Do you have dreams of musical stardom? Here’s your chance to get a jumpstart. Circus Music Company (CMC), based in Waterloo, is launching <em>The Shot</em> singing competition this fall for hopeful UW and Laurier students. Registration to audition opened Sept. 15. “<em>The Shot</em> is kind of like the <em>X-Factor</em> and <em>American Idol</em> minus the tears and the drama,” said C.J. Allen, founder and president of CMC and one of <em>The Shot’s</em> judges. Auditions will take place Nov. 1, during which the judges will spend up to five hours at both UW and Laurier, listening to hopefuls perform. Nov. 2 will be the callbacks, during which time some performers have a final chance to wow the judges before they choose their top eight. The judges will mentor the top eight and prepare them for their final performance Nov. 8, where a winner will be selected. “It’s really about engaging the students on the campus, empowering them, and inspiring them to pursue their music no matter what their major is,” Allen said. Originally, the organizers considered making the competition open to anyone in the region, but after speaking with local musicians, Allen said he found students to be disengaged with the local music scene. “In the next five to 10 years the students that stay around in KW… are really going to be what makes up the music scene in the future,” Allen said on why engaging students is important. Finalists will get to visit the Universal Music Canada headquarters in Toronto, take a tour, and meet industry professionals to give their demos to. The winner will get a cash prize (the amount has yet to be confirmed) to “encourage them to jumpstart their music career,” Allen said. The winner will also receive a $500 giftcard to Fairview Park Mall to build their performance wardrobe. “Really it’s about ... all 12 of the finalists walking away with something tangible,” Allen said. He said that a major part of the competition is the mentorship the finalists receive and the exposure to the local music scene as well as education about the business side of music. Allen was a judge in South Korea’s first English-speaking talent competition after living and working in the music industry there for many years. He moved back to KW last winter and soon after launched CMC. The company is focused on the business side of music, which Allen said many artists don’t consider when entering the field. He said that is a major reason for the competition.“We also want to get students going on the idea that there’s more to music than just performing. There’s a business side to music that they have to understand if they want to be successful,” Allen said. Judges for the competition are Mandippal Jandu, a local singer/songwriter, Stacey Zehers, a country music artist and frontwoman for the band Runaway Angel, and Joni Nehrita an R&B/Soul artist from Guelph. <em>The Shot</em> is open to solo artists and groups from any genre, “as long as their instrument is their vocal cords, they can do it,” Allen said. “But it’s not a battle of the bands,” he said. The most an artist can have on stage is an acoustic guitar or a piano. Organizers are looking for student volunteers to help with the production in areas like marketing and stage management. Students interested can email email@example.com before Oct. 10 to get involved. Allen’s main piece of advice for those planning to audition is “be careful with your song choice.” Online registration can be found at www.singfortheshot.com and closes Oct. 15.