Dual Cowichan talent rockets onto Next Star SuperGroup

Lynnea Bruce - The Next Star: SuperGroup.
Lynnea Bruce
— image credit: The Next Star: SuperGroup.

Cowichan is fertile ground for superstardom — seeds include local songwriters Parker Schmidt and Lynnea Bruce.

Rare seeds indeed.

The valley pair is among 30 finalists whittled from an original field of some 4,000 youths vying as contestants on YTV’s newest talent show The Next Star: SuperGroup.

Competitions starting this week will see Canadian audiences vote for the next huge group.

In this spin-off of the popular talent competition series The Next Star, Canadians will vote for the next super group in the vein of One Direction or Fifth Harmony.

Bruce and Schmidt were shocked to see each other at May auditions in Vancouver, considering SuperGroup’s national scope.

“Thousands auditioned, so to have two people from Duncan is pretty crazy,” said Frances Kelsey High student Schmidt, 14, who was a top-six finalist on Next Star’s season four.

New Star newbie Bruce, 16, noted two other hopefuls hailed from a Toronto arts school, but she found it extraordinary she and Schmidt are “close friends who have performed together for a couple of years.”

Bruce — studying cosmetology at VIU Cowichan — hoped she and Schmidt could Skype each other while watching SuperGroup elimination episodes that began March 11.

Confidentiality rules prevented the pair from talking about songs and other results from SuperGroup sessions filmed in Toronto last summer.

But both found the contest a creative awakening.

“It was the best experience of my entire life,” said Bruce, applauding mentoring work from the show’s coaching pros.

“I was especially nervous about the dancing,” she said, cheering tips from choreographer Nico Archambault — and working with four other females in a temporary band, versus her solo performances.

Same for Schmidt.

“The most valuable lesson was learning to work in groups, even if temporary, where everyone feels valued,” he said.

The show is a big opportunity to lure Canadian talent into the spotlight, he explained.

“There’s nothing like it in Canada or the U.S.,” Schmidt said of SuperGroup, and ongoing commitment to his craft.

“If you don’t put in the effort, you won’t go anywhere.”

The multi-instrumentalist and hip-hop hoofer cited Bruno Mars as the act he’d most like to hit the stage with.

“I would love to perform his song Treasure with him.”

Schmidt may get his shot through Next Star by “making sure I’m open to everyone’s ideas, and not shutting them down.”

Bruce — a Duncan’s Got Talent, and SunFest performer — likes so many musicians, she couldn’t pick just one she’d most enjoy performing with.

“Singing with Taylor Swift would be a dream come true,” her Next Star promo material says.

SuperGroup is a spin-off of YTV’s The Next Star, the six-episode series, produced by Tricon Films & Television, that takes viewers through a tip-top talent showdown to crown a new mega boy- or girl group.

The search follows 30 finalists who travel to Toronto and compete in groups of five amid mentoring by an expert panel.

Two groups will face off in the live finale. Fans can vote online or by texting, to determine who wins the grand prize and title of The Next Star: SuperGroup.

The finale will launch the pop career of the winning group that will record two original songs released by iTunes. They'll also earn an exclusive management deal with 21 Entertainment, managers of artists such as Fefe Dobson, JoJo and Kreesha Turner.

Host Jordan Francis leads The Next Star: SuperGroup offering coaching expertise from actress and recording artist Cory Lee (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Instant Star), and multi-platinum music producer and songwriter Damon Sharpe (The X Factor, Big Time Rush).

SuperGroup’s panel of pros includes Archambault (So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Nureyev), vocal coach Sarah Morrison (Canadian Idol, Canada’s Got Talent), make-up artist Vanessa Jarman (Canada’s Next Top Model,) and stylist Corey Ng (MuchMusic, MTV).

Fans can join the fun on social media and weekly videos at supergroup.ytv.com; Facebook.com/TheNextStarYTV; Twitter: @TheNextStar, #SuperGroup; and on Instagram: @TheNextStarYTV.

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