The battles are about to begin in the Jubelife Pokémon Contest, and in the running are Dawn, Ash, Jessie (disguised as Jessilina), and a Coordinator named Zoey. Ash will be battling Zoey, and Zoey is shocked to hear that Ash isn't really a Coordinator. As far as Zooey's concerned, if you're not serious then you don't belong in a Contest! When Ash's Aipom and Zoey's Glameow go head to head, it looks like Zoey may be right. Contests aren't like Gym battles, as Zoey proves when her Glameow wins the round with creative usesof its Iron Tail and Shadow Claw moves.
The second round pits Dawn and Buneary against Zoey and Glameow. Even though Dawn has had a chance to watch Glameow in action, Buneary's graceful jumps and powerful Ice Beam just can't manage to top Glameow's moves. When time runs out, Zoey is declared the winner. After the match, Dawn calls her mother but receives a stern but encouraging lecture on being more independent. After all, Dawn has friends she can turn to for support!
The final round of the Contest is a battle between Zoey and, of all people, Jessie! Zoey's Glameow defeats Carnivine with time left to spare and Zoey wins her second ribbon. Before she heads out of town, she exchanges some encouraging words with Dawn. They're bound to meet again at another Contest—and now Dawn has a new rival who's also a new friend!
The Jubilife City Pokémon Contest is still underway, with the Performance Stage coming to a close and the results being announced. Dawn, Ash, Jessilina, and Zoey are among the eight Coordinators advancing to the second round, and Dawn decides to call her mother to tell her the news, but Johanna already knows as she was watching the Contest on television. The computer pairs up the contestants for the second round, with Ash facing off against Zoey in the first battle. Zoey finds out about Ash's intention to compete in the Sinnoh League and her mood suddenly changes. She asks him why he is entering Contests if he can't tell the difference between Contests and Gyms and walks away. Even though Dawn reminds Ash that Contest Battles and Gym battles are two different things, Ash decides to battle by instinct. Meanwhile, James and Meowth meet up with Jessie, beaten and battered after trying to sell fake Seals.
The Battle Stage begins, and is Ash on one side and Zoey on the other. Ash sends out Aipom while Zoey sends out Glameow. Ash makes the first move with Focus Punch. Glameow waits until Aipom closes in, grabbing Aipom's tail to stop Aipom's attack and robs Ash of points. Glameow sends Aipom flying, but she attacks with Swift, hitting and taking some of Zoey's points.
Glameow tries Fury Swipes, but Aipom uses Double Team to get behind it, attacking with Swift. However, Glameow uses Fury Swipes to send the attack back to Aipom and robs Ash of more points. Ash orders another Focus Punch, but Glameow blocks with Iron Tail. However, Glameow straightens its tail to hit Aipom. With thirty seconds left, Ash has a fourth of his original score while Zoey still has three fourths of hers, but Ash persists and orders another Focus Punch. Glameow uses Shadow Claw to block the Focus Punch long enough for Glameow to dodge before hitting Aipom with another Iron Tail. With ten seconds left, Ash orders a final Focus Punch. The attack is so powerful that Zoey and Glameow are both frozen in their tracks. However, time runs out just before the attack hits and Zoey wins.
Backstage, while Aipom is eating. Ash recounts how his moves did not appeal as much. Ash congratulates Zoey, but Zoey brings up how powerful the Focus Punch attack was, noting how Ash could have won had time not expired. Thanking Ash for a great battle, she still doesn't think Coordinating is where Ash is truly in his element. Ash admits that he is mostly focused on regular battles. Dawn mentions that Ash joined because his Aipom wanted to, much to Zoey's surprise and Ash's admission. Zoey concludes that Dawn should raise Aipom; however, everyone else is puzzled at the idea. Dawn and Jessie both win their respective battles.
Dawn now faces Zoey in the next round. Dawn sends out Buneary while Zoey sends out Glameow. Buneary uses Ice Beam, but Glameow uses Shadow Claw to block the attack and Dawn loses points. Buneary uses Bounce, and Glameow jumps with its tail, soaring above Buneary and using Fury Swipes. Glameow uses Iron Tail, but Buneary blocks with both her ears, taking Zoey's points. Glameow spins its tail, spinning Buneary and sending her flying. Buneary uses Ice Beam again, but Glameow dodges. However, the attack creates an ice field around Glameow, causing it to slip and slide uncontrollably. Buneary uses Dizzy Punch and Bounce, landing multiple attacks, Glameow unable to counter due to the ice. With thirty seconds left, Buneary uses Dizzy Punch again. Glameow uses Shadow Claw to attack the ice and sends shards against Buneary, stopping the attack. Glameow springs up with Iron Tail and knocks Buneary down. Time expires and Zoey wins the round by a narrow margin. Dawn calls her mother upset, but her mother gives her a quick stern talk about looking forward and her friends as support.
The final battle pits Jessilina's Carnivine against Zoey's Glameow. Only one minute is left, and Zoey has the lead, but Carnivine has Glameow wrapped. Carnivine tries to Bite, but Glameow's Shadow Claw strikes back and frees itself. Glameow attacks with Fury Swipes, landing multiple hits with incredible speed and beauty. Carnivine fires Bullet Seed, but Glameow dodges and use Iron Tail to empty Jessilina's points. Zoey wins the Contest, and the Jubilife Ribbon is presented to her as everyone applauds. Outside, Dawn promises Zoey that she will get better. Zoey leaves, everyone notes that Dawn has a new rival. Now, the group looks forward to Ash's first Gym battle.