‘Rising stars’ from Oakville and Oshawa crowned Grand Champions on CNE stage


Published September 5, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Youth Champion Thea Asedillo of Oshawa

A pair of youthful talents from Oakville and Oshawa were crowned grand champions at the Canadian National Exhibition’s Rising Star Talent Competition over the weekend.

Kaitlyn Lau, a 12 year-old dancer from Oakville, took the top prize in the junior category (6-12), out-pointing Sonam Kalsang, an 11 year-old dancer from Vaughan and Lauren Lee, 12, a singer from North York.

Thea Asedillo, 16 year-old singer from Oshawa, was declared champion in the youth category (13-21), with 18 year-old Toronto dancer Ivanna Vaitkus and 15 year-old Toronto dancer Lia Waldie taking the runner-up spots.

The grand champions get to start the school year with more than just bragging rights: Oshawa’s Asedillo earned $2,500 as Youth Champion and Lau went back to Oakville with $1,000 for her Junior Champion title.

Junior Champion Kaitlyn Lau of Oakville

The final round of competition took place on the CNE’s International Stage inside the Enercare Centre, where a full crowd cheered on the best of the more than 150 contestants who competed throughout the 18 days of the fair.

As one of the longest standing talent competitions in Ontario, CNE’s Rising Star has been showcasing and promoting local, undiscovered talent for more than three decades. Contestants are judged on their natural ability, audience appeal, stage presence and the quality of their performance.

Past notable participants include JUNO-nominated jazz singer Matt Dusk, famed choreographer and dancer (So You Think You Can Dance) Blake McGrath and many more.

The CNE’s Rising Star Competition is made possible by funding from the CNE Foundation, enabling youth from across Ontario to pursue their passions.

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