For a youth talent audition, competition was fierce as young Edmontonians showcased their skills at West Edmonton Mall yesterday.

Northern Star Talent Search was at West Edmonton Mall holding auditions, and will be again next weekend, open to amateur talent between the ages of five and 21.

“The youth category that performs today and those who qualify will go into the semi-finals event, which starts on Monday, July 26, and runs all week,” said Linda Sellick, volunteer chair of Northern Star Talent Search.

“The biggest thing is that (the audition) gives them lots of performance opportunities, and every time they are on stage they get better and better. There are also scholarships that are available with this program.”

For youth who are graduating this year, and go on to continue their education in the performing arts, they are able to apply for the Colin Forbes Scholarship through this program, and the first place overall winner in the youth category will win $2,000, and receive an expense-paid trip to the national competition in Calgary.

“We actually had a magician win one year in the youth category, which was unique.” Sellick said.

Past performers at this audition include Stacey Tookey from So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and country music artist Paul Brandt.

“This is the first event like this that we have gone to, but she performed at talent shows at school as well,” said Liz Hagage, mother of junior performer Jessica Hagage.

“She goes to vocal lessons and actually her teacher recommended me to put her in to the audition.”

“I think it was actually pretty fun,” said Jessica, 10, who performed I Believe by Nikki Yanofsky.

When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she answered: “Pop star.”

Finalists in the youth division of the auditions will compete at Capital Ex this summer for a chance to win the $2,000 and a trip to the national competition.