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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 Entry forms must be received by the CNE no later than 5:00 pm, Friday, May 24, 2024. 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 16 to September 1, 2024. 

Junior Preliminaries Fri Aug 16 – Mon Aug 19

Junior Semi-Finals Mon Aug 26 & Tue Aug 27

Junior Finals Sat Aug 31

Youth Preliminaries Tue Aug 20 – Sun Aug 25

Youth Semi-Finals Wed Aug 28 – Fri Aug 30

Youth Finals Sun Sept 1

All shows start at 7:00 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. 

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 per year.
  2. For the Junior Rising Star, all contestants must be at least 6 years of age and not older than 12 by August 31, 2024.
  3. For the Youth Rising Star, all contestants must be at least 13 years of age and not older than 21 by September 1, 2024.  
  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. A vocalist must sing the same song throughout the competition as it is a new set of judges at each level. If two contestants are singing the same song in the Finals, both may be asked to change their song to ensure that there is no duplication in the repertoire presented onstage. It is suggested that a vocal contestant have a song as a back up, should this occur.
  11. Contestants selected to advance to the preliminaries will be notified around the beginning of June. 
  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. 

Contest Prizes

Junior Grand Champion $2,000.00

First Runner Up $1,000.00

Second Runner Up $700.00

Third Runner Up $500.00

Youth Grand Champion $3,500.00

First Runner Up $2,000.00

Second Runner Up $1,000.00

Third Runner Up $800.00

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\

Personal information collected will be used for the administration of the CNE Rising Star Talent Competition only.

Questions about the collection of this information should be directed to: Corporate Secretariat, Canadian National Exhibition, 210 Princes’ Blvd, Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON, M6K 3C3