Star Search (Jayverse)

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Star Search (also formerly known as John Schneider's Star Search) was the world's greatest talent competition, long before American Idol & America's Got Talent. Star Search aired on UBC from September 10, 1983 to February 27, 1994 with host John Schneider and Announced by Sam Riddle

The Premise

While categories varied slightly from season to season, the ten basic categories during the 1983–1994 version were:

  • Female singer
  • Male singer
  • Junior singer (Second half of the season)
  • Teen singer (First half of the season)
  • Group vocal
  • Dance
  • Junior dance (First half of the season)
  • Teen dance (Second half of the season)
  • Spokesmodel
  • Comedy

Eight categories were contested per show. Potential contestants auditioned to be on the show. In each category, two selected contestants would compete, a champion and a challenger. The challenger would usually perform first, while the champion performed second. In later seasons, the champion performed first.

All acts were judged by a panel of four judges, and each judge could award an act from one to four stars (later changed to five stars). Once both acts were complete, John would reveal the scores, and the best average won. If there was a tie, a studio audience vote broke the tie, in which case the results were revealed at the end of the show.

Any performer had to win at least several shows in a row, depending on the number of shows left in the season, to earn an entry into the next round of the competition; usually this was three or four wins in a row.

In most seasons, two semifinal shows took place, one in the fall, the other in the spring, prior to the championship show. Each semifinal used five judges. No scoring was used, and the judges' votes weren't revealed, but the acts that won their semifinals would then compete in the championship show.

On the championship show, winners of Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, Vocal Group, Comedy, and Dance, were awarded $100,000 but no record contract was guaranteed. Many Star Search winners from the early seasons secured recording contracts within a few weeks of the end of the competition—first season vocal group winner Sawyer Brown, first season male vocalist champion Sam Harris and second season male vocalist champion Durell Coleman were the first three, and were later followed by second season vocal group winner Limited Warranty whose song Victory Line hit the Billboard charts at #79 with lead vocals by Greg Sotebeer, third season female vocalist champion Linda Eder, second season junior male vocalist champion Jimmy Salvemini, whose album was produced by Luther Vandross, fourth season male vocalist champion David Slater, and third season (1985) junior female vocalist runner-up Tiffany. Despite not winning her competition (she lost to Melissa Moultrie), Tiffany, performing as 'Tiffany Renee,' was the first Star Search alumnus to land a #1 hit, with her cover of the Top 5 Tommy James and the Shondells hit "I Think We're Alone Now" —actually improving on the original single's chart performance. The winner of the Spokesmodel category was awarded $100,000 and a contract with a well-known modeling agency. The first Spokesmodel winner was Tracey Ross, who later became a leading actress on the soap opera Passions. Winners of Junior Vocalist, Junior Dance, Teen Vocalist, and Teen Dance win $10,000.

In early seasons, before the season is split in two half-seasons, the grand champions were determined by how long a champion held their title. While it is believed that Sam Harris holds the record for longest championship, at 14 weeks in Season 1, Harris was actually defeated by singer Beau Williams on Harris' 14th attempt. This record was actually held by Singer Durell Coleman (1985), who won the $100,000 in Season 2 with 15 wins and no defeats.

For the first few weeks of the 1992-1993 season, coinciding with the show moving from Los Angeles to the Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando and aired after The Arsenio Hall Show, the series expanded to six days a week. Each day featured specific categories, with the weekend show serving as a recap of the week. Due to poor ratings, this format was abandoned and the show reverted to weekend only airings.

Star Search Rebooted

In 1999, Star Search returned in September with new host Lisa Canning and joined by Rotating Spokesmodels each week with the winner returned the following to defend their Title against 2 More Spokesmodels, In Addition the format also consists of the following categories

  • Adult Singers
  • Junior Singers
  • Family Acts
  • Variety

However, The Revival Lasted only One Season, However Joanna Levesque (JoJo) has once appeared as a contestant in this series.


1983-1984: Metromedia Square (Hollywood, CA)

1984-1992, 1999-2000: UBC Television City (Hollywood, CA)

1992-1994: Disney-MGM Studios (Orlando, FL)

Theme Music

Joey Carbone


Al Masini


The Conclusion of the 2 Hour TV Pilot Special of Star Search hosted by John Schneider when it aired on May 8, 1983