The 30 semi-finalists come from university programs across the country and will virtually compete to move on to the final round of the NextGen competition. The virtual semi-finals will be judged by a panel of judges including Broadway stars, celebrated recording artists, and respected art administrators to provide feedback to all students on their performance. The virtual audience will also be given the chance to vote for its favorites.
Following the semi-finals, APO will select a group of finalists to travel to the East Coast and perform live with APO musicians to win the ultimate title. A first-place and runner-up male and female will be chosen from the group of finalists to receive a monetary scholarship, as well as a paid performance opportunity with the American Pops during its 2021-2022 season. This competition is free for all competitors, with APO providing travel, hair and make-up styling, accompaniments and preparatory master classes free of charge.
The competition has reached over 10,000 viewers, which led to its expansion into a national event. This year features students from Berklee College of Music, Columbus State University, Connecticut College, Eastern Connecticut State University, Elon University, George Mason University, Indiana University, Liberty University, Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Oakland University, Ohio University, Sheridan College, Southern Methodist University, Temple University, University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan, and West Virginia University.
Register for the livestream online. The event will take place at 8 p.m. EST on Nov. 21, 2020.