Ash is in the contest arena. He sends out Aipom. Aipom uses Swift, Double Team, and then Focus Punch. Dawn is dressed up in a dress, and she twirls around. Ash has never seen Dawn in a dress before. Because it is Dawn's first contest, she wants to look nice. She thanks her mother for the dress. Her mother asks Dawn if she also got her choker. Dawn didn't see a choker in the package. Suddenly, a Glameow walks up to them. Ash look sup Glameow in his Pokédex. Glameow has the choker on its tail, and it gives it to Dawn. Glameow's trainer walks up to them. Ash wonders how she knew the choker belonged to Dawn. The trainer tells them that Dawn is the only one that would match up perfectly with it. Then she leaves. Dawn's mother tells Dawn to concentrate and not to be absent-minded. Ash and Brock reminds Dawn's mother that they will look after her. Dawn's mother wishes Dawn the best of luck, and then she hangs up.
Ash and Dawn decide to have a practice battle outside. Pikachu starts off with Quick Attack. Piplup fights back with Bubblebeam. The bubbles get close to Pikachu, so Pikachu has to run backwards to dodge them. Then Pikachu uses Iron Tail, but its attack misses. Dawn commands Piplup to use Peck. Piplup's beak glows with light, but then its beak grows. Dawn states that she and Piplup have practiced storing power. During the battle, Brock is caring for his Pokémon. He notices that Dawn is focused and knows what she is doing. Piplup begins to attack Pikachu.
Suddenly, Aipom steps into the battlefield and uses its Focus Punch on Piplup. Ash and Dawn wonder why Aipom has decided to interrupt their battle. Aipom then uses its Double Team attack in the air. It uses its Swift attack between all five clones so that a huge star is formed. Then it lands safely on the ground. Ash and Dawn are stunned by Aipom's performance. Brock thinks that Aipom wants to compete in the contest. Ash isn't too sure about it. Dawn says that it will be a lot of fun, and maybe her and Ash could compete against each other. Ash gives it some more thought and decides to go for it. He reminds Aipom that they will have to do a lot of training. Brock tells Ash that he has to first register. Dawn has totally forgotten about the registration, and they all run to the registration desk.
Ash and Dawn tells the employee that they need to register. The employee asks for their contest passes, but neither Ash or Dawn has one. The employee assumes that this must be their first contest, so she tells them to put their Pokédexes into the slots below. Both Ash and Dawn insert their Pokédex into the slots, and their identification information gets downloaded. Then the employee presents Ash and Dawn with their contest passes. The passes are used throughout all the contests in Sinnoh. Finally, the employee gives Ash and Dawn a ball capsule, a seal for the capsule, and a rule book. Ash and Brock have never seen a ball capsule before, nor does Ash know what to do with the seal. Dawn shows them by placing her Pokéball into the capsule, sticking the seal on the front of the Pokéball, and throwing it. A burst of pink hearts appear, and Piplup comes out of its Pokéball. Dawn explains that there are many types of seals. Ash wants to use them all.
Meanwhile, Jessie is in a disguise. She plans on entering the contest, too. She wants to use James' Carnivine for the contest. Meowth is having a difficult time getting the seals on the Pokémon. Jessie tells Meowth that the seals go on the ball capsules. James suggests they sell seals for lots of money. Team Rocket plans on being a success with Jessie's win and James' sales expertise.
At night, Ash and co. are sleeping at the Pokémon Center. Because of the big contest tomorrow, Dawn can't sleep. She gets out of bed and walks onto the balcony. She takes Piplup and Buneary out of their Pokéballs, and the three of them stare at the city. In Dawn's hand is the ribbon her mother gave to her. She shows it to Piplup and Buneary. Dawn tells Piplup and Buneary that she can't wait to show the audience how great they are.
The next day is the big day of the contest. James and Meowth are selling seals to people. Someone goes onto stage and begins to introduce the contest to everyone. Brock runs up to Ash and tells him that he can't find Dawn anywhere. Ash knows the contest is going to start any minute, so he runs off to find Dawn. Dawn is in the dressing room trying to get her hair straighten up. The trainer with the Glameow walks in and helps Dawn with her hair. Dawn introduces herself to the trainer. The trainer's name is Zoey. Dawn asks her if she has won any contests before. Zoey tells Dawn that she won one ribbon, and she shows it to Dawn. When Dawn's hair is done, Zoey leaves.
The host of the contest shows the audience the ribbon that the coordinators will be competing for. Then she introduces the judges of the contest. The host introduces herself as Mary. Mary tells the audience that the first round is about to begin. The first round is where coordinators make their Pokémon shine on stage. Ash and Dawn meet up with Brock. Dawn explains that she was having trouble with her hair, but Zoey helped her out. Dawn wonders where Zoey is at. The first coordinator on stage is Zoey. She sends out a Misdreavus. The seal that Zoey used sends out a fog which hides Misdreavus. Misdreavus starts off with a Double Team to form a silhouette. Then it uses Confuse Ray. The fog disappears, and Misdreavus is revealed. Dawn looks up Misdreavus in her Pokédex. Finally, Misdreavus uses Shock Wave to show off how powerful it is. The judges all compliment on Zoey's performance.
A few more coordinators have their performances, and then Jessie is up. James and Meowth plan to watch Jessie's performance. However, they get a few angry customers. The customers are angry that James and Meowth sold them fake seals. James and Meowth become nervous, and they begin to run away with the customers chasing them. Jessie sends out Carnivine. She throws several lollipops in the air, and Carnivine hits them all with its Bullet Seed attack. Then Jessie orders Carnivine to use Bite. Carnivine jumps into the air, and then it bites Jessie's head. It hurts Jessie, but the audience loves it.
Ash is up next. He sends out Aipom. Aipom starts off with a dazzling Swift attack. Then it uses Double Team to create many copies of itself. Finally, Aipom uses Focus Punch to spin like a top, and it knocks out all of the copies. The judges liked Ash's performance, and the audience cheers. Brock and Dawn noticed that Ash was really good on stage. Dawn is up next on stage. Before Dawn heads onto stage, Zoey wishes her the best of luck. She also meets up with Ash. Ash tells Dawn to do her best.
As soon as Dawn enters the stage, she begins to get nervous because of the enormous crowd. She tries not to worry about it. Dawn sends out Piplup, and it uses Bubblebeam. Piplup follows up with Peck. It begins to store up energy in its beak, and then it pops all the bubbles with its Peck attack. The audience loved Dawn's performance, and the judges compliment on Dawn's performance, too. Dawn's mother has been watching the contest on TV. She noticed Dawn was stiff, but overall she also thought it was a good performance. Dawn goes off stage. Ash and Brock congratulate her. Dawn is glad that the first round is over. Zoey reminds Dawn that they still have another round to go. Finally, Mary is about to display the results on the screen. Many coordinators spent a long time training for the contest, but who will continue on?