The 10th Anniversary edition of the "Northern Star" competition is adding a couple of new twists this year.  The United Way of Aroostook's stage show, featuring some of the best singers in northern Maine and New Brunswick, has raised more than $300,000 over the years for numerous non-profit organizations.

United Way of Aroostook

This season, "Northern Star" is adopting a concept introduced on NBC’s “The Voice.” At each of the regional shows–in Fort Kent, Presque Isle and Houlton–the audience will pick their top two contestants. The judges will then pair each of the audience choices with a pick of their own.

Each of the contestant pairs will work with a regional judge to prepare and sing one song together at the finale,” said Claudia Stevens, executive director of the United Way of Aroostook.  “At the finale, the audience will vote for the contestant in each pair who they felt was the strongest.  The audience picks will then compete solo in the final round for the 2014 Northern Star title.”

The first of the regional competitions is set for Friday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fox Auditorium at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. The second regional show will be held on Saturday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m. at the Presque Isle Middle School Auditorium. The third group of contestants will compete at the Houlton High School Auditorium on Sunday, February 9 at 2:00 p.m. (All times are Eastern)

The international contest is open to singers from throughout Aroostook, Madawaska, Victoria, and Carleton Counties. Contestants must be at least 12 years old.  Another new twist added this year – contestants can sign up for whichever date/location works best for them.

Applications for the 10th anniversary edition of Northern Star are available at the United Way of Aroostook website, or at any northern Maine branch of Key Bank.

Jason Parent, who co-hosts the show with Stevens said,  “I am looking forward to this anniversary year and to these new twists in the competition that I think our audience members will really enjoy. Our finale show will involve more contestants from the regional shows and will keep more of the singers in contention for the title through the final round than we have ever have seen in the past.”

Organizers are aiming to recruit 15 singers for each of the three regional shows.  The pairs of singers created with the audience and judges’ picks from these shows will compete in the Northern Star Finale on Sunday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.

Admission to each show is $10.  All proceeds from funds raised at the door will go directly to the United Way of Aroostook’s annual campaign.

For more information on the Northern Star competition, call the United Way of Aroostook at (207) 764-5197.