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Ryan Johnson, Published January 31 2014

Fargo Star names its first two finalists

FARGO – With the first round of votes tallied, The Forum’s eighth annual Fargo Star singing competition has named its first two finalists who will duke it out for glory and bragging rights at a live performance next month.

Jamie Thompson, 32, said he was “incredibly excited” on Friday to learn he will be a finalist.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, and I think it will be a really fun experience to perform with Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome,” said the Fargo resident who works as a Web developer for Flint Communications.

Thompson wowed the online voting audience with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” and said his musical influences include Wonder, Elliott Smith and Coldplay.

He’s been playing guitar in the worship band at Faith Lutheran Church in West Fargo for more than a decade, and said he also has experience performing in front of a live audience through gigs in a punk band, a jam band and at various open mic nights.

Fellow finalist Maddie Schultz also has honed her performing abilities in a worship band, singing with the team at Salem Evangelical Free Church in Fargo.

The 19-year-old Fargo South High School graduate of 2012 who’s now studying business administration at Minnesota State University Moorhead said she was “surprised” to hear she was voted a Fargo Star finalist, but said she looks forward to the final live competition.

“I submitted the video in the beginning of January, and then I actually kind of forgot about it until the voting started,” she said. “But my parents and friends did a lot of asking people to vote, so that’s pretty cool I made it.”

Schultz sang “Maybe This Time,” a famous song from the classic musical “Cabaret” that she first heard on “Glee,” for her audition video.

Thompson and Schultz will now advance to the Fargo Star finals on March 22 at The Venue at the Hub with backing band Post Traumatic Funk Syndrome.

But before they can face off, the competition will hold three more weeks of online voting to determine the other eight finalists.

Today through noon Friday, voting will be open to pick the next two finalists, and a similar voting round will be held next week. For the fourth week of voting, all remaining contestants will be in the running, with the top four moving on to the finals.

Visit http://FargoStar.

AreaVoices.com to watch the contestants’ videos and vote for the next round of finalists.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587