Rising Star Rules & Regulations


There are two age divisions in the competition. 

  • Junior Rising Star – 6 to 12 years
  • Youth Rising Star – 13 to 21 years

How to Enter

  1. Complete the entry form online at https://www.theex.com/rising-star-registration-form/. Entry forms must be received by the CNE no later than 5:00 pm, Friday, May 26, 2023. The administrator in its sole discretion may accept or refuse to accept entry forms that are late, incomplete or illegible. 
  2. Along with your entry form, a YouTube video link can be submitted at the same time or before the deadline. All audition material must have been recorded within the last 12 months. Only one performance is permitted per YouTube submission. When preparing your YouTube video, make sure to list your full name in the title of the video, if possible. Videos not properly labelled may not be considered. 
  3. Contestants acknowledge that the CNE is not affiliated in any way with YouTube and a submission made by a contestant via YouTube is the sole responsibility of the contestant, including the ability of the CNE to access the submission. Any YouTube submissions that cannot be accessed by the CNE for any reason whatsoever will be deemed not to have been received. Contestants are responsible for compliance with YouTube’s Terms of Use. 
  4. The judges will consist of a panel appointed by the administrator. The judges will review all video entries and score them according to our judging criteria. 

Show Dates 

The contest, which consists of preliminaries, semi-finals and finals, will run during the CNE, August 18 to September 3, 2023. 

Junior Preliminaries Fri Aug 18 – Mon Aug 21

Junior Semi-Finals Mon Aug 28 & Tue Aug 29

Junior Finals Sat Sept 2

Youth Preliminaries Tue Aug 22 – Sun Aug 27

Youth Semi-Finals Wed Aug 30 – Fri Sept 1

Youth Finals Sun Sept 3

All shows start at 6:30 PM.


  1. Contestants are judged by a panel based on the following criteria: 
Natural Ability 20%
Stage Presence/Showmanship20%
Audience Appeal20%
Quality of Performance 40%
  • All contestants, including last year’s finalists, must have an audition with the Canadian National Exhibition’s production staff to be eligible to compete in the talent competition. Decisions of the CNE staff and judges are final. No discussion shall be entered into by the contestant and the judges or CNE staff regarding contest decisions. Matters not covered by the stated rules are at the sole discretion of the CNE staff. 


Junior Rising Star Prizes

Junior Grand Champion $1,000
First Runner Up $750
Second Runner Up$500
Third Runner Up$300
Fourth Runner Up $200
Fifth Runner Up$100

Youth Rising Star Prizes

Youth Grand Champion $2,500
First Runner Up$1,500
Second Runner Up$700
Third Runner Up$500
Fourth Runner Up$300
Fifth Runner Up$200 

Note: All participants are awarded souvenirs of the contest as they advance through the preliminaries, semi-finals and finals. The structure of the competition may change without notice. 

Rules & Regulations 

  1. This competition is open to legal residents of Ontario ONLY. You can only enter ONCE.
  2. For the Junior Rising Star, all contestants must be at least 6 years of age and not older than 12 by September 2, 2023.
  3. For the Youth Rising Star, all contestants must be at least 13 years of age and not older than 21 by September 3, 2023.  
  4. The age divisions of contestants in duet or groups will be determined by the average age. 
  5. An act must be no more than 4 minutes and 30 seconds in duration. Any act running over this time will be disqualified. Timing begins with the first word, note or action. 
  6. Acts using machetes, knives, baton weapons and rigging (circus acts) cannot enter. Fire and/or pyrotechnics are not allowed on stage at any time. Profane language, swearing or suggestive lyrics or actions that are not suitable for a family audience (as determined by the administrator or the judge) will not be accepted. The administrator or the judge may refuse to accept an entry containing any of the aforesaid. 
  7. Once again, the competition will be held on stage indoors. Therefore, sound level restrictions will be in effect. 
  8. An individual may not enter the competition if they are:
    • a CNE full-time or contract employee 
    • a member of the CNEA or Board of Directors 
    • a contractor and/or agent of the CNE directly involved in the competition
    • any other persons directly associated with the competition
    • a member of the immediate families of any of the aforesaid persons or any other person residing in the same household. 
  9. Contestants who do not appear one half-hour prior to the competition or fail to remain until the end of the show will be disqualified. 
  10. If you are selected for the competition as a vocalist, we ask that you prepare a backup song. This is to ensure that, should you be chosen to perform in the competition finals, that there is no duplication in the repertoire presented on stage. 
  11. Contestants selected to advance to the preliminaries will be notified around the beginning of July. 
  12. As a condition of the contestant being permitted to compete in the Rising Star Competition, each contestant:
    • grants permission to the CNE to use, without compensation of any kinds, any photograph, audio or video tapes or other audio or visual images or recordings, including digital recordings, in such manner as the CNE may determine including any promotions or advertising, 
    • waives any right to any fee or compensation of any of the aforesaid,
    • and releases the CNE from any loss, damage, injury or expense, which the contestant may suffer or incur as a result of his or her participation in the event, however caused. 
  13. A previous Junior Grand Champion can enter the Youth competition once they reach the age of 13.  A previous Youth Grand Champion cannot enter again.
  14. All audition videos must be a live recording. Videos that have a voice dubbed in will not be accepted. Audition video must represent how you would be performing in the competition. Videos should have a clean sound, no reverb. 

Tips for Putting Together a Great Audition Video 

Dance Audition 

  1. A copy of any dance competition in the previous 12 months can be used. 
  2. If videotaping on your own, remember your lighting. The video should be clear. 

Vocal Audition

  1. Make your audition simulate an audition in front of a live judge. This means do a full body shot rather than just a head shot. 
  2. Use a good camera angle that best captures your personality and gives us the full impact of your act. 
  3. Watch the lighting; make sure it is appropriate for your performance. 
  4. If possible, video tape your audition in front of a live audience. This will showcase your stage presence and how well you engage your audience. 
  5. If videotaping at home, act like the camera is your audience. Make good eye contact with the camera. 
  6. Make sure there are no distractions in the background. Turn off the TV, put the dog outside and ask siblings to watch quietly. 
  7. Give us your best 4 minutes.
  8. Videos must be a live recording. We need to see you singing live. 
  9. Remember the four judging points that the audition judge is looking for: 
    • Natural Ability 
    • Stage Presence/Showmanship
    • Audience Appeal 
    • Quality of Performance