Finale Week, July 28 – August 2
This is it! The culmination of WNIT’s Michiana's Rising Star talent search competition takes place each evening from Sunday, July 28 through Friday, August 2. Top performers from the five regionals will compete at the WNIT studio to determine the grand prize winner.
Each day, the pool of contestants will be whittled down, from the original 25 to the final crowning of Michiana's Rising Star. The Sunday program, 8–10pm, is pre-recorded from the Regional contests. The Monday through Friday programs, 8–9pm, will air live from the WNIT studio. Here's the day-by-day schedule, beginning July 28 and ending August 2:
- Sunday: The 25 top regional contestants are shown. The studio judges and text voting from viewers determine the top seven performers, who continue the following day.
- Monday: The remaining seven contestants are whittled down to six based on the studio judges and text voting from viewers.
- Tuesday: The remaining six contestants are narrowed down to five based on the studio judges and texts from viewers.
- Wednesday: Tension mounts as the remaining five contestants are reduced to three based on the studio judges and texts from viewers.
- Thursday: The remaining three compete for votes from the studio judges and texts from viewers.
- Friday, 8pm: The grand finale! The final three contestants will perform one last time, with Michiana’s Rising Star crowned at the end of the program.
The top twenty-five contestants as determined by the Regional auditions throughout the WNIT viewing area are as follows:
Benton Harbor—Mendel Center
- Brandon Williams (singer)
- Michelle Giden (singer)
- Matthew Smith and Kate McGowan (ballroom dancers)
- More Than Sparrows (singers)
- Jessica Agens (singer)
South Bend—Kroc Center
- Suzi Carpenter (singer)
- I Am Band (band)
- Jhonny & Sallie Show (band)
- Gracie Schutz (singer, piano)
- Laura Whidden (singer, piano)
Elkhart—The Lerner Theatre
- Billy D. (singer)
- Samuel Jay & Jewels (duo singers)
- Jane Payton (singer)
- Deja Felder (dancer)
- Dara Marquez (spoken word)
Culver—The Culver Academy
- Joshua Claussen (singer)
- Joey Garcia (singer)
- Caroline LaDue (singer)
- Soiree (singer, band)
- Tanya Taylor (singer)
Warsaw—Warsaw High School
- Justin McCormick (singer)
- Jordyn Nutting (singer, performer)
- Tswang (dancer, singer)
- Ivory West (singer, ukulele)
- Chantivia Wright (singer)
"This is a tremendous opportunity for singers, musicians, actors, and other performing artists to showcase their abilities. Those of us involved in Rising Star have been wowed by the tremendous talent at each of our venues," said WNIT's Associate General Manager and Vice President of Development & Marketing Steve Funk.
The Block Party
On Friday evening, August 2, WNIT will sponsor a block party on West Jefferson Boulevard between Lafayette and Franklin. "The city has allowed us to block off the street to host an outside viewing party from 6pm to 9:30pm," said Funk. "We'll have a tent, paid concessions, music, high school bands, live performances and, of course, we'll watch the Rising Star finale on our Jumbotrons from 8 to 9pm. Join us for a wonderful time in downtown South Bend!"
The Grand Prize
Added WNIT's Vice President Production Angel Hernandez, "We are so excited about Michiana's Rising Star, not only because it will be a fabulous production, but also because of the amazing talent that will be competing for our viewers' votes. Can't wait to see what happens!"
The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 cash and the opportunity to appear on WNIT's Experience Michiana. Second place prize is $500 cash and television appearances. Judging will be conducted by area arts professionals, media personnel, professional performers, and local celebrities. In addition, the public will be invited to text in to vote for their favorites.