All contestants perform publicly, where they are judged by well known artists including Ali Matthews, Dan Macaulay, Marcel Preston and Joel Auge.
"The challenges [contestants] face can be quite wide depending on their past experience of performing live in front of an audience," says event producer Eric Spath. "We see the experience as a growing and maturing period for each contestant with many coming back from previous years stronger each time."
"The prizes we chose are essentially the building blocks of a music ministry, from a studio recording to the marketing and promotion," says Spath. "The prizes come from a variety of businesses active in the Christian Music scene."
Applications are being accepted until, December 31, 2013, and the preliminaries will run throughout February 2014. Semi-finals run in late March and finals are scheduled for May 3, in Waterloo. Previous competitions have ranged from 40 to 90 contestants, but Spath more than 120 are expected this year.
"Our passion goes so far beyond having a winner," says Spath. "Our desire is to see contestants grow as a person and believer. We plan to invest into everyone's lives with our time, our experience and our gifts. The comments I have received from previous contestants and winners are that Shining Star has been a life changing part of their faith and music journey."
Dana Marie, the 2010 contest winner, was studying at Hillsong College when she applied. Although she had been involved in music since she was two years old, singing with numerous worship teams and choirs, she says she had no idea what God was preparing.
"Hillsong gave me to desire and opportunity to dream big, but this competition put me where I needed to be and opened doors that otherwise wouldn't have opened," she says. "I've been blessed to sing, speak and perform in churches around Ontario. I'm now working on my second album, I am a Compassion Artist and my music is being played around the globe."