The Audience (or Crowd) are minor characters that appear in every battle sequence in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and in Super Paper Mario when the player performs a Stylish Move. A small group of members also appears in Chuck Quizmo's shows in Paper Mario.
In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, every battle is performed on a stage in front of the Audience. They can either be allies or enemies during the battles. The Audience appears in the bottom of the screen, giving Mario SP when he attacks enemies, except when they are made up of Dull Bones. SP is used to refill Mario's Star Power which he needs to use Crystal Star moves.
Audience members aren't merely there to watch, however. Some will interact with the combatants or other members. Additionally, bosses such as Hooktail may use the members as a power source, restoring HP upon eating the members. Magnus von Grapple 2.0 will even suck up members of the Audience and launch them at Mario and his partners.
The Audience may also throw objects at Mario. It can either be an item that will assist him or injure him. The items that will aid Mario can range from one Coin to items such as the Boo's Sheet. Even powerful items such as Jammin' Jellies can be received, albeit rarely. In any case, if an item is thrown onstage and his inventory is full, the item will simply fall on the stage and disappear. The items that will hurt him range from rocks to crushed soda cans, never doing more than a few points of damage. In either case, a warning will flash before an Audience member is about to throw something at Mario. The player has a few seconds to press to attack the offending member and have them flee the theater but will return. Alternatively, they can choose to do nothing if they wish to receive the item. The warning doesn't differentiate between good and bad items and will appear regardless. It's possible to attack an Audience member offering a helpful item. When this happens, not only will this member flee, but several others will as well but they will all return. The player can also attack the Audience member while the object has already been thrown. This is useful if the player can't see the item that's being thrown. They can wait until the item has been thrown and then attack if the item is harmful, or do nothing if it's a helpful item. If the item is harmful, the player can also switch places with their partner just before the item hits the player, successfully dodging the item. This can be done as so not to lose the audience member, reducing the need to appeal to the audience.
The maximum capacity of the Audience depends on Mario's level. The bigger the crowd, the more Star Power him and his party can restore each turn. Mario rises one rank every ten levels, beginning the game with the Rising Star level.
The different ranks also introduce changes to the stage itself, including a larger auditorium in general and more special effects that may occur during battle, listed below.
Getting a Shine Sprite "Bingo!" will cause every seat in the Audience to fill. Any other "Bingo!" with the exception of the Poison Mushroom one will fill half the capacity of the crowd. If three Poison Mushrooms are matched, every Audience member will run away and Mario and his current partners' HP, FP, and SP will be cut in half. No crowd means Mario and his partners will not be able to restore their SP, as there is no one to give it to them. However, players can always attract Audience members again by doing well in the battle and the next battle will always have a fresh new crowd with other characters and usually the same species of characters.
In Super Paper Mario, an Audience of sorts will appear whenever Mario or another playable character attacks an enemy and does a Stylish Move, which is done by shaking the Wii Remote when stomping on an enemy. They appear along the edges of the screen as paper cutouts. This approval of the Audience gives the player a higher score than if they have just jumped on an enemy. The crowd in this game only has a handful of species from the previous game, taking out most of the species.
Characters in the audience
When Mario does one of Chuck Quizmo's quiz questions, an Audience will be watching. This Audience includes:
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
In this game, characters will not appear in the Audience until the Chapter they're introduced in. For example, Punis will not appear until Chapter 2, Bulky Bob-ombs will not appear until Chapter 5 (with the exception of the Macho Grubba fight), and so on. The only exception is inside the Pit of 100 Trials, where all possible types of members can appear in the lower floors. Upon returning to previous areas, the battles there can still only have the types of Audience members they originally had - for example, the lone Spiky Goomba in Rogueport Sewers can only ever have Toads, Goombas, Shy Guys, and/or Luigi in its battles' audiences.
Super Paper Mario
In other Mario games
In Super Smash Bros. Melee, as well as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, an unseen Audience will occasionally cheer for the player, or in the case of a multi-player battle, the character who is winning the match. This doesn't affect the match, however. In almost all Mario sports and racing games, the crowd is part of the background. Notably, in Mario Strikers Charged, the Audience will cheer for a player when they get their Super Ability. This can alert the player that they have a Super Ability. Also the same applies for Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers when a character gets a run or a home run. New Super Mario Bros. Wii, New Super Mario Bros. 2, New Super Mario Bros. U, and New Super Luigi U feature an unseen crowd that applauds for Mario and his friends if they perform a notable feat (such as getting a 1-Up Mushroom after KO-ing enough enemies, collecting all Blue Coins from a P-Switch, or getting all Star Coins in a level).
Super Mario Galaxy 2 also has an unseen Audience and again, it claps for the player if they successfully get all of the Coins and earn an extra life, or hitting a target in Bowser Jr.'s Boom Bunker. In Mario Golf, a crowd claps for players if they land the ball on the fairway or green. In Mario Sports Mix, the Audience also makes an appearance in the Mario Stadium arena, cheering for the players during the match. The crowd also appears in the Peach Dome court in Mario Power Tennis. In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, an Audience appears during the battle with Midbus. They will toss Coins or food items onto the stage. The food can be eaten to replenish HP. A crowd also appears in Donkey Kong Country Returns. They're made up of various Tikis such as Tiki Goons. They can be seen in the background of every boss battle. They react when Donkey Kong jumps on one of the bosses and they cheer when the boss harms one of the Kongs.
In the Mario Kart series, the audience watches and cheers for the racers on some tracks.