In the past, performances were usually of Chinese operas or puppet shows. The performances are meant to be for the spirits but also for people during the seventh month. With the decline of Chinese opera and traditional puppet shows, the performances evolved to become what is known today as Getai.
Younger people in Singapore may relate to Getai as kitsch, while older people enjoy dancing and singing along to familiar songs, often in Hokkien. Traditional singers such as Liu Lingling tend to dress conservatively, while young performers drawn to getai may choose more revealing outfits.
The backdrop of the stage is usually made of cardboard and clothes painted in bright colours, vibrantly illuminated by coloured spotlights. The performers normally don loud and glittery clothing. Some compères indulge in crude humour; others maintain a quick-witted dialogue, joking about local and current affairs, sometimes switching between Mandarin, local Chinese dialects, and even English and Indian languages.
Getai has been increasingly accepted and celebrated by the mainstream media. Royston Tan's 2007 movie 881 is based on a pair of getai singers. The Straits Times's social networking and citizen journalism portal STOMP holds the Getai Awards annually to honour popular getai artists. These artists are selected via voting by the general public.