The Pokémon Contest Spectulars are a redesign of the original Pokémon Contests from Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire, although they behave in much the same manner.
The first time you can do a Contest is when you head to Slateport City and meet with Lisia at the north side of the city, so it’s relatively early.
There are a number of Contest Halls throughout the game, much as in the original: Slateport, Fallarbor, Verdanturf, and Lilycove all have one.
Unlike Ruby/Sapphire, though, these Halls are not specific to a certain difficulty of Contest; you can choose whatever difficulty you’ve reached from within the Contest Hall itself.
Inside the Hall
In the Contest Hall, you can go north and speak with the receptionists. The one on the left will allow you to play in multiplayer Contests with up to three other people, while the other one is for single-player Contests.
When you choose a Contest, there are several Contest types you can choose from: Cool, Beautiful, Tough, Clever, and Cute.
Each Contest type also corresponds to a Contest stat on a Pokémon and also to the Contest types of moves. Your Pokémon’s Contest stats will help out with the first round of the Contest, and usually matching up moves and Contest types will help out in the second round.
If you want to boost certain stats, you can make Pokéblocks and feed them to your Pokémon. The move type matchup, however, is simply something you have to do on your own.
After choosing the type, you will get to pick your difficulty. There are four difficulties: Normal, Super, Hyper, and Master Ranks, and they are unlocked in that sequence. (In other words, beat Normal for Super, beat Super for Hyper, etc.)
Once unlocked, any Pokémon - even those not having not participated in previous Contests of the previous level, unlike Ruby/Sapphire - will be able to participate. Following your entry into the Contest will be the first round of the Contest, the…
The first round is the one in which you do the least amount of work. The appeal of your Pokémon during this first round is all about your Pokémon’s Contest stat for that Contest: the higher the value in that stat, the better your appeal during this round.
This is by far the more complicated round of the Contest, there’s so much to it. This is where you use your Pokémon’s moves to showcase their appeal, at least at the most superficial level.
Each move on your Pokémon has a Contest type attributed to it and sometimes an effect to it. Much of the Talent Round is taking advantage of their effects. But we’ll cover that in a moment.
In any case, there are five turns in the Contest, after which the results will be tallied.
When you finish the Talent Round, the appeals from the Introduction and Talent Rounds are tallied, with whoever had the highest appeal overall being the victor.