April 30, 2020, 9:43 a.m.

okay fine. fine. this is gonna be a very long post about how I personally handle the Love Live competition with my idol OCs, because Livid posting about the technicality questions has made me think about it again and I'd go insane if I didn't plan it out for myself at least. so here.

all of these are based on what canon in Aqours times gives us, but some may be contradictory to certain implied things that canon wasn't clear about ... or just me thinking something canonical makes no sense and yeeting it out of existence lol. also this isn't considering unaffiliated events which play by their own rules or no rules at all, only the Love Live itself.

entry requirements

  • any participants have to be officially signed up at a high school
  • cross-school groups are not allowed
  • amount of groups from one school allowed to be registered depends on the school size, capping out at three
  • different school branches count as different schools though. i.e. if you have a main branch in the city and another affiliated one a bit further away, you enter for that branch respectively, not the whole school complex
  • the maximum group size is 10 people
  • you need your legal guardian's written permission if you're below 18
  • there's an entry fee, but it's pretty inconsequential
  • wrt Houkago CLOVER in particular: if you work directly at an agency, you're just an idol, not a school idol, and cannot participate in Love Live. however, sponsors are very much allowed & even encouraged, which is the loophole their agency uses

competition framework

  • happens two times a year, with the finals once in October and once in March
  • prefecturals -> regionals -> nationals, though bigger cities such as Tokyo usually hold another prelim before prefecturals so that those won't be completely overrun
  • winners are decided based on a 50/50 mix between popular vote and a dedicated jury until the finals, which are popular vote only
  • prefecturals are always held at schools or smaller halls, regionals differ depending on amount of groups and what venues they were able to get, and nationals are always on a big stage, though not always the Tokyo Dome
  • the official ranking on the website doesn't play into the votes (those have dedicated temporary polls), but it's recommended to work hard on it to gain popularity
  • finals are between three groups, but there have been cases where due to a large number of participants they opened a fourth spot for the group who had the highest score in regionals across the country aside from the finalists
  • all official competitions get streamed on the Love Live website. duh.

at the live

  • performance order is decided randomly by drawing numbers in all three rounds
  • the time limit is 2 minutes, though occasionally groups do go above it a little bit without getting punished, as long as it's not excessive
  • no MC time, you just perform your song and go (so you should establish your personalities through other events to make people like you)
  • encores are only allowed at finals, for the other rounds they'd hold up the schedule too much
  • unless otherwise specified, covers and older songs are valid entries, but don't expect to win anything with that unless you've made something really good
  • to account for unexpected member changes or someone being occupied or sick, a group is allowed to (temporarily or permanently) remove any number of members between rounds, but only add three new ones that weren't originally there from one round to the next. this is to avoid a situation in which a group suddenly is completely different from the round before and cannot be compared to their previous form. (this rule has been implemented recently due to groups trying just that.)

as an example for the latter point cause it may be a bit hard to get: [prefecturals] Chika/Riko/You+Maru/Yohane/Ruby -> [regionals] Chika/Riko/You+Yohane -> [nationals] Chika/Riko/You+Maru/Yohane/Ruby+Dia/Kanan/Mari would be valid because they added three entirely new members and two that were already officially registered for the final performance. [prefecturals] Chika/Riko/You+Yohane -> [regionals] Chika/Riko/You+Maru/Yohane/Ruby+Dia/Kanan/Mari would not be valid because they added more than three new members in one step.

school idol work

  • any profit made through official Love Live events goes to the school, which usually distributes it as club budget. this includes the relatively big amount of prize money for winning finals
  • songs are composed by the students or people that help them, but they can send their compositions in to have the officials finish the instrumental
  • you're only allowed to sign up for so many work-type events (lives, interviews ...) at the same time, corresponding with child labour laws
  • school idols don't usually get invited to TV shows (radio happens more often, but mostly local stuff), but a lot of groups have taken to streaming to widen their audience

what this means for the participants

  • popularity is very important, but not the end-all-be-all. in finals, votes are usually pretty evenly split between the groups
  • since students tend to vote for their own schools for obvious reasons, the votes you get from third parties especially through the internet matter a lot, so you better go and get yourself some fans
  • some schools encourage school idols in order to make money, some see it as a cheap way to gain funds and popularity that doesn't befit their school image (Kitashirayama is one of those schools)
  • in schools with more than the allowed number of groups or idols, either they fight over participation (usually through school-internal competitions) or band together after all, provided the member count doesn't exceed the max
  • a core difference between idols and school idols is the work that they do; school idols focus a lot more on their performances and less on image work such as MC'ing, participating in TV dramas and movies, or getting invited to TV shows. this is also why a lot of school idols who aim to go pro never really manage to. it's a completely different industry

I think that's all?? unless I forgot something?? I could go more into how the website functions but that's a whole other beast. so yeah.