you snacks/drinks. 

What To Look For: We will have volunteers with vertical signs that will read “Cosplay Contest”, “Novice”, “Intermediate”, “Masters” and “Group.” Please line up in your correct category group. They will also help get everyone in the correct show order.

After Lining Up: You will be taken by our volunteers and be seated in the ballroom to wait for your group’s turn before being taken backstage by our production team.

Show Order and Waiting Advice: The show order is as follows:

  • Novice
  • Intermediate,
  • Masters
  • Group entries will be between each category change.  
  • After everyone is seen, Judges will then take a short break to tally the scores, and then announce the winners. 


*If you have a physically demanding cosplay or one that gets hot when worn for too long, please note that you do NOT have to be in full cosplay while waiting for your category’s turn. You CAN be out of cosplay while waiting your turn. Once your turn is approaching and you see that your category will soon be up, you and your assistant (if you have one) can start getting you into full cosplay to be ready by the time you have to hit the stage. Also, bring any snacks or drinks you may need while you wait. Novices will be first up, and Intermediates,, and Masters to follow with Groups appearing between each category change. With us wanting to put as much cosplay on that stage as possible, Intermediates, and especially Masters will have a longer wait to go on the stage and ALL Groups need to be ready when Novices start their portion.


Stage Time: While onstage, each contestant has a maximum of 1 minute to “perform” or showcase their cosplay. They can take as much or as little of that time as they want. Our advice is to show off your cosplay as long as time allows!

Music: Music can sometimes be a vital part of a cosplayers performance while onstage. We ask that you choose a music selection that does not have inappropriate language or subject matter for a family friendly event (explicit music will not be played, so be sure that it is clean before using. If you are unsure if your music qualifies as “clean,” be sure to email the cosplay team before submission). We welcome all ages at our shows and reserve the right to contact you to make a different music selection if we see fit. 

*If there is a problem with your music while you are competing please let one of our production team members know as soon as possible. We work with another company that does our audio and video, on top of running a full live show. We don’t anticipate these types of problems but we try to prepare for these situations ahead of time. If the unforeseen takes place, we will do our best to accommodate you, as long as we know about it.*

Judging Criteria: Contestants will be judged on: 


  • Does the cosplayer look confident?
  • Is the cosplay all there, is anything broken or missing?
  • This score centers on everything on-stage aside from your planned performance.



  • Use of stage
  • Choreography of some sort
  • Does the performance look planned and prepared or improvised and sloppy?
  • Does the cosplayer make the most of the time they have or do they quickly leave the stage?
  • Audience interaction 
  • Creativity (BE CREATIVE)


This will be added to the “In Person” judging score, so practice those moves and poses! We understand that some characters are less energetic or agile than others. The judges will take this into account, but do your best to try and convey the character you have chosen to the audience, so make full use of your time.

*Although we do not anticipate a long wait time, we are doing a live contest and at certain points we understand that cosplayers may need to use the restroom or have other needs such as water, assistance walking in their outfits, or even medical needs. There are restrooms located just outside of the Grand Ballroom doors on the south end and all cosplayers are welcomed to bring their own “assistant” that should provide the contestant with anything they may need such as food or water. Our volunteers and production team are happy to help in whatever way they can but take into consideration that they are sometimes limited to what they can provide, so please plan accordingly. If you have a LARGE cosplay or one that heats up when fully worn, please note that you DO NOT have to be in full cosplay while waiting your turn.*

We are excited to have you compete in our event and wish you the best of luck in the competition!


Awards for FanX 2021 are as follows. In the event a contestant places in a category and for a special award, whichever award is higher is the award they will receive and the other contestants will all move up a place in the contestant’s category and a runner up (typically 4th place) will be moved up into 3rd place.


  • First place ($200)
  • Second place ($150)
  • Third place ($100)


  • First place ($350)
  • Second place ($300)
  • Third place ($250)


  • First place ($500)
  • Second place ($450)
  • Third place ($400)



  • First place ($500)
  • Second place ($450)
  • Third place ($400)


Special Awards

  • Best Needlework  (Majority of cosplay is sewn)
  • Best Armor  (Majority of cosplay is armor)
  • Storytelling Award (Best performance)


Grand Prize ($5,000)

  • Best in Show  (Cosplay with the highest score overall.)


If you have any additional questions regarding the cosplay contest which are not listed in the FAQ’s, please email [email protected]


What if I do not create an online photo gallery?

If we do NOT have a link to a photo/video gallery in your registration account by the deadline we will consider your registration incomplete and will, unfortunately, have to pass on your registration into the contest. The judges need to see what you are submitting and they cannot do so without the gallery. 

Can I enter multiple cosplays?

During the online submission, you can enter as many cosplays as you want BUT only one cosplay per contestant is allowed to move past the online submission phase and you can only participate in a single category.  In the event both of your entries are accepted, you will be contacted for a decision on which category you want to participate in.

Commissioned cosplays and cosplay models:

Commissions - You are able to have up to 30% of your cosplay commissioned, the rest must be made by the registered contestant 

Models - Creator of the cosplay must be present for “In Person” judging and they must be present in the ballroom with their model for the “Onstage” portion as well. 

I’m not sure which section I fit into for the contest. How do I know which category is for me?

The categories for the cosplay contest are as follows:

  • Novice - Has not won or placed in a contest yet. Has entered no more than 3 contests.
  • Intermediate - Entered more than 3 contests OR has won/placed in a contest before
  • Masters - Is described as but not limited to: Cosplay craft is close to or at a professional level. Commissions cosplays or props for other cosplayers. Makes some kind of income cosplaying or creating cosplays. Has entered, won, and/or placed in multiple contests
  • Group - Consisting of 2 or more cosplayers wanting to enter together. Groups will be judged based on the highest level cosplayer in the group. Example: If you have a group of mostly intermediates and one Master level cosplayer, then all will be judged as Masters

Note: If you need help on stage but you don’t want to be a part of the group category, you may have someone else with you on stage to help with the performance, as long as they are not dressed in a costume. Dressing in black or dark colors for the performance is preferred, to keep attention on the cosplayer.

Can I enter into the contest if I live out of state or country?

Yes! The way our contest is set up you don’t have to be present for the “Online Submission” portion. If you advance in the contest, our judging panel will see you in person the morning of the contest and you will be able to take to the stage later that night during the “Onstage” portion of the contest as well.  Please take note of the weapon’s policy for the convention and how it relates to your cosplay.


When will the online submissions be looked at and scored?

Our judging panel will start looking over all submissions the day after our registration for the contest closes on September 10th at 11:59 p.m.


When will we be contacted to know if we have moved past the “Online Submission” portion of the contest?

Our judging panel works super hard to give each and every submission the proper attention it deserves. With that being said, we are unable to give a concrete date and time when all contestants will be notified. We will notify EVERYONE who registered when the online portion is complete.


Why can’t everyone move past the online submission process in the contest?

We are super fortunate and excited to have hundreds of entries each year but because we are only given a certain amount of time in the Grand Ballroom during the event we need to make sure that we stay within a certain time frame. 


I didn’t make it past the “Online Submission” but can I still show off my cosplay onstage at FanX?

Yes! Everyone who registers for the contest will have the opportunity to show off their cosplay on our stage the night of the contest. Keep in mind, only those who make it past the “Online Submission” will still be in the running for prizes. 


Are some contestants going to be cut after being seen in person by the judging panel?

No. All contestants that make it past the online submission phase will be able to be seen in person by the judging panel as well as being able to showcase their cosplay onstage as part of the contest.


How many cuts will be made?

We will only be making one cut of contestants for the contest which is during the online submission process. 


Will the judges move me into another category?

No, if you fit the criteria for your category, then that is where you will stay.


What criteria are the judges using to score the cosplays?

  1. During the “In-Person” phase our judging panel will score off of the following:
  • Craftsmanship - Clean and straight seams, no glue marks, rough or mirror-smooth, basically how well your cosplay is made.
  • Originality/Accuracy - If the cosplay is original or a mashup you’ll be judged on originality.  If you are recreating a character we will look at how close you recreated the character.
  • Level of Difficulty - This is based on the number of and difficulty of techniques used to create the cosplay

Don’t forget to bring your presentation with any of the following:  Material samples, photos, character research materials.

  1. During the “Onstage” portion of the contest, we will be judging based on:
  • Performance - We feel that a large portion of the artform of cosplay is embracing the essence of the character/personality that you are cosplaying as. Every contestant that qualifies for the “Onstage” portion of the contest will have up to 1 min to showcase this part of their cosplay talent in our Grand Ballroom. You can use this time as you wish, it can be to strike different poses to show off all of the parts of your cosplay or even do some pre-planned choreography. We expect to notify all qualified contestants with as least a week of anticipation before the contest so that they can have something prepared in time. Remember that you have up to 1 min on stage so please use as much of that time as possible
  • Stage Appearance - How does the cosplay look onstage? How does the cosplayer show off their cosplay? Does the cosplayer look confident showcasing their creation and becoming the character? (unless of course the character they are portraying is a nervous mess and that’s how the cosplayer should seem)


Are some music tracks not accepted in the cosplay contest?

Yes. Music or Audio tracks submitted cannot have explicit lyrics. If it does contain explicit lyrics, your audio track will not be used. We will do our best to give you an advanced warning but cannot guarantee it. FanX® is a family-friendly event and we want all ages to be able to attend.


If I’m not in the group category, could I still bring a partner to act on stage with me?
Yes, you may have someone else with you on stage to help with the performance, as long as they are not dressed in a costume. Dressing in black or dark colors for the performance is preferred, to keep attention on the cosplayer.


Do I have to be present to win?

Yes, you must be present at the contest to win.


I have a question about the cosplay contest that I don’t see an answer for here, who do I contact?

If you have an additional question regarding the cosplay contest which is not listed in the FAQ’s, please email [email protected]