Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kids audition for YTV show with dreams of stardom

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ONE is a 12-year-old girl who's taller than other girls in her grade and wants to be a comedian.

Another is an eight-year-old boy who really wanted to beat his big sister.

Each kid who turned out at an audition Saturday for YTV reality series The Next Star had a different reason to want to shine.

About 450 kids showed up at the Winnipeg Convention Centre to tackle the usually terrifying prospect of singing in public -- and being judged for it.

Twelve kids from across Canada will ultimately be selected to go to Toronto and be part of the series, with the winner signed to a two-song deal by Sony Music.

Brasen Lang, a Grade 2 student, said he planned to sing a cover of Count on Me, by pop star Bruno Mars, a song he said is about friendship. "(Friends) help you in math," said Lang. "If you get hurt, they'll tell a teacher."

He smiled at the prospect of beating his older sister at singing, because she normally beats him at tag and gets to play board games first.

Lang said was singing before he started talking -- a fact confirmed by his father, Robert Lang.

"He's normally a shy person, and for him to step up to this level and say, 'I want to do this,' I back him 110 per cent," said Lang.

Shania Geldart, 12, didn't make it past the first round. She went to bed early Friday, then got up at 4:45 a.m. Saturday to curl her hair and get to the casting call early.

"I just want people to know who I am and stuff," said Geldart, who said she dreams of being a comedian and wants "people to see" her.

Marc Kell Whitehead, a producer with Tricon Films and Television, the production company that makes the show for YTV, said the show focuses on being positive and leaving kids with useful advice.

The show is hosted by Adamo Ruggiero and judged by pop singer Keshia Chante, country singer Tara Oram and Mark Spicoluk, who's with Universal Music Canada.

The stop in Winnipeg is one of six cities judges will visit in their hunt for talent.

"We can't take them into a dark place, we can't reject them, so it's always a no with words of wisdom, words of encouragement," said Kell Whitehead.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 6, 2012 A6

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