Sierra Harris of Gray competed on “America’s Got Talent” in November 2022 and her audition premiered March 26. She will be competing at Maine’s Got Talent on April 22 at the Franco Center in Lewiston. Submitted photo

LEWISTON — Maine’s Got Talent will return April 22 to the Franco Center for its ninth annual event, after a three-year pandemic postponement.

The event is modeled after hit shows TV “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” and will feature eight local artists and three local celebrity judges, according to organizers. Judges are former performer and local musician Thomas Doucette, Celeste from the WBLM Morning Show and Lewiston Police Detective Joe Philippon.

Maine’s Got Talent is the annual fundraising event for local nonprofit Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services. Sandcastle provides mental health services, speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy and an accredited preschool and prekindergarten program for children of all abilities.

“American Idol” contestant Sierra Harris, 20, of Gray will perform, though not in the competition, host Molly McGill, local comedian and copywriter, said. Harris auditioned in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan in November 2022 and the tape aired March 26 on ABC. She was awarded the “Golden Ticket” which advances her to the next round of auditions in Hollywood, Calif.

Harris said in an interview that she hopes to bring attention to the event and the programs provided by Sandcastle. She has performed around Maine in several bands, as a solo artist and in duos, and she has performed at the Franco Center in a Christmas show and in a full performance video-shoot. She said she looks forward to returning to the venue.

“I love performing, especially in local talent competitions,” she said. “And I’m excited to see what talent there is, especially because we haven’t done it in a while. I can’t wait to help bring (the event) back through my performance and to have a good time.”

Sandcastle founder and Executive Director Stephanie Gelinas said that since everything came to a standstill for much of the past three years, the return of Maine’s Got Talent is especially important for those who use the nonprofit’s services. She said performers will be a mix of 2020 selected performers and previous auditioners.

“We’re excited to bring this event back to the community and musicians of Maine,” Gelinas said.

Pre-show reception will start at 6 p.m. in the Heritage Hall at the Franco Center at 46 Cedar St., and the show will begin at 7 p.m. in the Performance Hall. For more information and tickets go to or through Eventbrite.

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