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What prizes can the contestants win?

As of the 2013 competition, first prize is a cash award of $1,000, the opportunity to create a demo tape in the Ganey Studio, and the opportunity to co-host an evening with Gordy Young on Experience Michiana. Second prize is a cash award of $500 plus the opportunity to co-host an evening with Gordy Young on Experience Michiana. The top three contestants also receive a trophy.

Prizes are subject to change.

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Who may participate in the contest?

Contestants must be residents of Michiana. See the complete list of rules and considerations.

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How do I vote for a contestant?

On The First Night

Text "TALENT [CONTESTANTS'S NAME]" (i.e., "TALENT BOB") to 27722 to vote for your favorite rising star. (A $5 tax-deductible pledge will be made to Michiana Public Broadcasting/WNIT.) When prompted, reply with "YES" to confirm the donation and have it added to your phone bill. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

During The Rest Of The Competition

Text the word "STAR" to the number 27722 and complete a short donation form to vote for your favorite rising star. (A tax-deductible credit card donation will be made to Michiana Public Broadcasting/WNIT.) You will also be joining our mobile community to stay updated on the Michiana's Rising Star talent contest. Donors may cast multiple votes. The number of votes will be determined by donation amounts. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Online Voting

Alternatively, you can cast your vote online by clicking on the "Vote Now" button below your favorite rising star during the show.

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Why is WNIT charging viewers to vote?

Early on, we determined that we wanted a viewer voting component to Michiana's Rising Star. Since we do not have such capabilities, we looked into several possible vendors to supply these services for us. All had a substantial cost associated with them. However, since we felt it was a meaningful part of the show, we decided to attach a cost to each vote in the form of a small donation to help recoup a portion of these expenses—even though we do not expect this method to ultimately cover them all.

For more information, see: is Michiana's Rising Star a fundraiser? Back To Top


How did WNIT decide on $5 per vote?

The vendor we selected is very well-known nationally and suggested a voting rate of $10 per vote. We felt this was too high. We weighed two factors in finally deciding on a rate of $5 per vote: (1) we did not want something that was too high and restricted participation and (2) we did not want something so low that it encouraged "stuffing the ballot box." We also did not want a "popularity contest" solely decided on who could drum up the most friends to text in.

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I voted and now I'm getting text messages I don't want. How do I get them to stop?

To opt out, please text STOP to 27722. Message and data rates may apply.

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Is Michiana's Rising Star a fundraiser?

Michiana's Rising Star was conceptualized from the start as an annual signature fundraising event for WNIT to replace the old PBS auctions. The idea was to do a talent show that would not only raise funds, but reach out into all 22 counties of our coverage area. The primary source of these funds was not designed to come from the small donations received through viewer participation. (Although those offset some of our costs.) It was designed to come from event sponsors, listed below. It is because of them—and the very talented people in our community—that we can continue to put together events and programming like this in the future. Thank you.

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How are each of the performances scored?

Our judges will award each contestant up to 20 points for their overall performance and 10 points each for the contestant's ability to draw the audience into the performance, stage presence, originality, and personality. From the total of 60 points possible, contestants will be ranked from one (the highest) to the total number of performances being judged (the lowest) based on each judge's vote.

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How are the final rankings calculated?

Each of the ranks given by the individual judges (plus the audience) will be averaged to give us the final rank. Each rank has equal weight.

In the table below, you can see how the final ranking could be calculated if a contestant does very well with the judges but very poorly with the audience (Contestant A). Conversely, you can see how that same contestant matches up against a contestant whom does very poorly with the judges but receives the highest rank from the audience (Contestant B).

NameJudge 1Judge 2Judge 3Judge 4ViewersFinal
Contestant A1111255.8
(1+1+1+1+25)÷5
Contestant B25252525120.2
(25+25+25+25+1)÷5
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What happens if there is a tie?

In the case of a tie, the total points awarded by our four judges will be used as a tie-breaker.

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