The Thunderbolt Solo is an opportunity for dancers with three or more solos to complete one of them in this section. The solo is still adjudicated and receives an adjudication plaque. Also, the dancer gets to experience live commentary from one of the adjudicators on the panel which offers a much more in-depth analysis of the routine and feedback on elements of what and how to improve.
The solo selected to be in this section does not compete in the regular competition. It is important to understand that in the regular section, all dance styles compete against each other and only the top one of a dancer can qualify for awards.
For instance, if Debbie dancer has a solo in Ballet, Jazz and Tap and for argument's sake places 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the scoring. Debbie would get adjudication plaques for each solo, however, for the Overalls, she would be awarded 1st place. Her other dances would be dropped, so we have unique Top 10 dancers for the Overalls.
If Debbie decided to put one of her solos in the Thunderbolt Solo section, she would dance, let's say her Ballet and Tap in the regular section. She would get adjudication plaques for those routines and maybe placed 1st and 3rd with those routines. She would still win 1st place in the Overalls, and we drop her 3rd place.
She performs her Jazz in the Thunderbolt and benefits from the experience of the live adjudication in addition to getting her adjudication plaque; she is in the running to become the Thunderbolt Solo Winner. As this example is somewhat rigged as we pretended she had the top 3 scores, her average score would be the highest, and she would win this award.
Sure the ultimate goal is to win the Thunderbolt Solo, but this is a challenging and amazing accomplishment. It is important for dancers competing in this section to recognise the great value and experience in the live commentary they receive.