You be the judge: Voting for the next Fargo Star starts today

FARGO - For weeks we've been promoting Fargo Star, searching for the area's best unknown singers and teasing to the contest that showcases them all.

FARGO - For weeks we've been promoting Fargo Star, searching for the area's best unknown singers and teasing to the contest that showcases them all. Well, the teasing is over.

This year's version of the Forum's annual vocal showcase begins today with the first group of singers' videos posted on - you can also find it through

And while we'll always be a little biased about the contest, we don't think it's hyperbole to state that this feels like the best Fargo Star yet.

We have a record number of contestants, with 84 singers sharing their talents with us.

And while the quantity is high, we believe the quality of vocalists is also the greatest it's ever been - we left several recording sessions thinking, "There really wasn't a bad singer in this bunch."


Of course, our thoughts don't really matter anymore. It's all up to you to decide which singers will move on to the Fargo Star finals on Feb. 25 at The Venue at The Hub. Voting is easy; just watch the videos and select the singers you like the best.

It's a format we've used before, but this year's Fargo Star is a little different. Here's a quick primer on the proess:

What's new

There are some changes to this year's voting process at

We will have three weeks of group voting, where readers make their picks for the singers they like the most.

The big change is that this year, the two singers with the most votes from each week automatically qualify for the Fargo Star finals. That means that after this first week of voting, we'll know two of the 10 people who will sing in the Fargo Star finals on Feb. 25 at The Venue at The Hub.

After the three weeks of group voting, we will have one final week featuring all the contestants - minus the six who already qualified - and the four singers with the most votes from that week will be selected for the finals.

And as far as individual voting at the site, you can cast votes for more than one singer. Just make sure you do it before their week ends - the voting forms will close each week at noon Monday.


The finals

Part of what makes us believe this year's Fargo Star will be the best ever is what we're doing at this year's finals event.

We've moved the finals up to February 25 - they've traditionally been held in April - and added some more glamour to the live show. The biggest addition is that the Fargo-Moorhead band Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome will be performing at the Fargo Star finals.

The group, which is one of the tightest and most talented acts in town, will be providing the backing music for each of our 10 finalists. And this year, the event won't end after we announce the winner. After the voting is done, Post-Traumatic Funk Syndrome will play a concert.

It's going to be fun.

The singers

Every year brings together a diverse and unique field of singers chasing the Fargo Star title.

This year is no different as we feature a field that ranges from young girls singing their favorite songs to a 90-year-old cowboy singing the standards of Hank Williams.


In between these extremes, we have people who are singing pop songs, country songs, R&B songs and even a few original compositions.

Our first group of singers, which goes live on fargostar.areavoices.

com today, embodies that wide swath of variety.

Among the singers is "Texas" Ed Anderson, a 63-year-old cowboy from Wyndmere, N.D., who dips into the catalog of Conway Twitty and Cameron MacKenzie, a 13-year-old regular on the Fargo-Moorhead theater circuit who is performing an original song.

And there are also a couple familiar faces as two of last year's Fargo Star finalists are in this first batch of videos.

They are Shalyn Hample, who set all kinds of Fargo Star records for vote totals, and Bailey Hurley, who was singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" before everyone in the world fell in love with the song.

It's up to you to tell us if they deserve to be in the finals again.

Readers can reach Forum Features Editor Robert Morast

at (701) 241-5518

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