Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Next Star hopefuls queue up for a shot

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Hundreds of excited kids are escorted into the convention centre Saturday to audition for the Next Star.

What could make 275 kids get up before dawn to shiver and huddle outdoors in downtown Winnipeg?

The chance to become a star.

Saturday morning, they massed in front of the RBC Convention Centre bundled up in hoodies and Justin Bieber fleece blankets for a chance to audition for The Next Star.

The YTV talent contest for youth 15 and under is holding auditions across Canada and was in Winnipeg Saturday. Those chosen by the judges who make it through a second audition will compete in the Top 12, the main event in Toronto.

The crowd in Winnipeg started lining up around 5 a.m. when the temperature hovered just above freezing.

Before the audition doors opened at 9 a.m., a YTV crew went through the lineup.

"Oh, it's a camera!" yelled one adolescent girl. Those who'd been squatting stood up, preening and waving.

YTV celebrity Carlos Bustamante invited the preteens, tweens and teens waiting in the cold to get warmed up. "Come jump with me!" And they did.

Parents, some of whom drove from out of province to be there for their kids, stood back and admired their energy.

"I can't wipe the smile off my face," said Lynn Chipp, whose daughter, Heather, was 24th in line to audition.

"I think this is awesome." They and Heather's dad, Scott Chipp, drove to Winnipeg Friday from their home in Esterhazy, Sask.

"If she doesn't go further, it's a memory," said her mom. " 'Keep building those memories -- we'll be there for you.' " Heather sings at churches and is in a choir at school, her mom said.

"She was a singer right from the get-go," said Lynn. "I was singing while I was pregnant with her."

The 15-year-old Grade 9 student chose the Adele song Rolling in the Deep for her audition.

"I'm cold but excited and pumped up," said Heather.

Nine-year-old Dana Feakes drove into Winnipeg for the audition from Traverse Bay with her mom and eight-year-old sister.

"I think it's going to be fun," Dana said outside the convention centre. She didn't have to rehearse the song she planned to sing at her audition because she has the Carrie Underwood tune Good Girl down pat.

"I know the words -- I've been singing that song for a long time," Dana said.

Fourteen-year-old Madison South, from Selkirk, was 142nd in line.

"I'm pretty excited," said Madison. Her dad drove her and her friend, Olivia Little, 15, to Winnipeg for the event.

Clutching her guitar case, Olivia said she was there for the opportunity to perform for judges rather than becoming a star.

"This is just an experiment."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 2, 2014 A6

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